DURING THE FIRST DECADE after California had been admitted to the Union in 1850, a number of railroad companies were organized in the State of California: one was completed, with several extensions started, and others in the process of construction. Two of the most pretentious roads never got beyond the surveys.
The first railroad company organized in California was the San Francisco and San José Railroad Company, to connect the two cities, and intended to become a link with the great Atlantic and Pacific Railroad. The first meeting was held at San José on Saturday, September 6, 1851; directors were elected, and commissioners appointed to receive subscriptions to stock. Capital stock was fixed at $1,250,000 of which $150,000 had been subscribed and $50,000 paid in.1 By December 6, of the same year, a survey had been completed and articles of association written. The distance was estimated at fifty miles and the cost at $1,600,000.2
Years went by and no further action had been taken towards carrying out the conditions of the charter. By 1859, four stages were running daily between San Francisco and San José, charging a fare of $3.00 and unable to accommodate all the passengers. Traffic would increase four or five