Railroaded

in collaboration with The Spatial History Project


When the road was completed, the bookkeepers of the Credit Mobilier put the actual cost to contractors of the Union Pacific at $50,720,958.94 and their profit at $42,825,328.34, but the profit was calculated on the basis of the securities being sold at par. Calculations that discounted the stock and bonds yielded a profit of $11,891,903. A third calculation has the government bonds and first mortgage bonds paying for the road. There remained the income bonds, land grant bonds at par and 36 million shares of stock discounted 70% as profit. After the subtraction of money actually invested in the Credit Mobilier, this left a profit in excess of 20 million dollars These figures were calculated by John Davis from testimony before the Wilson Committee investigating the Credit Mobilier.

Mark Summers, The Era of Good Stealings, 50-51.

Fogel, Union Pacific, 66-73.

John P. Davis, The Union Pacific Railway: A Study in Railway Politics, History and Economics (Chicago: S.C. Griggs and Company, 1894), 172-73.

For a government calculation in the 1930s, see Public Aids to Transportation, 2: 15- 16

Last updated on August 27, 2012 at 6:03pm