Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Southern Pacific Co. Records
MS 10  
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (397.02 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Accruals
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition
  • Arrangement
  • Corporate History
  • Related collections
  • Preferred Citation
  • Processing Information
  • Scope and Contents
  • Separated Materials
  • Conditions Governing Use

  • Language of Material: English
    Contributing Institution: California State Railroad Museum Library & Archives
    Title: Southern Pacific Company records
    creator: Southern Pacific Company
    Identifier/Call Number: MS 10
    Physical Description: 478.15 Linear Feet
    Date (inclusive): 1860-1989
    Abstract: This collection includes some of the corporate records of the Southern Pacific Railroad, its holding company, the Southern Pacific Company and certain of its subsidiaries and successors (such as the Southern Pacific Transportation Company) collected by the CSRM Library & Archives, focusing on financial and operational aspects of its functions from 1860 to 1989.
    Language of Material: English
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Location: Statewide Museum Collections Center

    Conditions Governing Access

    Collection is open for research by appointment. Contact Library staff for details.


    The CSRM Library & Archives continues to add materials to this collection on a regular basis.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    These corporate records were pieced together through donations from multiple sources. including: the Southern Pacific Transportation Company, the Union Pacific Railroad, The Bancroft Library; University of California, Berkeley, The Railway & Locomotive Historical Society, Pacific Coast Chapter, and people including: John Vios, Erik Pierson, Timothy and Sylvia Wong, Edna Hietala, John Gilmore, Philip Harrison, Carl Bradley, Betty Jo Sunshine, Dave Henry, Anthony Thompson, Lynn D. Farrar and many others between 1977 and 2009.


    Arranged by department into the following series:
    Series 1: Motive Power Department records Subseries 1. Equipment records Subseries 2. Master mechanic Subseries 3. The Office of general superintendent motive power department Subseries 4. Drawing room records Subseries 5. Sacramento shops Subseries 6. Mechanical department records Series 2: Engineering, Maintenance of Way and Valuation Department Subseries 1. Engineering Subseries 2. Maintenance of way Subseries 3. Valuation department records Series 3: Accounting Department Series 4: Land Department Subseries 1. Abstract of deeds Subseries 2. Cash receipts Subseries 3. Day books Subseries 4. Real estate and right of way property owned Series 5: Operating Department Subseries 1. Project files of William R. Scott, vice-president and general manager Subseries 2. General manager's orders Subseries 3. Office of general manager appropriation bulletins and general letters Subseries 4. Personnel department Series 6: Executive Department Subseries 1. Office of the president circulars and invitations Subseries 2. Public relations department Subseries 3. Mortgage maps Subseries 4. Long range planning program Series 7: Hospital Department Series 8: Traffic Department and Series 9: Public Relations Department

    Corporate History

    The Southern Pacific was an American Class I railroad network that existed from 1865 to 1998 and operated in the Western United States. The original Southern Pacific began in 1865 as a land holding company. The last incarnation of the Southern Pacific, the Southern Pacific Transportation Company, was founded in 1969 and assumed control of the Southern Pacific system. By 1900, the Southern Pacific system was a major railroad system incorporating many smaller companies, such as the Texas and New Orleans Railroad and Morgan's Louisiana and Texas Railroad. It extended from New Orleans through Texas to El Paso, Texas, across New Mexico and through Tucson, to Los Angeles, through most of California, including San Francisco and Sacramento. In 1929, Southern Pacific/Texas and New Orleans operated 13,848 route-miles not including Cotton Belt, whose purchase of the Golden State Route circa 1980 nearly doubled its size to 3,085 miles (4,965 km), bringing total SP/SSW mileage to around 13,508 miles (21,739 km). In 1969, the Southern Pacific Transportation Company was established and took over the Southern Pacific Company.
    By the 1980s, route mileage had dropped to 10,423 miles (16,774 km), mainly due to the pruning of branch lines. In 1988, the Southern Pacific Transportation Company (including its subsidiary, St. Louis Southwestern Railway) was taken over by Rio Grande Industries, the parent company that controlled the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad. Rio Grande Industries did not merge the Southern Pacific Transportation Company and the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad together, but transferred direct ownership of the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad to the Southern Pacific Transportation Company, allowing the combined Rio Grande Industries railroad system to use the Southern Pacific name due to its brand recognition in the railroad industry and with customers of both the Southern Pacific Transportation Company and the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad.
    By 1996, years of financial problems had dropped Southern Pacific's mileage to 13,715 miles (22,072 km). The financial problems caused the Southern Pacific Transportation Company to be taken over by the Union Pacific Corporation. In 1998, the Southern Pacific Transportation Company became the surviving railroad and at the same time the Union Pacific Corporation renamed the Southern Pacific Transportation Company to Union Pacific Railroad. The Southern Pacific Transportation Company became the current incarnation of the Union Pacific Railroad; the former Southern Pacific Transportation Company is still operating as the current incarnation of the Union Pacific Railroad. [Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_Pacific_Transportation_Company#History ]ry ]

    Related collections

    Additional collections available through the Online Archive of California:
    Southern Pacific Railroad Company records: https://oac.cdlib.org/findaid/ark:/13030/tf2199n586/?query=southern+pacific+railroad
    Southern Pacific Land Company records: https://oac.cdlib.org/findaid/ark:/13030/c8nc66px/
    Central Pacific Railroad Collection: https://oac.cdlib.org/findaid/ark:/13030/tf2h4n98jc/
    Catellus Land Records of the Southern Pacific, Central Pacific, its Predecessor and Subdiary Companies: https://oac.cdlib.org/findaid/ark:/13030/c89g5tqc/
    Lynn D. Farrar Papers Record Group 1: Southern Pacific Historical Cost Study: https://oac.cdlib.org/findaid/ark:/13030/c8j10910/.
    Finding aids for Southern Pacific predecessor and subsidiary companies are also available.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Southern Pacific Company, MS 10, California State Railroad Museum Libary & Archives, Sacramento, California.

    Processing Information

    Substantial portions of the papers were reorganized in 2018 into a more coherent arrangement, and new series were created to bring similar material together.

    Scope and Contents

    This collection of corporate records of the Southern Pacific Railroad, its holding company, the Southern Pacific Company, and its successor, the Southern Pacific Transportation Company were donated to the California State Railroad Museum Library & Archives between 1977 and 2018. This material does not represent the complete corporate records of the Southern Pacific.
    Contains equipment records, general managers' orders, bulletins, general ledgers, maritime log books, photographs, Southern Pacific Sacramento Shops records, material specifications, files of the Chief Engineer, the Master Mechanic, General Superintendent, Vice-President and the General Manager.
    Subjects include the building of the Southern Pacific Railroad, maintenance of tracks and buildings, building and care of locomotives, rolling stock, and trains, and management of its finances and land resources.

    Separated Materials

    Southern Pacific photographs, maps, drawings, employee timetables, and menus have been separated from these records and can be searched on the CSRM Library & Archives catalog at: https://csrm.andornot.com/. Ephemera, postcards, public timetables and tariffs are maintained separately. Contact CSRM Library & Archives staff for details.

    Conditions Governing Use

    Copyright has not been assigned to the California State Railroad Museum. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the CSRM Library & Archives. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the CSRM as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Southern Pacific Transportation Company
    Union Pacific Railroad Company