Tuesday, September 20, 2011
While the locomotives were perhaps the stars of the site, there are many remarkable sites in the park area. Some of the most amazing are the grades that were created to carry the roadbed. This is the site of the Big Fill by the Central Pacific (the flat horizon in the center of the picture) which filled over 500' of ravine with up to 70' deep of fill. This was all done by 500 men using horses and was completed in 2 months.
This is the "Last Cut" made through solid rock and is about 15' deep. The rocks removed from this were removed from the cut (by hand) and then stacked in large piles next to the cut as can be seen above. The rocks were stacked largest rocks on the bottom of the pile with smaller ones on top to prevent them from dropping back in the dig. Seems that it worked pretty well -- they are still there today!