Extreme Trains: The Construction of the Transcontinental Railroad (S1, E8) | Full Episode | History

TODAY I’M RIDING ON AMERICA’S MOST FAMOUS FREIGHTLINE AND THAT MEANS THE MOST POWERFUL LOCOMOTIVES, WOW, RIDING ALONG THE WORLD’S BUSIEST FREIGHT CORRIDOR, UNREAL, THROUGH THE MOST EXTREME CONDITIONS WE LIKE FIRE AND I’M GONNA SEE EVERY SQUARE INCH OF HOW IT ALL WORKS MY NAME IS MATT BOWN EVER SINCE I WAS A KID I’VE BEEN OBSESSED WITH TRAINS MY DAY JOB, I WORK ON A RAILROAD IN MAINE BUT THIS IS MY DREAM: TO RIDE THE BIGGEST, FASTEST, MOST AWESOME TRAINS IN HISTORY THIS SET OF STEEL RAILS, 4 FEET, 8 AND A 1/2 INCHES WIDE IS ONE OF AMERICA’S MOST IMPORTANT ARTERIES RAILROADS ARE BIG BUSINESS AMERICA’S TRAINS CARRY 1.8 BILLION TONS OF FREIGHT ALONG 140,000 MILES OF TRACK EVERY YEAR, AND HAULING FREIGHT IN THE U.S BRINGS IN OVER $54 BILLION A YEAR TO THE RAILROADS HERE WE’VE GOT DOUBLE STACKED CONTAINER CARS THESE CARS CAN GO ON A TRUCK, THEY CAN GO ON A TRAIN, THEY CAN GO ON A BOAT THEY’RE GONNA BE LOADED WITH ANYTHING YOU CAN IMAGINE, ANYTHING IN YOUR HOUSE GOES IN THESE CONTAINERS FROM SPORTING GOOD TO HOUSEHOLD APPLIANCES, SNEAKERS, FURNITURE, ELECTRONICS, ADULT DIAPERS, LAXITIVES YOU NAME IT IT’S IN THIS CAR BUT FREIGHT TRAINS DON’T JUST CARRY CONSUMER GOODS; THEY CARRY RAW MATERIALS AS WELL ON THIS TRAIN OVER HERE WE HAVE A TANK CAR THIS TANK CAR IS DESIGNED TO CARRY HAZARDOUS MATERIALS, MATERIALS THAT ARE FLAMMABLE SO IN THIS CAR YOU COULD HAVE ETHANOL, GASOLINE, PROPANE, OIL, DIESEL FUEL TANK CARS EVEN CARRY TEQUILA ON THE RAILROAD IF YOU’RE THE ENGINEER ON THIS TRAIN YOU WANNA BE EXTRA CAREFUL YOU DON’T WANNA HAVE A DERAILMENT AND BOOM, WE’RE TALKING EVACUATIONS I’M ABOUT TO RIDE ALONG THE BUSIEST FREIGHTLINE IN THE WORLD, THE UNION PACIFIC TRANSCONTINENTAL ROUTE IT’S 1700 MILES FROM OMAHA, NEBRASKA, TO SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA FROM THE FLATLANDS OF THE MIDWEST OVER THE GREAT SALT LAKE INTO THE PEAKS OF THE SIERRA NEVADAS, THIS TRAIN TRAVELS THIS ROUTE IN 37 HOURS AND FOR THE WORKERS OF THE UNION PACIFIC IT’S A RACE AGAINST THE CLOCK ALL RIGHT, I’VE GOT MY SAFETY GEAR ON LET’S GO TO WORK EVERY FREIGHT TRAIN HAS 2 SECTIONS: THE CARS AND THE LOCOMOTIVE THAT PULLS THEM AND PULLING CARS ON THE TRANSCONTINENTAL IS ONE OF THE MOST POWERFUL LOCOMOTIVES IN THE WORLD THIS LOCOMOTIVE RIGHT HERE, THE C45AC IS THE WORKHORSE OF THE TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILROAD AND PACKS A WALLOP OF 4400 HP WE’RE GONNA GO TALK TO BRAD