• Historic/Archived Records of old schedules & stops

  • Discussion about the Union Pacific operations past and present. Official site can be found here: UPRR.COM.
Discussion about the Union Pacific operations past and present. Official site can be found here: UPRR.COM.

Moderator: GOLDEN-ARM

  by deps76
hello... i'm seriously new to this, but kind of excited and geeking out on all the train stuff.

anyway, i'm working on a script and it involves the Chisholm Trail (in OK and KS) and trains points west originating in Abilene, KS all the way to San Francisco, CA in the late 1800s/early 1900s. i'm specifically looking for (if they still exist or anyone has knowledge of this info) possible or probable schedules and stops along the way from this time period. also, about how fast did these trains travel and how many passenger cars vs non-passenger cars would a single trip consist of? i believe i read somewhere that there were generally 2 trains daily, one being specifically passenger and one freight... is this true? in each direction?

the second question regarding same topic involves the trains and stops in Utah. i read that the Brigham City to Promontory Summit route stopped being used after a trestle/bridge was built from Ogden (i think) over Salt Lake in 1904? is anyone familiar with the original route from BC to PS? i'm specifically interested in what the terrain would have been like and about what speed and/or how long it would have taken the train to get from BC to PS (not as the crow flies miles or current road trip miles). i ask this because there's a scene i'm working on and i'm wondering how far fetched it would be to have horsemen riding hard and fast to catch the train at Promontory if they'd left Brigham City at roughly the same time (or if the horse and rider had left earlier). if the terrain is rough and impossible then i won't add this to the script... hence my curiousity to make this as close to accurate as possible vs. just for hollywood glory.

i realize this seems a bit ridiculous, but i'm investing quite a bit of research into assuring accuracey in this script with everything else and trains play a big role.

also... as a mom of 2 boys who are absolutely obsessed with trains... it's kind of cool to know these things ;) THANK YOU!!!!!
  by timz
We can look up old passenger train schedules, but freight schedules will be hard to find (if they existed at all). Circa 1900 there would have been at least two passenger trains a day from Omaha to Ogden and beyond, but no trains direct from the Abilene area to the San Francisco area. (You probably know no transcon trains went to San Francisco itself except the one from New Orleans via El Paso.)
  by ExCon90
According to the Travelers' Official Guide of June 1893, Brigham City (shown as Brigham in the Guide) was 21 miles north of Ogden on the Union Pacific, and Promontory was 53 miles west of Ogden on the Southern Pacific. The only useful connection of the day left Brigham at 8.30 am and arrived in Ogden at 9.10 am, connecting with a Southern Pacific train leaving at 11.15 am and stopping at Promontory at 1.15 pm. Anyone on horseback would presumably have had to go through Ogden also. Equaling the trains' running time over the same distance would result in an average speed of slightly over 15 mph -- I suspect way too much for a horse.

In 1893 there were 2 through railroad routes from Texas to California; one from Fort Worth and another from Houston, joining at El Paso and continuing across Arizona, thence through Los Angeles and the San Joaquin Valley to Oakland, opposite San Francisco, as timz pointed out above. It was actually possible to reach San Francisco, but only via a roundabout route through Lathrop, Niles, and San Jose, so it seems likely that Oakland would have been the destination. In any case, there would have been no need to drive cattle from Texas to Abilene, Kans., to reach a railhead. The only Guide I have prior to 1893 is from June 1870, at which time the Kansas Pacific, the railroad serving Abilene, went only as far west as Kit Carson, Colo. (the station to its immediate east was called First View, suggesting that it was within sight of the Rockies, but still a ways from Denver). Until the line was completed far enough west to connect with the Overland Route there would have been no rail route from Abilene to California. In 1893 there was also ample rail service from Texas points to Chicago and the East, so I would think Abilene would have lost its significance in the Texas cattle trade. If you can locate a copy of Union Pacific, a 2-volume history by Maury Klein,it will certainly show the date when the Kansas Pacific connected with the Overland Route at Denver or Cheyenne, at which time Abilene might have been a useful railhead. I will be in a library one day next week which has some Official Guides for the period between 1870 and 1893, if you want to be more specific about a year.