The Great Northern Railroad
Jim Hill and the Great Northern. By 1878, three lines had been built across America with government money- the first Continental Railroad - the combination of the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific- the Southern Pacific which built across the Southern Route and the Northern Pacific, which was built across the Northern route. All were built on a giant scale with massive government grants and loans. All would by the end of the century be forced into receivership. There would however be two additional lines built- The Great Northern, and the Sante Fe.
The Great Northern was the dream of Jim Hill, He bought in 1878 a small Minnesota line called the St. Paul and Pacific. Hill immediately began expanding it across Minnesota- first to the Canadian border, where it met the Canadian Pacific Railroad, He then continued westward. He was meticulous, insisting that every step the road was profitable, and every extension would pay for itself. The Great northern aggressively wooed immigrants to settle along its line. He also insisted that the road would be built to the highest standards. In 1893, the Great Northern as it became known reached Puget Sound at Everett Washington. That same year Hill gained control of the Northern Pacific that had gone into bankruptcy. Hills final acquisition was the Chicago Burlington and Quinsy, which gave him, access to the Lower Middle West. Hill singlehandly developed a highly profitable trade with Japan, arranging the export of Southern Cotton to Japan. Thus the Great Northern trains were always full, carrying cotton westward and lumber eastward.