DOWN HERE HE’S GONNA SHOW US AROUND IT AND TELL US WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT WOW YEAH, WOW THIS DIESEL, ELECTRIC LOCOMOTIVE HAS 12 CYLINDERS, JUST LIKE THE ONES YOU’D FIND IN YOUR CAR, BUT HERE EACH CYLINDER IS AS POWERFUL AS A CHEVY SILVERADO >>360 HP FOR EACH ASSEMBLY WOW WE’RE TALKING SOME HORSEPOWER HERE THE CYLINDERS TURN AN ALTERNATOR AND THIS ALTERNATOR GENERATES 2,000 AMPS OF ELECTRICITY WHICH IN TURN POWER THE WHEELS >>WE GOT A TURBO THAT SPINS TO MAKE THIS MORE EFFICIENT SO WE DON’T GET A LOT OF EMISSIONS >>IT’S ALL ABOUT EFFICIENCY AND EMISSIONS FOR THE ENVIRONMENT. >>EXACTLY TRAINS ARE VERY ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY, FOR SURE YES THEY ARE WHEN IT COMES TO CARRYING HUGE LOADS OF FREIGHT WHAT REALLY SEPARATES THIS TRAIN FROM THE REST OF THE PACK IS FUEL EFFICIENCY IF YOUR CAR WAS AS FUEL EFFICIENT AS THIS LOCOMOTIVE YOU’D BE ABLE TO GET FROM MIAMI TO SEATTLE ON ONE TANK OF GAS THAT’S ONE TANK OF GAS THE REASON THIS LOCOMOTIVE IS SO EFFICIENT IS DUE TO THE DESIGN OF ITS WHEELS AND THE RAILS THEY RIDE ALONG BOTH THE WHEEL AND THE RAIL ARE TAPERED SO THE CONTACT AREA BETWEEN THE TWO IS NO MORE THAN THE SURFACE AREA OF A DIME THE LESS SURFACE AREA THAT TOUCHES THE RAIL THE MORE EFFICIENT THE TRAIN IS

BECAUSE THERE’S LESS RESISTANCE >>WHAT WE GOT HERE IS WE GOT 12 WHEELS TOUCHING THE RAIL >>OKAY, NOW WAIT A SECOND I THINK I GOT A DIME HERE LET’S CHECK THIS OUT HERE’S A DIME LOOK HOW LITTLE THAT IS LOOK HOW HUGE THESE WHEELS ARE I’M LOOKING AT THAT AND THIS MONSTER OF A WHEEL IT’S THE SIZE OF A DIME UNDERNEATH THERE WHERE IT’S CONTACTING THE RAILS FREIGHT TRAINS ON THE TRANSCONTINENTAL MUST PULL UP TO 150 FREIGHT CARS AT A TIME THAT’S OVER 14,000 TONS NOT EVEN THE C45 CAN PULL LOADS THAT BIG, SO UNION PACIFIC LINKS UP 3 LOCOMOTIVES AT THE FRONT OF THE TRAIN TOGETHER WITH OVER 13,000 HP COMBINED THESE 3 ARE POWERFUL ENOUGH TO DO THE JOB NOW IT’S TIME TO PUT OUR TRANSCONTINENTAL TRAIN TOGETHER I’M HERE IN COUNCIL BLUFFS, IOWA, JUST ACROSS THE MISSOURI RIVER FROM OMAHA, NEBRASKA THIS AREA WAS THE STARTING POINT OF THE TRANSCONTINENTAL ROUTE WHEN IT OPENED IN 1869 WE’RE GETTING READY TO LEAVE FOR SACRAMENTO, BUT BEFORE WE CAN GO ANYWHERE THE CREW HERE AT COUNCIL BLUFFS HAS TO PUT OUR TRAIN TOGETHER METICULOUS PLANNING GOES INTO MAKING SURE THAT THE RIGHT CARS ARE HEADING TO THE RIGHT PLACES THINK OF A RAIL YARD LIKE A GIANT POSTAL SORTING OFFICE, BUT INSTEAD OF SORTING 2 OUNCE LETTERS THESE GUYS HAVE TO WORK WITH 