I’m a fan of AMC’s Hell on Wheels. Is the route constructed from Council Bluffs, Iowa, to Sacramento, California, still in use today?

Ask the Marshall – Hell on Wheels

I’m a fan of AMC’s Hell on Wheels. Is the route constructed from Council Bluffs, Iowa, to Sacramento, California, still in use today?

Mark Wilson
San Diego, California

The first Transcontinental Railroad, built in the 1860s, was primarily two lines, the Union Pacific and Central Pacific; the former building west and the latter heading east. Some portions of the route, including the historic meeting point at Promontory Summit in Utah, were later abandoned.

Trains still chug over most of the original Transcontinental Railroad route. The Union Pacific travels from Omaha, Nebraska, all the way to California. Lines run over the original roadbed of the formidable Sierra Nevada mountain range and the intimidating canyons of Utah and Wyoming. From Interstate 80, travelers can see the Central Pacific line, along with the snow sheds the railroad built to allow trains to move safely through the same area that doomed the Donner Party wagon train during the winter of 1846-47.

Passengers can luxuriate in daily train travel on Amtrak’s California Zephyr route, from San Francisco, California, to Chicago, Illinois.

Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official state historian and the vice president of the Wild West History Association.  His latest book is Arizona’s Outlaws and Lawmen.

If you have a question, write: Ask the Marshall, P.O. Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327 or e-mail him at marshall.trimble@scottsdalecc.edu

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