Bly was quite proud that her trip from West to East, was 500 miles longer, and beat their time by 24 hours, though I don't think she took into account improvements in the train engines over the decade since the Palmer-Jarrett event.
The transcontinental Lightning Express captured the attention of the nation while transporting a theatrical troop from New York to San Francisco in record-breaking time for opening night, in under 84 hours.
At every scheduled stop, supplies, water, and coal were ready for quick loading, as were staff, including conductors, brakemen, firemen and engineers. Likewise, the engine was switched out five times to avoid mechanical issues.
The national excitement generated by the arrival of the Lightning Express in Oakland was incredible and not to be again matched until Charles Lindbergh landed the Spirit of St. Louis in Paris fifty years later.
Lucious Beebe--the renowned author, gourmand, photographer, railroad historian, syndicated columnist, (owner of a Pullman Palace car if I recall correctly from a post I did a long time ago) and all-round social raconteur--vividly described the journey in his railroad classic, The Age of Steam "In 1876, . . . seven full days and nights with changes of cars at Chicago and Omaha, were conventional time between New York and the Pacific Coast.
The project instantly caught the fancy of the public and fantastic newspaper coverage was accorded the train's departure . . . over the rails of the Pennsylvania [and then] the Chicago & North Western--Union Pacific-Central Pacific route to California. The actors rode in ornate splendor aboard the Pullman Palace Hotel Car, Marlborough, while a commissary car carried appropriate food and drink and the scenery rode in a conventional baggage car.
All across the continent, the train's passing was the occasion for the wildest excitement and at Reno, nearing the end of its run, its approach was greeted with an exclamatory display of rockets and other artifices de feu. The run over the Central Pacific from Ogden to Oakland, a relay of 875 miles, including the High Sierra crossing, was accomplished by a single engine and a single engineer, Hank Small, at the driver's side. No. 149, a sleek 4-4-0, achieved immortality overnight.
The sooty actors, weary but triumphant, were met at San Francisco by Warren Leland, the manager of the eye-popping Palace Hotel and taken to a breakfast of grilled, salmon, cucumber salad, filet of Beef Bearnaise, cutlets of Minden lamb, escalloped veal, partridges sautéed in champagne, grilled Mallard duck, asparagus, strawberries and three kinds of eggs, shirred, with mushrooms, and rum omelets. . ." On the evening of June 4th, Jarret & Palmer's Henry V opened on schedule in San Francisco to a sold-out house.https://www.hhhistory.com/2016/10/all-aboard-jarrett-palmer-express.html