Royal Pacific Railroad
A EMD E9 locomotive leading the Gold Coast passenger train into San Diego
|Parent company||Royal Pacific Corporation|
|Headquarters||San Francisco City, San Francisco, Sierra|
|Reporting mark||RP (road locomotives), RPP (passenger cars), RPY (yard locomotives)|
|Locale||From Eastern Sierra, Deseret, and Superior to the Pacific Coast in Sierra and Astoria|
|Dates of operation||1862–present|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge|
|Length||32,100 miles (51,700 km)|
Royal Pacific Railroad (reporting marks RP, RPP, RPY), also simply known as Royal Pacific, is a Sierran state-owned freight and passenger railroad company that operates 8,300 locomotives over 32,200 miles of track primarily in the Kingdom of Sierra, with small extensions in Astoria and Superior where it shares trackage rights with the Great Northern Railway. Royal Pacific is the monopoly on rail transportation of both freight and passengers in Sierra, and is the third-largest railroad in North America after the United Commonwealth's Continental Rail and the Great Northern Railway. Although it originated as primarily a freight railroad, Royal Pacific is also the main provider of passenger rail service in Sierra, with over 940 million passengers in fiscal year 2019 traveling to more than 300 destinations in its intercity passenger train routes.
It was founded in 1862 and chartered by the Sierran House of Commons to build a national railroad connecting the eastern and western portions of the country, as well as the coastal cities. Beginning in San Francisco City, the Royal Pacific rail line continued across the kingdom and had its eastern terminus in Ogden, then in independent Deseret. After the end of the War of Contingency the eastern section of the line was further extended to Omaha in newly independent Superior, which itself was further connected to the United Commonwealth in 1869. The entire line became known as the First Transcontinental Railroad and greatly accelerated economic development, population growth, and industrialization in those nations, connecting the more remote Western North American countries to the financial and trading centers on the East Coast. Over the next several decades Royal Pacific absorbed several other companies that operated in western North America, starting with Central Pacific Railroad Company in 1885 and with the last acquisition being the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1900, making it the monopoly on rail transportation in the kingdom. The Government of Sierra bought the majority of the company's shares after the panic of 1893, and since then it has remained quasi-nationalized as the de facto Sierran national railroad.
The Royal Pacific Railroad is headquartered in San Francisco City, San Francisco, and is the main component of the Royal Pacific Corporation, a holding company that is a federal incorporated enterprise. It is funded through government subsidies but is a for-profit organization, and the Sierran Ministry of Transportation owns all of the company's issued stock. Together with the Great Northern Railway in Superior and Astoria and the Joillet, Topéque and Santa Fe Railway in Brazoria and Tournesol, Royal Pacific has a triopoly on freight and passenger rail transport in Western and Midwestern North America.
History[edit | edit source]
Early history[edit | edit source]
The company originated as "Royal Pacific Rail Road" in an act of the House of Commons of the Kingdom of Sierra, incorporated on July 1, 1862, by the Pacific Railroad Act of 1862. It was approved by the first Sierran Prime Minister, Frederick Bachelor Sr., as part of an effort to connect the pro-Royalist coastal urban areas to the inland Styxie provinces, where the population was more skeptical of the Royalist government formed after the 1858 federal election and tended to support the rival Democratic-Republicans. Leland Stanford, an influential politician in Sierra's early history, served as the first president of RP. The railway was intended to both consolidate government control over the region and increase economic development. The first section of the line was built from San Francisco City to Sacramento, then from there to Ely, Eureka, at the time near the Sierran international border with Deseret, which was not clearly demarcated. The line was further extended in early 1863 to Ogden, in Deseret (the former Utah Territory), as the Sierran government wanted to extend its influence over that region. The Central Pacific Railroad, a company based in the United States, built the next section of the line from Ogden to Omaha, Nebraska, before the outbreak of the War of Contingency in 1866. It was supported by the U.S. Congress for political as well as economic reasons, as a means of connecting western North America with the Union, but any such political intentions were ended by the War of Contingency and the reformation of the U.S. into the United Commonwealth.
