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The Last Cut, Golden Spike National Historic Site, Utah, USA

The Golden Spike National Historic Site commemorates the completion of the first U.S. transcontinental railroad with the driving of a last spike of gold in a special ceremony on May 10, 1869.

In the early 1860s, the United States Congress approved a project to construct the first coast-to-coast railroad. Part of the Pacific Railroad Act of 1862 specified a maximum grade, or slope, of 2% for the rail line. Prior to the laying of any metal rail, the rail bed itself had to be cut through hills and lifted with fill material when necessary in order to maintain a gentle slope. The work of grading could go on independently of the laying of the rail and Congress permitted crews of the two competing rail companies to construct grades as much as 300 miles in advance of the current ends of the track. When the two companies passed each other by as much as 200 miles without meeting, Congress stepped in and dictated where the meeting of the two lines would occur: Promontory, Utah.

Here, at "The Last Cut", crews of the Union Pacific coming from the east made their last grade through the local rock. At other points along the line, the debris would have been used as fill. Here, close to completion of the line, the workers piled the debris in stable mounds, sorting the larger rocks for the bottom and smaller rocks for the top. The mounds are in surprisingly good shape today, 142 years later.

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Copyright: John Roberts
Type: Spherical
Resolution: 17184x8592
Taken: 16/04/2011
Uploaded: 18/04/2011
Updated: 09/03/2015


Tags: desert; outdoors; history; transcontinental railroad; railroad
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More About Utah

Utah is a state located in the westcentral region of the United States of America.  Utah is the 13th largest state by area, ranks 34th by population and 10th by population density of the 50 United States.  Utah was the 45th state to be admitted into the Union, on January 4, 1896. Utah is landlocked, being bordered by the states of Idaho to the north, Wyoming to the northeast, Nevada on the west, Colorado on the east and Arizona to the south.  Utah is very mountainous and is a popular outing destination of the outdoorsman.  The state population is about 2.82M with 95% being Caucasian, 2.4% Asian, 1.7% Native American and 1.3% Black. The state capital and largest city is Salt Lake City.Source: wikipedia