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?

ATM_Marshall-Trimble-Logo-with-backgroundI’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.

What do you think?

Marshall Trimble

Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official historian and the Wild West History Association’s vice president. His latest book is 2018’s Arizona Oddities: A Land of Anomalies and Tamales. Send your question, with your city/state of residence, to marshall.trimble@scottsdalecc.edu or Ask the Marshall, P.O. Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327.