The California Gold Rush revived the stagecoach industry, which was waning in New England by the end of the 1840s due to a regularly scheduled, sophisticated system of steamboat transport and the spread of east coast railroads. California only had two navigable rivers, and its first railroad wasn’t completed until 1856. The stagecoach was the obvious answer for transportation and communication between burgeoning cities and the far-flung mining camps from the start of the gold-fevered “rush” into gold-producing districts. James Birch established the first stagecoach lines in California in 1849, from his headquarters at the Sacramento riverfront. In late 1853 Birch convinced 80% of the independent operators to consolidate as the California Stage Company, which became the largest, most successful staging concern in the world during the mid-19th century and made Sacramento the staging capital of the nation. By December 1860 the California Stage Company had 8 stage lines departing daily from Sacramento that spanned 1,100 miles leading north and east. Agents for the company purchased 545 tons of barley and 467 tons of hay in the year 1859-1860 alone to supply their lines.