September 29, 1997
Among E.H. Harriman's first acts in 1897 as the new executive of (and major shareholder in) the recently bankrupt Union Pacific was to set chief engineer John Berry to work out plans to reduce grades and curvature on the 1860s era UP main line. One of his most startling proposals was to build a completely new line over Sherman Hill between Cheyenne and Laramie, Wyoming, which would leave the original alignment at Hermosa just southeast of Laramie and rejoin the original line at Buford, in the process leaving the summit at Sherman (and the Ames Monument) several miles from the new main. Harriman wasted no time having work begin, although the old line was retained until 1918 as an alternative route in case of emergency.
Here at Buford, Wyoming, the grade of the east end of the old main line is still clearly marked as Union Pacific property (and trespassing strictly prohibited!).
This page posted 3/1/2019. Text and photo ©2019 Lamont Downs.