Clarification: That was James Jay Gould, son-and-heir of the infamous Jay Gould. Jay Gould had been working on a true transcontinental involving the Union Pacific, Missouri Pacific, Wabash... and he was on the board of directors of the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western. Nickel Plate would have closed the gap, but Vanderbilt out-bid him to end that threat. Thereafter, Jay concentrated on developing Texas.
C.P.Huntington, and his sons-and-heirs made a vague stab at a transcontinental: a founder of the Central Pacific and Southern Pacific (which acquired and expanded the Texas & New Orleans), he then "finished" the Chesapeake & Ohio... and promptly got distracted developing Newport News, VA. The fathers of Cincinnati grew impatient waiting for the gap to be closed and built the Cincinnati, New Orleans & Texas Pacific (hint, hint). The Huntingtons failed (or refused--they would be invading J.P.Morgan territory, and one simply does not piss off the Morgan Bank !) to see the opportunity, and the CNO&TP got leased to the Southern Railway, instead.
WHAT IF both of these schemes had succeeded? WP/D&RGW/MP/WAB/WM and SP/CNO&TP/C&O would form true transcons. Morgan's Southern RR. would pick up the Santa Fe, which would tie New York and Boston banks much closer. New Haven would not be allowed to slip into bankruptcy, much less endure Patrick McGinnin. Ditto Boston & Maine. The Pennsylvania RR (and it's vassal, the Norfolk & Western) and the Hill Lines (CB&Q, NP, GN and SP&S) won't quite merge for a long time, preferring a "strategic alliance" until the until the mid-'50's traffic slump makes merger necessary. E,H,Harriman would forge a fourth transcend out of the UP, but the New York Central/C&NW would make an informal alliance for anything east of that. Rock Island thrusts it's pacific extension northward (instead of the Milwaukee Road... this was seriously contemplated) but winds up in a surprisingly successful shotgun marriage to the Baltimore and Ohio. Gould Lines eventually take the Nickel Plate and the Lackawanna.
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