Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Joining of the rails

From: "Theodore Kiefer"

Since the rails met coming from opposite directions, I presume a standard length rail might not fit the gap between. How did they accomplish this last joining of the rails? I have never read anything concerning this situation. I am guessing two rails were fabricated just for this situation. Were they able to cut and drill holes for the joint bolts in the field? ...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

From: "Kyle Wyatt"

Yes, they were regularly able to cut rails shorter (with a chisel and starting a controlled break), and to field-drill holes for fishplates. It was a normal pert of construction – likely encountered every time they needed to install a siding, for instance.


10/29/2015 2:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


The bigger problem was deciding where the meet would be, both railroads graded far past the eventual meeting point at Promontory ...

But for the rails, the crews would have used either cold chisels or hack saws to cut then a hand powered rail drill. It would be a common skills set. It would be less than an hours work.

At Promontory, the meeting point was decided some days before, then the ceremony delayed due to rain and flooding and a wage strike that collectively delayed the UP officials, giving the track crews lots of time to get things ready.


10/29/2015 2:48 PM  

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