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Imperial press and farmer. (Imperial, San Diego County, Cal.) 1901-1903, May 24, 1902, Image 5

Image and text provided by University of California, Riverside; Riverside, CA

Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn92070142/1902-05-24/ed-1/seq-5/

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THE RAILROAD SITUATION
IS VERY ENCOURAGING
TIES AND RAILS WILL BEGIN TO ARRIVE AT OLD
BEACH WITHIN TWO WEEKS FROM TEXAS
There is a most encouraging railroad
situation now, indicating that the Im
perial and Gulf road will be in opera
tion by September 1, according to con
tract between that road and the South
ern Pacific company. Engineer Hood
of the latter company visited the val
ley this week, and is engaged in ex
amining the sites for bridges, it being
the plan to bring the roadbed up to the
standard of the main line of the
Southern Pacific. As long as it was
the idea to have simply a spur of the
Southern Pacific road run into the
valley, it was not necessary to make a
strictly first-class roadbed, but now
that it seems evident that the road is
to be used in time as the main line of
the Southern Pacific the situation is
different.
PRESIDENT HEBER TALKS
The Los Angeles Herald says:
"President A. H. Heber of the Im
perial Land Company was here yester
day from San Francisco, where he had
just concluded arrangements with the
Southern Pacific Railroad company
for building a branch line of railroad
to Imperial, and through the com
pany's lands to Calexico, on the Mex
can border. Contracts were signed
this week for building twenty-seven
and one-half miles of railroad from
Old Beach' station on the Southern
Pacific to Imperial. The Southern
Pacific made the contract with the
California Development Company— a
company composed of officers and di
rectors of the Imperial Land Company
— for grading the railroad line.
"Surveys for the road are made and
between seven and eight miles of the
grade built. This work was done by
the Imperial people before the South
ern Pacific company became inter
ested in the colony in the south end of
the state. The contract that was
made this week with President E. H.
Harriman of the Southern Pacific is
for rebuilding that portion of the
grade already made, which will be
improved and raised about four feet,
and for completion of the grade to the
town of Imperial. The Southern Pa
cific will lay the rails and equip the
road. All the work must be done and
the road placed in operation by Sep
tember 1.
"There is nothing to hinder speedy
road building, says Mr. Heber. Rights
of-way are all secured and are made in
the name of the Southern Pacific com
pany, and a large part of the mater
ials needed is already on hand, and
other material and rolling stock have
been ordered by the railroad company.
"The line from Old Beach to Impe
rial will be but a part of the road
building that the Southern Pacific
will do in the Imperial district. Mr.
Harriman gave assurance that other
branch lines will be built once the first
line is completed. There will be an
extension to Paringa, in the center of
the colony lauds, and from there a
branch will extend to Calexico, on the
Mexican line, and another to Blue
Lake. In all there will be between
fifty and sixty milesof railroad in the
district.
"In order to be prepared to handle
the present year's crops, the construc
tion contract calls for completion of
the road to Imperial, September 1, and
trains will be running at that date.
There are now 6000 acres of crops in,
and preparations are making for sow
ing enough summer crops to raise the
acreage to 20.000 or 25,000. The comp
any has over 100,000 acres of land un
der irrigation, and there is now a pop
ulation of about 2000 people in the
colony, which it is expected will be
increased to 10,000 or 12,000 by next
fall. The Southern Pacific railroad
has become greatly interested in de
velopment of this section of the state,
which after this season will be made
one of the principal destinations for
homeseekers' excursions."
The Los Angeles Times gives the
following additional information:
"The early completion of the rail
road is to be secured by a novel pro
cedure. Steel rail manufacturers are
at present so rushed with orders that
new material could not be secured for
fully a year. To meet the date of Sep
tember 1, a small railroad in Texas
has been purchased and will be torn
up and transplanted bodily from Texas
to Southern California."
