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Inside the California Railroad Museum

by Eric Karsa 2 months ago in history
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Amazing development on history

The California Railroad Museum is located in the old city of Sacramento, the capital of California, USA. From a distance, it looks like an inconspicuous red brick building, but after entering it, it is unique.

The museum's exhibition hall covers a total area of ​​10,000 square meters. The main exhibits are 21 trains and locomotives. In addition, there are restored scenes from the construction of the Pacific Railway, as well as some objects, photos, introductions, etc. The exhibition mainly shows the construction of the western section of the Pacific Railway in the 19th century and the huge impact of the railway on people's lives. From this, we can get a glimpse of auspicious feathers in the American West during the Gold Rush.

The most striking item in the collection is the Central Pacific No. 1 Stanford Governor Steam Locomotive (hereafter referred to as "Train No. 1"). It is black all over, unique in shape, intertwined with straight lines and streamlines. Even from today's perspective, it can still be described as exquisite, showing the style of the past.

The story of this train has to start more than 100 years ago.

In the mid-19th century, the California Gold Rush began. Countless people travel day and night to this land where they can get rich overnight, but it is very difficult to get from the east to the west of the United States - the land road is blocked by layers of mountains and the Gobi desert, which is very difficult and dangerous. The waterway is even more difficult. After all, at that time, the Panama Canal had not yet been drilled, and it could only bypass Cape Horn, the southernmost tip of South America, and it took half a month to arrive. Diverse landforms and inconvenient transportation make the west a relatively independent region of the United States, which not only affects economic development, but also poses a hidden danger to national stability. It's time to build a railroad across the North American continent.

In 1862, at the time of the American Civil War, in order to strengthen the connection between the east and the west and maintain the unity of the United States, the then US President Lincoln approved the "Construction of the Pacific Railroad Act", which stipulated that the Central Pacific Railway Company and the Union Pacific Railway Company jointly undertake the construction of the trans-North American continent. Pacific Railroad. The former is responsible for repairing the west section from Sacramento, California to the east, and the latter is responsible for repairing westward from Omaha, Nebraska.

In 1869, the two railroads successfully met at Promontory Peak in Utah. This is the world's first transcontinental railway - the Pacific Railway, known as one of the seven industrial wonders of the world.

Train No. 1 is the first train on the western section of the railway. Since it was put into operation in 1863, it has made great achievements with "diligence and diligence".

In honor of Leland Stanford, chairman of the Central Pacific Corporation, then governor of California, and founder of Stanford University, Train No. 1 was also given a louder name-"Stanford Governor Trombone".

Born in New York State, Stanford originally practiced law in Wisconsin before immigrating to California during the Gold Rush, running a general store for gold diggers and amassing a fortune. In 1861, he joined three wealthy businessmen to invest in the railway project initiated by railway designer Theodore Judah, established the Central Pacific Railway Company, and was elected as the chairman. In the same year, he was also elected governor of California. Under his leadership, the project ran smoothly.

More than 1,000 years ago, Li Bai looked at the towering mountains in the Sichuan Basin and expressed his emotion that "the road to Shu is difficult, and it is difficult to climb to the sky". Stanford encountered a similar situation more than 100 years ago. Facing the towering West Ala Mountains in the western United States, local workers retreated one after another, and Stanford had to turn to hard-working Chinese workers for help. Later, Chinese workers gradually accounted for 80% of the total number of railway workers.

In the exhibition hall where the No. 1 train is located, the museum vividly restores the working scene of the Chinese workers with murals and wax figures. Amidst the lofty mountains and the piercing cold wind, the tenacious vitality and determination of the Chinese workers to start their own business are shining brightly in the veins of the Chinese workers. They overcame unimaginable difficulties and made indelible contributions to the construction of the American West.

In 1869, the east-west railway successfully intersected. During the celebration, Stanford riveted a gold rivet into the junction of the railroad tracks to bless the prosperity that the Pacific Railroad would bring to the United States. A historical photo of the ritual scene is in the museum, enlarged and displayed on the walls of the museum, alongside replicas of golden rivets.

Outside the museum, there is also a "living" exhibit, which is a 19th-century style steam locomotive, which is usually parked on the rails on the banks of the Sacramento River. There is also a train platform built in the style of the time next to it. At certain times, visitors can buy tickets to ride this ancient train and experience the style of the Gold Rush.

It should be said that it is difficult to say that it is interesting to look at the history of the railway alone, but the era it represents and the story of that era are very memorable. In fact, in that vigorous gold rush, most of the gold diggers did not realize the dream of getting rich. After all, gold is limited, and one piece is less than one piece. So, only those who got the news first picked the "low-hanging fruit" that was easy to pick. Some of them have accumulated capital and started investing in big machines and new technologies to mine hard-to-mine deposits, and have thus climbed to the top of their lives. Other latecomers, limited by their own economic conditions, can only pan for gold manually in rivers and mines, and the effect is naturally not good. Really as a group, it is the hotels, restaurant owners, and gold digging tool dealers who serve these gold diggers who generally make a lot of money.

Gold rush stories remind people that in order to achieve success, they need not only intellectual and physical support, but also need to grasp the timing, and more importantly, a pair of eyes that know how to discover. As the so-called "gold diggers dig for gold, wise men dig for gold diggers' gold". Seeing business opportunities that others cannot see may be the key to traversing the layers of fog and grasping the hand of fate.


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Eric Karsa

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