CENTRAL PACIFIC RAILROAD
SENTIMENT for a Pacific Railroad increased steadily as the years passed. By 1861, sectional differences had the country in such turmoil that a transcontinental road was felt by many to be an urgent necessity in order to save the Pacific Coast for the Union. With the outbreak of war in April the demand became imperative.
We have seen how California had planned three railroads, each of which was intended to be the western end of the great Atlantic and Pacific Railroad, only one of which was in the process of construction; and to further the enterprise, San Francisco had held a convention, had offered to build a railroad across the Sierra Nevada Mountains herself and had sent the engineer Judah to Washington to enlist the aid of Congress, but all to no avail.
The various projects for a Pacific Railroad had included lines along the Northern, Central and Southern routes, but because of the intense sectional differences, no route could be decided upon. The Central route had the greatest number of advocates in California, but the great obstacle was in finding a way across the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The Henness Pass over these mountains had been explored but no report of the survey had been preserved.