Great Western and Asperic
The Great Western and Asperic Railroad Company was/is a railway company founded in April 1867, initially based in Stuart, Tauhon and from 1870 also having offices in Elvira, Sierra. Great Western and Asperic was one of the key players in the construction of the transcontinental railroad, responsible for construction of rail line from west of Apricity (Tejoma) through La Rue (Sierra) over the mountains and through Elvira to Stuart and Jundah on the Asperic coast.
From the completion of the line they operated the far western and mountain stretches of the rail line, being the largest rail company in Western Sierra.
The company was set up in April 1867 in order to begin construction of the portion of the transcontinental railway from Jundah and Stuart to Elvira and over the Sierra mountains. William Cathcart of Stuart was named first president, and the company's offices were built on the street that now bears his name.
Ground was broken in Arlington Arbor in July 1868; the rail portion to Nomaville was completed in August 1868, and by October had reached and passed Thousand Palms. The delay in shipping equipment, supplies and other financial problems delayed work and the line to Clemont was only completed in June 1869, work entirely at a stop through the spring. With the delay east of Thousand Palms becoming national news, Cathcart was forced to resign to be replaced by J. Dillon Graham. Graham hired a further number of workers in order to ensure resumption of work.
Work along the San Felipe River went by fairly well afterward, if indeed somewhat slower. Work stopped just east of Millburn City in December 1870, with winter and snow drifts delaying work. By March rail existed on the Sierran side of the border, and by June had covered over 100 km in Sierra. Two bridges at Flatts Island were built to cross the *Colurona River*, at the time the only bridge north of Gleason, Oronotia (about 800 km to the south). Elvira was reached in September 1870.
The first 20 km or 25 km on the east bank of the *Colurona* were built fairly quickly, but with early snow on the ground by late November, and an increased rise in the geography due to the mountains halted work. It was resumed in February 1871, but halted yet again due to more snowfall, and only in April did it manage to resume with consistency. In July, construction made it to Harding Pass; at an altitude of nearly 2600m above sea level it was the highest railway passage in the Federal States. It would take another five months to get near the small eastern coal mining town of La Rue. Frequent raids by native Archantans, coupled with the difficult terrain made progress slow, and work was slowed, as the working party was accompanied by F.S. Army soldiers to fight back raids. Labor disputes over worker safety arose, but were put down. The La Rue Area was reached in December, but due to winter snow the final 600 meters to the town itself were not completed till the following year.
Eventually, the desire Great Western and Asperic's administrators to complete the final link (coupled with shareholder agitation) saw work resume in February, despite snow and cold winds still present. By mid-March 1872, the rail line was in Apawiland, and the final silver spike, connecting the rail line to the line from Apricity was placed in April 1872
From March 1870, railway service began from Jundah and Stuart to Elvira, only consistently operating by July that year. The silver spike connecting the railway to the line to Apricity was completed in April 1872. Service began almost immediately, and by the summer trains from Union Station in Manheart was taking three days to reach Elvira and four to Apricity, a significant reduction in time over the overland and ocean-going routes to the west.
Branches and extension of the route were built almost immediately after completion of the original. A northern route via Hopkins and Hernandez to serve Dennison was completed in 1874 and extended east. In Tauhon a bypass in the west served Clearbook, and a southern line extended the route to Mariana beach. From Bilton a line connected it to Chapman, and in 1873 Lola was connected by rail to Elvira. Rail connection between Dennison and Elvira existed, but this was owned and operated by the Dennison City Railroad (built in 1875).
Early 20th century
By 1910 it had become much more economical to take the train. In 1908 a new branch was completed, from Las Barras to Elvira, which bypassed Colurona and saw a large new 1.1 km long bridge over the *Colurona*. Aside from some passenger and freight service, all trains were using the northern bypass route by 1910.
In 1933 Great Western and Asperic introduced the S1 locomotives and trains into service. These were the first streamlined trains in service on GW&A routes and were consequently used on the key east-west route, the famed "Speedliner" train. Passengers enjoyed an unrivaled service of scenic comfort as they crossed central FSA and over the sierras through to the coast.
In 1941 the S2 trains entered into service. They were even more aerodynamic and were some of the fastest trains in the world, though these speeds were rarely reached. An S2 locomotive was clocked at 211 km/h (130 mph) in June 1945.
Despite these highly advanced trains, the advent of air travel was beginning to cause concern to the GW&A's rail service. By the early 1950s the company began comparing its large, luxurious trains with small, cramped, loud prop planed that had to make frequent stops to cross the country. Ads extolling the virtues of the "swift and serene" Speedliner and Speedmaster trains appeared.
Late 20th century
By 1965 rail service was much reduced and profitability was coming into question. Money was being lost on each train service, and by the early 1970s these luxury trains were now matched with Western Airlines' luxury jetliners, already left behind by the economic Federal Airlines and others.
In (1976) passenger service was sold to ArchRail, who continued the Speedmaster/Speedliner train services, albeit as part of a much greater network. GW&A focused fully on freight rail, which expanded and continued to be fairly profitable.
Great Western and Asperic's route
The length of the original route totaled 843.03 km to the silver spike in central Apawiland, and a total of 956.52 km to the station in central Apricity. 338.73 km (about 210.5 mi) were located within Tauhon, 207.96 km (129 mi) in Sierra west of the Colurona, and 238 km (147.9 mi) until Sierra's eastern border. There was a distance of 546.69 km (almost 340 mi.) to Elvira from Jundah.
The route began construction from Arlington Arbor in 1868. By the end of 1870 the railroad had reached and passed Elvira. Many towns, initially tented cities for workers sprung up along the tracks, and many, such as Clemont, Bilton and others became permanent due to the need for stations.
|Jundah||start of the line at Jundah Central Station. Has since been expanded further north.||0 km||extant|
|Stuart||historically stopped in central Stuart, now at Stuart Transit Center||4.39 km||extant|
|Arlington Arbor||stops at Elliott Station. Rail line later split into a northern route through Clearbrook.||21.56 km||extant|
|Nomaville||At Nomaville-Hartsmont, rail line splits (branch goes south to Mariana Beach)||41.74 km||August 1868|
|Thousand Palms||Clearbrook line merges onto main line. Became key railway town in the 19th century.||69.11 km||October 1868|
|Clemont||historically key railway stop||128.97 km||June 1869|
|Sienna||historically key railway stop||171.81 km||July 1869|
|Millburn City||Major railway town in eastern Tauhon. Rail line now passes further north from the town center.||301.84 km||December 1870|
|Bilton||first stop in Sierra and key 19th century railway town with the addition of northern route to Dennison and southern branch to Chapman||377.78 km||March 1870|
|Sturridge||historically key railway stop||415.46 km||April 1870|
|Canon City||historically key railway stop||468.33 km||June 1870|
|Las Barras||key railway stop, railway splits into the modern northern branch (built in the 1910s) and southern, via Colurona||490.78 km||June 1870|
|Colurona||historically key railway stop||553 km||August 1870|
|Elvira||historically stopped at 7th Street (original station). A new station was built in 1934 more south, by the railway yards (now the Elvira Rail Museum)||572.78 km||October 1870|
|Harding||historically key railway stop||637.31 km||July 1871|
|La Rue||historically key railway stop||780.51||February 1872|