In 1849 U. S. Army Lieutenant George H. Derby performed topographical survey of the Sacramento Valley. The “Topographical Memoir Accompanying Maps of the Sacramento Valley, &c.” was found in Quarterly of the California Historical Society Vol. XI No. 2 publication dated June 1932. I found the small quarterly report in a book store in San Francisco and was attracted to it because of the inset map of the Sacramento Valley. The map is a reproduction of Lieutenant Derby’s topographical map he made for his report.
The biggest area for alternate alignments occurs in the Orangevale area where there is very little physical evidence, other that Orangevale Community Park, to discern the path of the line.
While Congress may have created a unique San Joaquin drought or dust bowl, they were also the governmental institution that used tax payer money to turn the San Joaquin valley into America’s salad bowl.