130 TON STEEL CARS SO HOW DO YOU SORT OUT ALL THIS ROLLING STOCK? WITH DIESEL ELECTRIC POWER OF COURSE THAT’S RIGHT, WE’RE GONNA TAKE A LOCOMOTIVE AND COLLECT ALL THE CARS GOING TO SACRAMENTO AND THEN WE’RE GONNA PUT THEM TOGETHER ON A SINGLE TRACK THIS IS THE LOCOMOTIVE THAT WE’RE GONNA BE SWITCHING OUT THE TRAIN WITH LET’S GO UPSTAIRS AND TAKE A LOOK THE COOLEST PART OF HOW THEY SORT OUT THE CARS IS HOW THEY CONTROL THE LOCOMOTIVE THIS LITTLE GREEN UNIT IS CALLED THE REMOTE CONTROL LOCOMOTIVE BOX OR RCL FOR SHORT THESE ARE ESSENTIALLY REMOTE CONTROLS JUST LIKE YOU’D USE FOR A REMOTE CONTROL AIRPLANE OR CAR, EXCEPT WE’RE WORKING WITH 400 TONS OF THIS LOCOMOTIVE HERE FIRST, THE CREW HAS TO LINK UP THE RCL BOX TO THE LOCOMOTIVE RECEIVER SO THEY’RE ON THE SAME FREQUENCY, AND JUST LIKE THAT WE’RE READY TO GO THESE ENGINES ARE PROBABLY A 1/2 MILE AWAY FROM US RIGHT NOW, THE WAY I’M LOOKING AT IT, AND YOU’RE CONTROLLING IT FROM THIS >>RIGHT CAN YOU BLOW THE WHISTLE FROM THAT THING? >>YES COULD YOU DO IT RIGHT NOW? SURE I COULD PLAY WITH THIS THING ALL DAY, BUT WE DON’T HAVE TIME OUR TRAIN IS DUE TO LEAVE IN A HALF AN HOUR WE’D BETTER GET GOING ALL RIGHT, BLAKE, IT LOOKS LIKE WE’RE ABOUT READY TO MOVE THIS PUPPY >>HERE WE GO THIS PROCESS OF GETTING THE RIGHT CARS ON THE RIGHT TRACK IS CALLED SWITCHING FIRST, THE REMOTE CONTROL LOCOMOTIVE COLLECTS A LINE OF CARS, EACH BOUND FOR A DIFFERENT DESTINATION BANG, THERE’S THE HOOK RIGHT THERE THEN THE LOCOMOTIVE PUSHES THE LINE OF CARS TOWARDS A JUNCTION IN THE TRACK CALLED THE SWITCH THERE A CREW MEMBER DISCONNECTS THE CAR AT THE FRONT FROM THE REST OF THE LINE THE CAR ROLLS FREE DOWN THE TRACK AND THE SWITCHMAN THROWS A SWITCH THAT DIRECTS THE CAR TO THE RIGHT DESTINATION IT’S AMAZING TO SEE THESE MASSIVE, STEEL CARS GET THROWN AROUND LIKE BOWLING BALLS THIS PROCESS CONTINUES UNTIL ALL THE CARS GOING WITH US TO SACRAMENTO ARE LINED UP TOGETHER ON THE SAME TRACK NOW THESE GUYS ARE MAKING IT LOOK VERY, VERY EASY, BUT I CAN’T STRESS HOW DANGEROUS THIS JOB IS THIS EQUIPMENT HERE IS VERY UNFORGIVING WE’RE TALKING STEEL-ON-STEEL, CARS THAT WEIGH 130 TONS ONE WRONG STEP, ONE WRONG MOVE FROM THESE GUYS, THEY COULD BE SLICED IN HALF IN A HEARTBEAT AFTER 30 MINUTES OF INTENSE STEEL-ON-STEEL ACTION OUR TRAIN IS ALL SET AND READY TO TACKLE THE MOST FAMOUS TRAIN LINE IN THE WORLD, THE TRANSCONTINENTA ROUTE FROM OMAHA TO SACRAMENTO RIGHT NOW I’M IN COUNCIL BLUFFS,

