A World Transformed: The Transcontinental Railroad and Utah: The Union Pacific Railroad is Bankrupt
The Union Pacific Railroad is Bankrupt
Once the transcontinental railroad was complete, the Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR) had to pay back its previous debts. Despite having received millions of dollars in government funding, shady bookkeeping bankrupted the UPRR and they needed to rebuild large sections of poorly-built track. Moreover, they were unable to pay the employees who had built the railroad through Utah. For the Mormons whose farms had already struggled during the 1869 drought and who had spent their entire summer working for the railroad, this was a disaster. Instead of payment, UPRR vice-president Thomas Durant offered to give left-over construction materials to Brigham Young in order to fulfill his contract. Young accepted, and the materials were used to build the Utah Central Railroad less than a year later.