The First Transcontinental Railroad: Central Pacific, Union Pacific

By John Debo Galloway | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 7
Constructing the Central Pacific Railroad

THE CONSTRUCTION of the Central Pacific Railroad through uninhabited regions involved tremendous problems absent in building roads in more settled parts of the country. However, in the major items, the procedure was much the same.

Financing construction, while a part of general management of a railroad, played an important role in determining the speed at which the work went forward. Once the location surveys had been made, rights of way had to be obtained, and after that final construction surveys were needed. These surveys continued throughout the construction period and required surveying parties at frequent intervals along the line. The roadbed in cuts and on fills passed over uneven ground and through all kinds of earth materials where ditches had to be dug and provisions made for the discharge of storm water. Tunnels in solid rock could be left as excavated, but many other tunnels had to be lined with timber, brick, stone, or concrete. Bridges had to be designed and erected ahead of track laying. Culverts of stone or concrete were built under fills. Snow sheds, in the case of the

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