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Breaching Mountains, Crossing Deserts: Building the First Transcontinental Railroad
June 14, 2012
Kyle Wyatt, Curator of History and Technology, California State Railroad Museum
The Transcontinental Railroad was built by hand during the 1860s with minimal mechanization. Using double jack hand drilling for blasting and picks and shovels to load horse carts for cuts and fills, the mammoth task that was expected to take fifteen years was finished in eight. On May 10, 1869, the eyes of the nation turned towards Promontory Summit in Utah as telegraphers announced the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad.
Kyle Wyatt, Curator of History and Technology at the California State Railroad Museum (CSRM), is a prolific author and speaker on the history of U.S. railroads. Prior to joining CSRM, he was Curator of History at the Nevada State Railroad Museum. Mr. Wyatt holds a B.A. and M.A. in history from the University of the Pacific.