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But his proposal was branded by many as fantastic or a vicious money-grabbing scheme.
He failed to impress men with money to invest until he got the attention of the Sacramento merchants.
The story of the early beginnings of this great railroad project is the story of the West, the saga of individual initiative and courage that spanned a nation with bands of iron rail and nurtured the development of today's western empire.
Construction of the rail highway for the Iron Horse from the Pacific Coast to the Missouri River was one of man's greatest accomplishments.
Construction began at Sacramento in 1863 following authorization by Congress in 1862.
At that time less than 100 miles of rail lines had been built in the United States during the three years since the first public railroad [Baltimore & Ohio RR] was operated out of Baltimore.It was vital that California and the Pacific Coast be bound to the Union, consequently the Pacific Railroad became a military necessity.The Pacific Railroad Act was signed by President Abraham Lincoln on July 1, 1862, and six months later, on January 8, 1863, the first shovelful of earth was turned by Central Pacific in constructing the pioneer line.He was the first advocate of the Pacific Railroad who had practical railroad engineering knowledge to add to sincere enthusiasm.He took his plan to Congress on several occasions, made preliminary surveys over various routes through the Sierra, and had received a small amount of financial support from residents in the mountain towns.
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Four parties of engineers went into the mountains early in 1861 under Judah's direction.