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Home 2013, The Third Season Late Summer 2013 Brigham City UT - Golden Spike
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This was supposed to be a regular 3 day stop with no sightseeing, but as we were driving south along the highway, we saw the signs for the Golden Spike National Historic Site and did some research. It turned out to be a very interesting park. As usual, the rangers were very knowledgeable about the significance of the location and the joining of the two rail lines to make a single continuous rail line from coast to coast. There are restored locomotives that have been made to resemble the actual engines that attended the ceremony. The ceremony is reenacted each day during the summer (except during government shutdowns, when not even the web sites are open).

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What is interesting is the challenges that each railroad overcame to reach the summit. In fact, before the final meeting place was chosen by the government, the two teams had actually passed each other and working on parallel tracks. Eventually Promontory Summit was chosen by the politicians as the point where the two rail lines would be joined. There was one gap in the terrain that one railroad company overcame with a wooden bridge and the other by backfilling the gap with earth works.

The wooden bridge route was eventually replaced by the earth works. The black arrows show the start and end points of the wooden bridge. The red arrows indicate the area that was filled with earth to bridge the same gap.

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As we were driving from Brigham City to the historic site, we came across a factory that builds rockets, fuel boosters, etc. In the middle of nowhere, with nothing around it, a high security site with wide wide roads that lead in the hills, tanks of something and buildings surrounded by earth works. I guess this was another case of ‘if it goes up in smoke, no one will notice’.

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