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A growing sentiment in the West and East favored a railroad that would bind the nation closer together.
[See"Reports of Explorations and Surveys, to ascertain the most practicable and economical route for a railroad from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean, made under the direction of the Secretary of War, in 1853-4" Volumes I-XII.
The first plan to receive consideration of Congress was one in 1836.
Others followed, some of them having a short route to the rich Orient as the primary objective rather than being aimed at the development of the West.
Discovery of gold in 1848 focused world attention on California and the Pacific Coast region.
But his proposal was branded by many as fantastic or a vicious money-grabbing scheme.
Pioneer of transcontinental railroads, Southern Pacific had its origin in the Central Pacific Rail Road Company of California, incorporated June 28, 1861, to build the western portion of the Pacific Railroad.