SOUTHERN PACIFIC PLANS
The Herald, which recently told of
[he plan of the Southern Pacific to
build from Yuma through Imperial
valley to a junction with the main
line northwest of here, now gives an
autlineof the general plans for re
building the road:
"Before he returned to New York,
President E. H. Harriiiiaii of the
Southern Pacific gave orders for the
expenditure of the fund of $25,000,000
which, upon his arrival in Lus Angeles
six weeks ago, Mr. Harrinian said
would be put into betterments of the
roadbed and rolling stock of the South
ern Pacific. The plan of improvements
is the practical rebuilding of the lines
of road from Ogden to San Francisco,
and from New Orleans to Los Angeles.
Large orders for new locomotives and
passenger and freight cars have been
placed with the eastern factories, to
complete a train equipment that will,
Mr. Harrinian said, be unsurpassed by
any western railroad. The Herald
has already told the plan of better
ments for the Sunset route, between
this city and New Orleans. A part of
this work is already under way, where
west of El Paso the old light rails are
being replaced by eighty pound steel.
"Mr. Harriinan's order is that for
160 miles east of El Paso and 340 miles
west of the same point, the entirely
new rails shall be laid, and west of El
Paso 273 miles of the roadbed shall be
rock ballasted and all will be sprinkled
with oil. Forces of workmen are now
engaged in carrying out this order.
East from El Paso 141 miles of the
road will be reballasted, and there has
been ordered 2,500,000 ties for rebuild
ing of the road.
"About 150 miles of road between
Los Angeles and Yuma will be rebuilt,
and eighty poitnd steel will replace the
present sixty-two pound rails. One
hundred miles of the road to Yuma has
already been rebuilt.
"The plan of improvements includes
straightening 1 the track at several
points where now there are dangerous
curves, and with a number of cut-offs
there will be a considerable saving of
distance."
SAN DIEGO'S OPPORTUNITY
In New York and Chicago railroad
men and newspapers persist in reiter
ation of the statement that the Chi
cago, Kock Island and Pacific railroad
will come to the Pacih'c-coast from El
Paso, Texas, a statement which, while
not confirmed, is not denied by officials
of the road. The report is based on
the new aggressive policy of the Rock
IMPERIAL PRESS
| Island company and the information
given out from President Leeds' oflice
that further expansion is contem
plated. During the past year the
Rock Island has added something be*
tween 1600 and 1700 miles to its road,
and has made known that it intends
to construct more. With the new mile
age it has completed connections with
the Pacific coast and the City of Mex
ico, the latter by a joint trackage
agreement with the Mexican Central.
It also now reaches Memphis and is
building to Galveston, with Albuquer
que as another- possibility. During
the year there was added to the system
new mileage equal to about double
that acqnired in the immediately pre
ceding twelve years, and there is ev
ery reason to believe that this year
will see further large additions to the
length of the track. Last year the
stock capital was increased by $10,000,
000; this year it is to be. increased by
$15,000,000. Besides these and other
additions to capital, bonds for $24,
000,000 have been issued to pay for the
Choctaw, Oklahoma and Gulf road that
was lately purchased by the Rock Isl
and. The official statement of the
company shows that it earned net in
the fiscal year 1901-2, $7,220,941, which
is equal to 12 per cent on the $60,000,
000 of stock outstanding.
It is claimed with a degree of posi
tiveuess that the Rock Island has ac
quired control of the Phelps-Dodge
railroad from Benson, Arizona, to El
Paso, and that it is also financing the
Phoenix and Eastern to connect Phoe
nix with the Phelps-Dodge line at
Benson, and also the Phoenix, Yuma
and California road, projected to ex
tend from Phoenix to . Yuma. From
the latter point to San Diego bay is an
open field, say the promoters of the
San Diego-Eustern railroad, who are
going ahead with the financing of
their compan y, but with the under
standing that the survey and right-of
way is open to whatever railroad will
give necessary assurances that a line
will be built. The Rock Island has al
ready completed arrangements for an
extension from Memphis to Savauah,
Ga., and the belief is that it contem
plates outstripping all competitors and
securing the h'rst ocean to ocean line,
to be from the mouth of the Savanah
river to San Diego bay, the very short
est cut across the continent.