IOWA, GETTING READY TO MAKE THE 1700 MILE JOURNEY ALONG UNION PACIFIC’S TRANSCONTINENTAL ROUTE TO SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA WE’VE JUST PUT OUR TRAIN TOGETHER AND AS SOON AS THE CREW FINISHES THE FINAL CHECKS OUR TRAIN IS READY TO DEPART THIS IS PROBABLY THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF THE TRIP RIGHT HERE. >>RIGHT ALL RIGHT, WE’RE PRETTY MUCH READY TO GO SACRAMENTO HERE I COME I WOULD SAY THIS IS THE CADILLAC OF FREIGHT LOCOMOTIVES RIGHT HERE, MAN THIS IS A NICE RIDE, A NICE RIDE LOTS OF LEG ROOM MANNING THE TRAIN’S CONTROLS ARE TWO HIGHLY TRAINED PEOPLE, THE CONDUCTOR AND THE ENGINEER YOU GOT PHIL HERE, HE’S THE CONDUCTOR, SO BASICALLY HE’S LIKE THE CAPTAIN OF THE SHIP HE’S IN CHARGE OF EVERYTHING NOTICE HE’S TAKING CARE OF ALL THE DIRTY WORK RIGHT NOW LOOK AT DALE OVER HERE HE’S DRIVING IT HE’S THE ENGINEER WE’RE TRYING NOT TO CRASH INTO EACH OTHER OUT HERE SO PHIL AND DALE THEY’RE GONNA COMMUNICATE EACH SIGNAL THAT THEY SEE TO EACH OTHER TO MAKE SURE EVERYBODY’S AWAKE CLEAR CLEAR. >> CLEAR WE’RE ACTUALLY GOING 1, 2, 3 ALL THE WAY UP BETWEEN THEM, THE CONDUCTOR AND THE ENGINEER HAVE A HUGE RESPONSIBILITY THEY HAVE TO MAKE SURE THAT THIS 14,000 TON TRAIN GETS TO WHERE IT’S GOING ON TIME AND IN ONE PIECE SO ALONG WITH ALL THESE CONTROLS AND COMPUTER SCREENS AND EVERYTHING ELSE YOU’VE GOT IN FRONT OF YOU HERE, YOU’RE WATCHING THE TRACKS AHEAD OF YOU, YOU’RE LOOKING FOR SIGNALS, YOU’RE LOOKING FOR ANYTHING THAT COULD OBSTRUCT THE TRACKS, OTHER TRAINS COMING, PEOPLE ALONG THE WAY I MEAN, YOU’RE DOING A LOT YOU’RE ON CALL 24 HOURS A DAY, 7 DAYS A WEEK >>THAT’S CORRECT CHRISTMAS TIME YOUR ON CALL THERE ARE NO WEEKENDS THERE ARE NO HOLIDAYS GOODBYE IOWA HELLO NEBRASKA WE’RE NOW APPROACHING WHAT’S CALLED THE TRIPLE TRACK IN 1869, THE TRANSCONTINENTAL WAS MADE UP OF ONE SET OF STEEL RAILS BY 1908, INCREASED TRAFFIC MEANT THIS SECTION NEEDED 2 TRACKS, AND IT STAYED THAT WAY FOR OVER 90 YEARS UNTIL THE GROWING DEMANDS OF FREIGHT TRAFFIC MADE A 3RD SET OF RAILS NECESSARY NOW OVER A THOUSAND TRAINS A WEEK RUN ALONG THIS 108-MILE STRETCH OF TRACK BETWEEN GIBBON AND NORTH PLATTE, NEBRASKA WE’RE NOW ON THE BUSIEST FREIGHT MAIN LINE IN THE WORLD IF YOU LOOK OUT THE WINDOW HERE YOU CAN SEE THREE TRACKS THREE MAIN LINES WITH SO MANY TRAINS ON THIS STRETCH OF TRACK ROAD CROSSINGS REALLY GET BACKED UP AND THAT MEANS IMPATIENT MOTORISTS >>JUST A LOT OF TRAINS THAT COME THROUGH HERE AND THEY GET FRUSTRATED WAITING FOR THESE, BECAUSE THEY’RE LONG, YOU KNOW, THEY’RE OVER A MILE LONG >>BUT SOME PEOPLE DON’T WAIT IN THE