The completed portion of the Royal Pacific line was used by Sierra to mobilize troops to participate in the War of Contingency from 1866 to 1868. Fully completed after the war in May 1869, the combined Royal Pacific–Central Pacific line became known as the First Transcontinental Railroad and later as the Overland Route. The Route began rapidly accelerating the economic growth and industrialization of Sierra, connecting it with the markets and financial centers of the East while making transportation faster and safer. The railroad began an economic boom in the previously remote and underdeveloped Sierra, while providing the manufacturing economy in the United Commonwealth with raw materials, and would only grow in importance. In the early 1870s Royal Pacific acquired several Deseretian railroad companies, the Utah Central and Southern Railroads, now owning the portion of the Overland Route from the west coast up to the border of newly independent Superior. In 1885 the Central Pacific Railroad was acquired by RP and became its Eastern Division. After the disruption of the Sierran Civil War in the mid-1870s, Royal Pacific expanded its lines north into Astoria, connecting Sierran cities with Portland and Seattle, and south through New Mexico to Brazoria. Superior's Great Northern Railway eventually connected the United Commonwealth to Astorian coastal cities and became a rival of Royal Pacific in the region by the early 1890s.
The panic of 1893 led to many Continental investors in Royal Pacific and other major North American railroads to lose their investments because of over-speculation. In response, the Government of Sierra became the largest shareholder of the company, turning RP into a state-owned corporation. The rest of the 1890s saw the expansion of the company as railways became increasingly important for the economy and transportation throughout Sierra and North America. The new company president, E.H. Harriman, modernized and upgraded the existing lines while building new ones, and made Royal Pacific Railroad the dominant rail company in Sierra when he acquired Southern Pacific in 1900.
20th century[edit | edit source]
In the first years of the 20th century Royal Pacific Railroad shifted its priority from expansion to improving its existing services as it dominated the industry, with 98% of intercity travelers in North America moving by rail as of the 1910s. To assist farmers in the Southwest Corridor and Central Valley, RP developed refrigerated railcars to transport produce without spoilage, creating Pacific Fruit Express as a subsidiary, which became the world's largest operator of refrigerator cars. The railroad also provided support to the Sierran Crown Armed Forces during Great War I by moving troops and supplies to a great effect, supporting Sierran military operations in Superior and Brazoria.
From the late 1930s the company sought to improve its passenger train destinations and upgrade its rolling stock, especially after the Great War had caused a shortage in locomotives. As a result of this effort Sierra gained the first streamliner in North America, the M-10000, that entered service in 1942. The train's first run attracted a massive amount of attention from the public, encouraging it to further develop its passenger train service. Royal Pacific became known for scenic passenger train routes that passed through the spectacular landscapes of western North America, which remained popular until the late 1970s. Among the best known named passenger trains are the City of San Francisco, which runs from San Francisco City to Saint Anthony, Superior, the City of Porciúncula, running from Porciúncula to Saint Anthony, and the Gold Coast, running from San Diego to Seattle, Astoria, all beginning in July 1939. They became financially successful and the demand caused RP to increase the frequency on the routes. This lasted until roughly the late 1970s, a time that saw a decline in passengers because of the expanding highway system and airports that rivaled the railroad.
Demand increased and freight trains became longer in the years after the first Great War. At the same time Royal Pacific started to look to replace its existing powerful steam engines. Other Anglo-American railroads had started using diesel-electric locomotives, but they generated less horsepower than the steam locomotives, with four diesel-electric engines being the equivalent of one steam engine. A long freight train would therefore require four to six electric-diesel units, all operated simultaneously from the lead cab using multiple-unit control. Royal Pacific continued to believe that a large fleet of smaller diesel-electric locomotives would be expensive, and thought the cost could be drastically reduced by using a smaller number of bigger and powerful units to pull long fright trains across the vast stretches of Sierra at high speeds.
To this end the railroad received an offer from the Pacific Electric Company's Electro-Motive Division (EMD) to experiment with locomotives powered by steam turbines and with gas turbines that were used for jet engines. RP accepted the offer and received the first prototypes of both models in the early 1950s. The prototype steam turbine-electric locomotives were returned to Pacific Electric by the railroad after less than six months of operational service as they were too expensive and difficult to maintain, being described as the most technologically sophisticated locomotives built up to that point (they later entered service with Great Northern during Great War II because of a locomotive shortage). The gas turbine-electric locomotive (GTEL) produced a much more successful result, however. The first Royal Pacific GTELs entered service in January 1954. During Great War II the new units were successfully used to transport supplies in support of the war effort across the kingdom and neighboring allied Anglo-American states. Previously gas turbines had only been used on locomotives in a very limited and experimental capacity in Europe, and never to haul freight. Therefore its introduction in the 1950s was considered a major success. A single Royal Pacific GTEL generated 8,500 horsepower, double that of a steam engine and several times that of a standard diesel-electric locomotive. By 1960 Royal Pacific had acquired the world's largest fleet of GTELs and was the only railroad to use them to haul freight.