The Rock Island has had periods of
expansion, but they have be**n spas
modic; Its policy has been rather to
consolidate its operations and build up
a restricted territory. Now, however,
it is becoming known as the most ag
gressive of the •'independent" rail
roads, and there is no limits' placed on
its possibilities.
ONE MAN'S OPINIONS
In his wonderfully interesting-, book,
"The Desert," John C. Van Dyke has
given an artistic, and generally accu
rate, description of the Colorado des
ert, though viewed from the stand
point of pure aesthetics, a standpoint
which does not always place him in
harmony with the utilitarian. In one
place he says:
''Yet here is more beauty destined
to destruction. It mig°ht be thought
that this forsaken pot-hole in the
ground would never come under the
dominion of man, its very worthless
ness would be its safeguard against
civilization, that none would want it,
and everyone from necessity would let
it alone. But not even the spot de
serted by reptiles shall escape the in
dustry or the averice (as you please)
of man. A great company has been
formed to turn the Colorado river into
the sands, to reclaim the desert basin,
and make it blossom as the rose. The
water is to be brought down to the
basin by the old channel of the New
river, [in reality.the Carter river — Ed.]
Once in reservoirs it is to be distrib
uted over the tract by irrigating 1
ditches, and it is .said a million acres
of desert will thus be mode arable,
fitted for homesteads, ready for the
settler who never remains settled.
"A most laudable enterprise, people
will say. Yes; commercially no one
can find fault with it. Money made
from sand is likely to be clean money,
at any rate. And economically these
acres will produce large supplies of
food. That is commendable, too, even
if those for whom it is produced waste
a good half of what they already pos
sess.' And yet the food that is pro
duced there may prove expensive to
people other than the producers. This
old sea-bed is, for its area, probably
the greatest dry-heat generator in the
world because of its depression and
its Darren, sandy surface. It is a fur
nace that whirls heat up and out of
the bowl, over the peaks of the Coast
range into Southern California, and
eastward across the plains to Arizona
and Sonora. In what measure it is
responsible for the general climate of
those States connot be accurately sum
marized; but it certainly has a great
influence, especially in the matter of
producing dry air. To turn this des
ert into ah agricultural tract would be
to increase humidity, and that would
be practically to nullify the finest air
on the continent.
"And why are not good air and cli
mate as essential to human well-being
as good beef and good bread? Just
now, when it is a world too late, our
Government and the forestry societies
of the country are awakening to the
necessity of preserving the forests.
National parks are being created
wherever possible and the cutting of
timber within them is prohibited.
Why is this being done? Ostensibly
to preserve the trees, but in reality to
preserve the water supply, to keep the
fountain-heads pure, to maintain a
uniform stage of water in the rivers.
Very proper and right. The only pity
is that it was not undertaken forty
years ago. But how is the water sup
ply, from an , economic and hygienic
stand-point, any more important than
the air supply?
. "Grasses, trees, shrubs, Vrowing
grain, they, too, may need good air as
well as human lungs. The deserts are
not worthless wastes. You can not
crop all creation with wheat and al
falfa. Some sections must lie fallow
that other sections may produce. Who
shall say that the preternatural pro
ductiveness of California is not due to
the warm air of its surrounding des
erts? Does anyone doubt that the
heallhfulness of the countries lying
west of the Mississippi may be traced
directly to the dry air and heat of the
deserts. They furnish health to the
human; why not strength to the plant?
The deserts should never be reclaimed.
They are the breathing-spaces of the
West and . should be preserved for
ever."
In the above what effort there is to
conform to the utilitarian idea seems
to miscarry, for while there is merit in
pure dry air, it is possible to introduce
a degree of moisture into the atmos
phere that will add to the productive
ness of the Southwest without detract
ing from its healthfulness. There are
hundreds of millions of acres of land
in arid America which may yet be re
claimed, in part by direct irrigation
and in part by the evaporation of
water once used and its transmission
as vapor to other arid sections, where
it will fall in the form of rain.
Al. W. PATTON,
BlackstnitHitig
Heavy Tins Setting
A Specialty
JMiMCKIAL..
5

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