U.S. A TRAIN HITS A CAR AT A RAILROAD CROSSING EVERY FIVE HOURS IF THERE’S A TRAIN COMING AND AT THE CROSSING THE LIGHTS ARE ON AND YOU HEAR THE WHISTLE, STOP. LET THE TRAIN GO BY LIFE IS TOO SHORT THE PROBLEM FOR THE ENGINEER IS STOPPING THE TRAIN IN TIME ON A CLEAR DAY ON A STRAIGHT STRETCH OF TRACK IT SHOULD BE POSSIBLE TO SEE AN OBJECT THE SIZE OF A LINCOLN CONTINENTAL FIVE MILES AWAY IN REALITY, ATMOSPHERIC CONDITIONS MEAN VISIBILITY’S RARELY MORE THAN 2 MILES AND IT TAKES A 14,000 TON FREIGHT TRAIN GOING 60 MILES PER HOUR, 2 MILES TO COME TO A DEAD STOP IF THE OBJECT IS ANY CLOSER THAN TWO MILES IMPACT IS INEVITABLE IT’S NOT A MATTER OF WHEN YOU’RE GONNA STOP IT’S HOW FAST YOU’RE GONNA BE GOING IF YOU HIT THE OBJECT ON THE TRACK CORRECT. YEAH, IT’S, IT’S JUST GOT TO BE A JUDGMENT CALL WHAT YOU FEEL IS THE BEST WAY TO GO IF YOU GET IN THE WAY OF A TRAIN AND YOU GET HIT IT’S OVER I MEAN ESPECIALLY AT 50 OR 60 MILES AN HOUR IT WOULD BE LIKE A PICKUP TRUCK SMASHING INTO A SODA CAN YEAH PRETTY MUCH, RIGHT? I MEAN IF YOU’VE EVER SEEN A TRAIN WRECK YOU’D NEVER, YOU’D NEVER DO IT WHEN A TRAIN HITS A CAR IT’S BAD NEWS FOR THE CAR BUT THE TRAIN ENGINEER’S WORST NIGHTMARE IS A TANKER LADEN WITH EXPLOSIVE FUEL

I, I DON’T EVEN KNOW HOW MANY TIMES YOU GET A PROPANE TRUCK PULLING OUT IN FRONT OF YOU, IT’S A NEAR MISS AND YOU DON’T REALLY EVEN WANT TO THINK ABOUT WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF YOU SMASHED INTO A, A PROPANE TRUCK WITH A TRAIN, AND IT DOES UNFORTUNATELY HAPPEN ONCE IN A WHILE IT HAPPENS AND THE BIGGEST DANGER OF ALL IS A COLLISION WITH A ANOTHER TRAIN NOT GOOD STUFF TO TALK ABOUT, REALLY I MEAN, YOU TRY NOT TO THINK ABOUT IT RIGHT. RIGHT THERE’S NOTHING LIKE THE SMELL OF BRAKE SHOES IN THE MORNING IT’S A FULL-TIME JOB KEEPING ALL THE TRAINS ON UNION PACIFIC’S LINES RUNNING SAFELY EVERY TRAIN HAS ITS OWN DISPATCHER WHO MAKES SURE THERE AREN’T ANY OTHER TRAINS ON THE SAME STRETCH OF LINE THIS TRAIN’S DISPATCHER IS AT THE HARRIMAN CENTER IN OMAHA, NEBRASKA THIS UNASSUMING BUILDING IS THE NERVE CENTER OF THE UNION PACIFIC RAILROAD THIS IS THE BUNKER, THE HARRIMAN DISPATCH CENTER ALL OF THE TRAINS ON UNION PACIFIC’S TRACKS ARE MONITORED INSIDE THIS BUILDING HIGH SECURITY THE REINFORCED CONCRETE WALLS CAN WITHSTAND THE MOST POWERFUL TORNADO I’M IN 120 SCREENS SHOW EVERY TRAIN, SWITCH AND SIGNAL ON UNION PACIFIC’S MAIN LINES IT’S THE SIZE OF 2 FOOTBALL FIELDS, EMPLOY’S 369 DISPATCHERS AND OPERATES 24 HOURS A DAY IT’S A RAIL-TRAFFIC CONTROL CENTER