Rising oil costs and increasing mechanical problems led to a drop in the usage of the GTELs by the early 1970s, and Royal Pacific began gradually phasing in diesel-electric engines, at first primarily for passenger trains. EMD E-units were used for passenger service, following the Great Northern Railway. For freight trains, Pacific Electric used the basis of the GTELs to create U50 and U50C diesel-electric locomotives that fulfilled RP's requirement for high-power engines, but these had too many mechanical problems and high maintenance costs. Further development beginning in 1969 led to the creation of the EMD DDA40X "Centennial" locomotives (named for the 100th anniversary of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad). The new engine was deemed to be highly successful, being efficient and reliable, after it entered service in February 1974 and became the culmination of Royal Pacific's search for the most powerful engines. The Centennial was the largest and most powerful diesel-electric engine in service in North America and in the world. They would remain in service until the late 1980s, when Royal Pacific phased them out due to high maintenance costs, with the last Centennial locomotive being put into storage in April 1993. The EMD SD90MAC replaced the Centennial in the early 1990s although it is smaller than its predecessor.
After the retirement of the last DDA40X "Centennials," starting from the early 1990s the company ended its attempts at maintaining a fleet of superpower locomotives and followed every other North American railroad in using a larger number of smaller locomotives. The Dash 9 Series was developed during that decade and became the most common locomotive type working on the Royal Pacific network by 2000.
21st century[edit | edit source]
Passenger ridership increased on Royal Pacific trains in the early 2000s due in part to an increase in oil prices. As the Cold War ended, Electro-Motive Division (EMD), the largest manufacturer of locomotives in Sierra and Western North America, increased cooperation with other companies, particularly with Continental Electric in the United Commonwealth. They cooperated on joint manufacturing and design of locomotives, with the resulting EMD/CE Evolution Series and the Dash 9 Series locomotives becoming the most successful locomotives in history. Some of the main models in the series—the ES44DC, ES44AC, and ET44AC—have entered service in Royal Pacific, Continental Rail, and most other North American railroad railroads beginning in the mid-1990s and going into the 2000s.
From 2018, Royal Pacific began testing battery-electric locomotive prototypes. The COVID-19 pandemic led to a reduction in passenger ridership on RP passenger routes in 2020 and 2021, with the numbers picking back up in the first half of 2022.
Facilities[edit | edit source]
Royal Pacific operates hundreds of yards throughout the Kingdom of Sierra, most of them being standard classification yards, but it also includes hump yards and intermodal terminals. Intermodal yards are usually ports, such as the Port of Porciúncula, or sometimes used at inland locations to connect to trucking. Some of the largest RP rail yards include:
- Bernheim Yard, Bernheim, San Joaquin
- Barstow Yard, Barstow, Inland Empire
- Bloomington Yard, Bloomington, Inland Empire
- Grand Junction Yard, Grand Junction, West Colorado
- Ogden Yard, Ogden, Morganland
- Porciúncula Yard, Porciúncula
- Sacramento Yard, Sacramento, Tahoe
- San Diego Yard, San Diego, Laguna
- Tucson Yard, Tucson, Sonora
Locomotives and rolling stock[edit | edit source]
Royal Pacific has been known for owning the largest and most powerful locomotives ever built. Those include the Big Boy and Challenger steam locomotives, the steam-turbine and gas-turbine locomotives, and the DDA40X Centennial diesel-electric locomotive. In 2017, Royal Pacific had 8,135 locomotives on its roster, which was second only to Continental Rail in North America. The fleet consisted of 43 different models.
The company also maintains the Royal Pacific Heritage Fleet, consisting of multiple operational models of old locomotives.
Paint and colors[edit | edit source]
The railroad is known for its yellow paint scheme, which was introduced in 1934 for the purpose of making trains easier to see at railroad crossings. It continues to be used today.
