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  1. #1
    Moderator Unboxxed's Avatar
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    The Final Spike in the Transcontinental Railroad (USA)

    [Note: I was doing some research to be able to debunk some fake history possibly useful to leftists when I ran into a much more interesting (to me) story and I wrote it up to share it with you below. Perhaps you may find it interesting as well.]

    May 10, 1869 is the date that history tells us was the completion of the United States' Transcontinental Railroad with the Golden Spike at Promontory Summit, Utah, joining the track laid from the west by Central Pacific Railroad with the track laid from the east by Union Pacific Railroad. It was a competition set in place between the companies and, since each company was paid by the government by the mile, in free land and thousands of dollars, the companies ended up passing each other, laying about 20 miles of parallel tracks, until the President said he would withhold federal payment until the two companies agreed on a meeting point. They chose Promontory Summit, Utah, where apparently UPRR had to cede ownership of about 43 miles of track to CPRR.

    We all know about the Golden Spike and the ceremony from the history books. What is lesser known is that when that Spike was driven on May 10, 1969, it did not complete a continuous transcontinental railroad. CPRR had been hired to build track eastward from Sacramento, California while UPRR was hired to build westward from Omaha, Nebraska. Sacramento is not at the west coast. Also, there was no track coming from the east into Omaha. There was, however, track arriving from the east into nearby Council Bluffs, Iowa, leaving a 4-mile gap between Omaha and Council Bluffs where there was no track between them because there was a big thing in the way called the Missouri River and no railroad bridges had yet been built across this river to connect to the existing railway network on the east half of the US. To get between Council Bluffs and Omaha, passengers and their luggage had to get off the train, take a stage, then a ferry, then get back on a train.

    So, all that the date of May 10, 1869 did technically signify was the completion of a continuous section between Sacramento and Omaha. For all of the competitive hoopla, no doubt they would declare the coast-to-coast task finished and with photo opportunities all around. Well, they did close the huge gap across the west so who am I to deny them the glory of this major accomplishment?

    To get the track to the actual west coast, CPRR had to subsequently purchase the struggling Western Pacific Railroad and thus completed the roughly 80 miles to the west coast six months later, in November 1869, taking the tracks to Oakland, California where passengers and luggage still needed to take a ferry into the city. Fair enough to call this the coastal terminus.

    The UPRR did try to run an ice bridge across the Missouri River but it failed due to shifting ice and fluctuating water levels. They finally did succeed with the first Union Pacific Missouri River Bridge, completed on March 25, 1873 (by one report) or on March 22, 1872 (by another report).

    But, it was too late to be the first for actual continuity. A different railroad path had already been built across the Missouri River by the Kansas Pacific Line to connect to the Denver Pacific Railway who itself had already connected to UPRR via Cheyenne, Wyoming. The KPL track met the DPR track at a point east of Denver in August 1870 at what is now Strasburg, Colorado, a few years prior to that first UPRR Missouri bridge of 1872 or 1873.

    The true completion of a continuous Transcontinental Railroad happened at Strasburg, Colorado in August 1870 when the final spike was driven there near a crossing at Comanche Creek.


    P.S. Some folks think the Golden Spike was driven at Promontory Point which is 30 miles away from Promontory Summit, the actual location. Between 1902-1904, the Lucin Cut-off was built to shorten the route in Utah, making this new path actually cross over the Great Salt Lake and actually passing through Promontory Point on the east side of the Lake. This is maybe where any confusion comes from. If one looks at a railroad map made after 1904 they may only see Promontory Point. It didn't help that, in 1942, the no-longer-used metal rails at Promontory Summit were salvaged for the war effort, obliterating its history to an extent. Here is a little map:

    Sesquicentennial of First U.S. Transcontinental Railroad (10 May 2019) - Featured Map - Great Circle Mapper
    The two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why. - Mark Twain

    The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.
    - Henry David Thoreau

    There are 10 types of people in the world - those who understand binary, and those who don't.

    Suitable for bookmarking: www.fakehatecrimes.org and www.breitbart.com/tag/hate-crime-hoax

  2. #2
    Senior Member mgtower's Avatar
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    Re: The Final Spike in the Transcontinental Railroad (USA)

    Golden spike? I'm going to Utah with a crowbar!
    Last edited by mgtower; July 10, 2019 at 11:51 AM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Joetech's Avatar
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    Re: The Final Spike in the Transcontinental Railroad (USA)

    I've been there. It's a very interesting tourist site with some of the most beautiful scenery in the country.
    "Don't follow in my footsteps. I stepped in something."

  4. #4
    Senior Member mgtower's Avatar
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    Re: The Final Spike in the Transcontinental Railroad (USA)

    Forget the gold spike, Joe was there!

  5. #5
    Senior Member Joetech's Avatar
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    Re: The Final Spike in the Transcontinental Railroad (USA)

    Yeah. I have the spike in a drawer somewhere...
    "Don't follow in my footsteps. I stepped in something."

  6. #6
    Senior Member mgtower's Avatar
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    Re: The Final Spike in the Transcontinental Railroad (USA)

    The only spike I have went in the toilet this morning!


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