UP7166 WEST I’LL BE CROSSING YOU TO #2 TRACK, WEST, CARNEY, LET THE UPS TRAIN BY OVER EACH DISPATCHER OVERSEES 300 MILES OF TRACK, CONTROLLING SIGNALS AND MAINTAINING STRICT COMMUNICATIONS WITH EVERY CREW ON THEIR ROUTE IN FACT, RIGHT NOW ONE OF THESE DISPATCHERS IS CLEARING OUR TRAIN’S PATH OF ANY DANGERS AS WE MAKE OUR WAY TO THE BUSIEST RAIL YARD IN THE WORLD THE RAILROAD IS THE MOST EFFICIENT MODE OF TRANSPORT FOR FREIGHT IN THE U.S UNION PACIFIC HAULS 6 BILLION SERVINGS OF FRENCH FRIES, ENOUGH WHEAT TO MAKE 5 AND A 1/2 BILLION LOAVES OF BREAD AND 4 BILLION BOTTLES OF BEER THIS TRAIN BESIDE US IS HAULING AS MUCH CARGO AS 300 TRUCKS THAT’S 300 TRUCKS THAT AREN’T ON THE ROAD WITHOUT FREIGHT TRAINS AMERICAN COMMERCE WOULD GRIND TO A HALT BUT THE RAILROAD PLAYED AND EVEN MORE IMPORTANT ROLE IN SHAPING AMERICAN HISTORY IN THE 1860’S THE CIVIL WAR DIVIDED THE NATION AMERICA’S FUTURE HUNG IN THE BALANCE AND THERE WERE FEARS THAT CALIFORNIA WITH ITS VAST MINERAL WEALTH WOULD FOLLOW THE SOUTH AND TRY TO SPLIT FROM THE UNION LINCOLN SAW THE ONLY WAY TO HOLD ON TO CALIFORNIA WAS TO LINK IT TO THE REST OF THE COUNTRY THE ANSWER WAS A TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILROAD AT ITS PEAK 30,000 WORKERS STRUGGLED TO BUILD THE RAILROAD FINALLY, AFTER 6 YEARS IT WAS COMPLETE ON MAY 10TH, 1869, AT PROMONTORY SUMMIT, UTAH, A SYMBOLIC GOLDEN SPIKE WAS DRIVEN INTO THE RAIL TIE WHERE THE UNION PACIFIC AND THE CENTRAL PACIFIC RAILROADS MET I WANTED TO FIND OUT WHAT IT WAS REALLY LIKE FOR THE WORKERS THAT BUILT THE RAILROADS BACK THEN SO I’M GOING TO THE CALIFORNIA RAILROAD MUSEUM TO SEE HOW IT WAS DONE, AND MAYBE TO GIVE IT A TRY MYSELF LAYING DOWN THE RAILROAD LINE IN THE 19TH CENTURY WAS A PRECISE BUSINESS HERE’S HOW IT WORKED THE FIRST THING THEY DID WAS THEY GRATED THE GROUND TO MAKE SURE IT WAS LEVEL THEN THE TIE CREWS WOULD COME IN AND LAY THE TIES DOWN ABOUT 2 TO 3 FEET APART EACH TIE WEIGHS ABOUT A 100 POUNDS AFTER THEY LAID THE TIES DOWN, THEN THEY’D BRING THE RAIL IN AND LAY IT DOWN EACH RAIL IS 30 FEET LONG AND WEIGHS 600 POUNDS IT TOOK 4 MEN TO DO THIS JOB THE DISTANCE BETWEEN THE 2 RAILS IS CALLED THE GAUGE NOW WHAT THESE GUYS ARE DOING HERE IS THEY’RE MAKING SURE THE GAUGE IS CORRECT, BECAUSE IF THE GAUGE IS NOT CORRECT IT COULD CAUSE A DERAILMENT BACK WHEN THEY WERE BUILDING THE TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILROAD THIS WOULD HAVE BEEN MADE OUT OF WOOD THIS ONE HERE’S MADE OUT OF STEEL THE CORRECT DISTANCE BETWEEN THE 2 RAILS IS 4 FOOT, 8 AND A HALF INCHES