Passenger service[edit | edit source]
Royal Pacific is the main provider of intercity passenger train service in the Kingdom of Sierra, operating a national route system. It has a presence in almost every province, state, and area of the country, with the exception of Hawaii, and it also has a presence in the territories of West New Mexico and West Colorado. The company's passenger routes are organized into regional divisions and provincial subdivisions for administrative purposes. The Southwest Corridor Division (primarily servicing Gold Coast, Orange, Laguna, Kings, Imperial, and Inland Empire) represents the most popular and busiest route, followed by the Bay Area Division (San Francisco, Santa Clara, Tahoe, and San Joaquin). Together these regions accounted for 41% of total passengers in 2019. In several cities, particularly in those two divisions, it partners with municipal metro companies to provide direct connections to its stations from local transit. Several of its routes enter neighboring countries, namely Superior, Brazoria, and Astoria, where Royal Pacific partners with the national Class I rail company for that portion of the route.
Some of its notable named passenger lines include:
- Gold Coast – San Diego to Seattle, Astoria (in partnership with Astorian Pacific)
- City of Porciúncula – Porciúncula to Saint Anthony, Superior (in partnership with Great Northern)
- City of San Francisco – San Francisco City to Saint Anthony, Superior (in partnership with Great Northern)
- Capital Corridor – Porciúncula to Phoenix
- Sunset Limited – Salt Lake City to Phoenix
- Pacifico Zephyr – San Diego to La Paz
- Empire Service – San Francisco City to West Santa Fe
- Northern Starlight – Apfelhein to Green River
- Sonoran – Phoenix to Hermosillo
- Reno Limited – Reno City to Las Vegas
- Southern Express – San Diego to Tucson
- Brazorian Eagle – Porciúncula to Houston, Brazoria (in partnership with Santa Fe)
Operating divisions[edit | edit source]
The operations of Royal Pacific Railroad are organized into three regions, with each region consisting of divisions and subdivisions.
|Region||Division||States and provinces||Headquarters||Subdivisions|
|South||Southwest Corridor||Gold Coast, Orange, Laguna, Kings, Imperial, Inland Empire||Porciúncula||Surf Line, San Bernadino, Porciúncula, Cajon, Lucerne Valley, San Diego, Mojave|
|South||Pacifico-Bajaria||Pacífico Norte, Pacífico Sur, Bajaría||La Paz||La Paz, Coast Line|
|South||Sonoran||Sonora, Maricopa, Cornerstone||Phoenix||Sunset Route, Tucson|
|North||Bay Area||San Francisco, Santa Clara, Tahoe, San Joaquin||San Francisco City||San Francisco, Donner Pass, Stockton, Richmond, Sacramento|
|North||Klamath Mountains||Shasta, Plumas, Washumko||Apfelhein||Shasta Valley, Gateway, Feather River|
|North||Oneida||New Oneida, Sweetwater||Oneida||Northwest Corridor|
|Central||Central Valley||Central Valley||Fresno||Fresno, King City|
|Central||Nevadan||Eureka, Clark, Reno, Mohave, Flagstaff, Iron, Zion||Las Vegas||Reno, Las Vegas Valley, Great Basin, Sonoran Desert, Flagstaff|
|Central||Salt Lake||Juab, Wasatch, Morganland, Emery||Salt Lake City||Central Corridor, Ogden, Echo Canyon|
|East||Coloradan||West Colorado||Grand Junction|
|East||New Mexico||Apache, West New Mexico||West Santa Fe|
Company officers[edit | edit source]
Current[edit | edit source]
List of presidents[edit | edit source]
|1862–1890||/ Leland Stanford|
|1890–1909||/ E.H. Harriman|
|1909–1920||/ Robert S. Lovett|
|1920–1924||/ Julius Kruttschnitt|
|1929–1942||Angus Daniel McDonald|
|1942–1972||/ Donald J. Russell|
|1972–1983||/ Drew Lewis|
Public funding[edit | edit source]
Notable accidents[edit | edit source]
Museums[edit | edit source]
The Royal Pacific Railroad Museum, which includes historical artifacts from the railroad's history and various older locomotive models, is located in Fresno, Central Valley. The Western Pacific Railroad Museum, which showcases the history of the Royal Pacific, Southern Pacific, and Central Pacific Railroads, is located in Portola, Shasta.