Amateur While the transcontintal railroad was the first railway line to cross the U.S
Amateur it wasn’t truly a transcontinental line because it terminated at Sacramento
short of the Pacific destination of San Francisco or Oakland Harbor.
The route over Altamont Pass was completed in 1869. (This railroad is unrelated to the Western Pacific Railroad
The Central Pacific was searching for a shorter ro
ute to the Bay Area; the recently completed (1868) California Pacific
was the basis for a route of about 90 miles (140 km).
In July 1871, the Central Pacific offered to buy the Cal-P but their offer was rejected.
Central Pacific announced plans to build a parallel route
The California Pacific, facing financial and expansion
difficulties, finally was sold to the Central Pacific in 1876.
The Central Pacific shifted traffic from its mainline
via Napa Junction to Vallejo in favor of a line across the Suisun Marsh to Benicia.
The Central Pacific began construction in 1877 and
completed the line across the Suisun Marsh to Benicia (17 miles) in 1879.
The 17 miles (27 km) of track took so long to build because
of the unstable subgrade through the marsh, requiring tons
of crushed rock to stabilize the subgrade.