Through Passenger Service Begins
A little later Baker arose and asked that he be permitted for the
moment to usurp the prerogatives of the toastmaster.
“In giving the glad hand of fellowship to the chief officers of the Western Pacific it is just as well that we be reminded that the business which the Western Pacific is here to transact must be collected by its local agent, the agent in Oakland must deliver the goods if he is to please his superiors and serve the company effectively. But he cannot deliver the goods unless you give him business. It is up to you to assist him in the work he has to perform in opening up a new avenue of traffic. I therefore propose a toast to the health of Mr. Walter Townsend the local agent of the Western Pacific who from now on has to bear the task of getting business for his company."
The suggestion gained an instant response and Townsend was cheered heartily.
H. C. Capwell of the Oakland Chamber of Commerce and a member of the executive committee which had the day’s program in hand was the next speaker. He said in part:
“We of Oakland are particularly glad for the arrival of the Western Pacific, the road has come into this territory bringing with it material evidence of the greatest future prosperity, it comes with fair promise that it will work for the good of the community, and that it will place the city of Oakland on the map where it rightfully belongs. For many years we have endeavored to have other roads provide for the issuance of tickets to this city; that when people in the East desired to come here they could purchase transportation reading 'to Oakland’ and not to San Francisco, with the information that they could get off the train here if they did not care to cross the bay. Oakland wanted to be put on the map and put on in the proper way, our desire has now been fulfilled and the officials have told us that their instructions to the map makers have been to place this city equally prominent with San Francisco or the maps will not be accepted. In this manner we will be well advertised in the East and people will know that there is a fair and prosperous city on the eastern shores of San Francisco bay. The promise held forth to us in the opening of the vast territory stretching through the most fertile sections of the state and into Nevada is one of the most important given us in the advent of the Western Pacific. Today our demonstrations speak louder than words, the great assemblage on our streets this afternoon and the greeting which has been extended the first passenger train betokens the interest of the people in the new enterprise which has been brought to our door. We have accordingly given a great promise to the officials of the company that we appreciate the opportunities which have been further heaped upon Oakland, the city of opportunity. We are gradually getting at the truth; Oakland is going to be placed on the map. This is the greatest day in the history of Oakland. Mr. Schlacks has said that our reception has touched the officials of the Western Pacific. That is what we wanted to do. We want to touch somebody. We want to touch the Western Pacific. We want a square deal. That is all we ask, Oakland has already shown that it will do its part. We are proud that we have increased railroad competition. Both the state and the companies will surely prosper the more by it. They will co-operate, and this community will be putting out the best advertising that it has ever issued. Gentlemen, do not judge of our intentions by your cold meal. We turned out 200,000 strong today to give you the glad hand, but we hope that we shall have a better opportunity of showing you what real, genuine hospitality is in our future co-operation. What the people of this city want is that, when someone at a far off city asks for a ticket to Oakland, may he get one marked 'Oakland’, and not San Francisco."
Justice Henry A. Melvin of the Supreme Court was introduced. He said in part;
"We can not mention the name of Oakland without mentioning the name of California. The destiny of each city is bound up in the destiny of the state. The progression of one means the progression of the other. This progression means the progression of this country, the biggest factor in the advancement of the civilized world. We know what the advent of the Western Pacific means to Oakland, and can therefore see at once what it means to the state, this country and the rest of the world. Let us welcome the new line to the garden spot of the country—for Oakland is the place where God stood when he made the rest of the world."
A. A. Denison, secretary of the Oakland Chamber of Commerce, also spoke. He said in part:
“The best thing about Oakland is that she has people to do all kinds of work. The highest tribute should be paid to those who have had charge of this celebration. It has been conducted by the sort of men who will make Oakland the metropolis of the Pacific. Six cities that will soon have one have joined in today's festivities, realizing that one of the great events in the history of the community has taken place. More than a quarter of a million of people have opened their arms to the Western Pacific."
District Freight and Passenger Agent W. B. Townsend, Kenneth Kerr, J. E. Baker, T. J. Wyche and Colonel John P. Irish delivered brief and appropriate addresses relative to the demonstration and the meaning of the advent of the new road to the community.
Kenneth Kerr, representing the Salt Lake Tribune, offered a tribute to the efforts of Arthur W. Keddie, the Plumas county pioneer, who is affectionately called the father of the road. Keddie made his first trip through Feather River Canyon in 1867. Noting the wonderful possibilities of the territory he subsequently made a preliminary survey and the road today is built to a large extent on the result of his figuring.
After the dinner at the Country club the Western Pacific officials crossed the bay to San Francisco.
As for the future of passenger train travel on the Western Pacific, E. L. Lomax had this to say:
No attempt at high speed will be made on the Western Pacific as our temporary schedule will show. We will make the run between San Francisco and Salt Lake in about 36½ hours. This schedule will obtain for about 30 to 60 days until we get everything in running order when the schedule will be made faster. The Western Pacific has the advantage of very low grades and the track is in first class shape. All the passenger cars are of steel lighted by electricity and generally equipped with every convenience for the traveling public. As soon as we get acquainted with the road ourselves and are in a position to add more trains with limited schedules they will be the finest and fastest in the west. On one train leaving Salt Lake daily at 11:30 p. m. there will be one standard sleeper for the exclusive accommodation of people in Salt Lake. Reservations may be made at the local ticket office in the Judge building and I am convinced that the people here will find this arrangement a great convenience.”