AFTER THE RAILS HAVE BEEN LAID DOWN NOW IT’S TIME TO DRIVE THE SPIKES IN CAN I HAVE A GO AT IT? YOU MAY. ALL RIGHT HOW MUCH DOES THIS WEIGH DO YOU THINK? ABOUT 20 POUNDS ABOUT 20 POUNDS ALL RIGHT, SO, I’VE NEVER DONE ANYTHING LIKE THIS BEFORE WELL, STRIKE ONE THAT’S FOUL BALL ANY POINTERS, STEVE? I MEAN, I CAN’T HIT IT YOU’RE MAKING IT LOOK EASY I’VE TURNED YOUR TIE INTO OATMEAL HERE SLOW DOWN OKAY AND WHEN IT’S UP AT THE TOP DON’T BE AFRAID TO PAUSE ALL RIGHT NOW GET YOUR GRIP AND LET IT FALL JUST LIKE GRAVITY ON THE HEAD NOPE FOR EVERY MILE THERE WERE 10,000 SPIKES, SO IF I WAS OUT THERE WORKING IT PROBABLY WOULD HAVE TAKEN 10,000 YEARS TO DO THIS HERE WE GO, STEVE, I’M GONNA TRY AGAIN MAYBE IF WE, MAYBE IF WE SANG AND GET SOME RHYTHM GOING HERE I’M NOT USING THE SOMETHING TELLS ME THAT IF I WERE BACK IN THE 1860’S I WOULD HAVE BEEN FIRED BY NOW I’M NOT DOING A VERY GOOD JOB HERE, STEVE WHEN THEY WERE BUILDING THE TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILROAD WOULD THEY HAVE USED A SPIKE MALLET LIKE THIS OR WAS IT SOMETHING DIFFERENT? THEY WOULD HAVE USED A, A SLEDGE HAMMER THAT’S SMALLER AND LIGHTER THAN THIS THAT’S THE GOOD NEWS FOR YOU AND MORE OF A SURFACE AREA? A LARGER SURFACE AREA I THINK THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN BETTER I’M GONNA STICK TO RIDING TRAINS I’M OUT OF HERE THE PROBLEMS FACED BY THE ORIGINAL PIONEERS STILL EXIST UNION PACIFIC IS CONSTANTLY UPGRADING AND IMPROVING ITS LINES, BUT TODAY THE JOB IS DONE IN A VERY DIFFERENT WAY BEHOLD THE TRACK RENEWAL TRAIN OR TRT-909 THE TRT-909 IS A FEAT OF ENGINEERING THAT CAN LAY UP TO 2 MILES OF TRACK PER DAY THE TRT IS MADE UP OF 30 FLAT CARS AND THREE SETS OF GANTRY CRANES HERE’S HOW IT WORKS FIRST, THE TRT-909 PULLS UP THE OLD SPIKES SO THAT THE RAIL CAN BE SEPARATED FROM THE TIES THEN IT DIGS UP THE OLD WOODEN TIES AND SENDS THEM UP A CONVEYOR BELT TO THE GANTRY CRANE THE GANTRY CRANES TAKE THE OLD TIES AWAY AND BRING IN THE NEW TIES, WHICH ARE SENT DOWN A CONVEYOR BELT TO BE DROPPED INTO PLACE THE TRT DEPOSITS THE NEW CONCRETE TIES IN PLACE OF THE OLD WOODEN ONES FINALLY, THE TRT MECHANICALLY CLIPS NEW STURDY STEEL RAILS TO THE NEW CONCRETE TIES ONCE THE NEW CONCRETE TIES ARE IN PLACE THE WORKMEN MEASURE AND CUT THE NEW RAILS TO SIZE TO INSURE A SAFE AND SMOOTH JOURNEY WELL, I’D HAVE TO SAY, NOW THAT I’VE SEEN HOW THE TRAIN TRACKS WERE BUILT BACK IN THE 1800’S AND HOW THEY ARE LAID TODAY, I CAN SEE WHY EVERYBODY LOVES THE TRT-909 THAT’S WHAT I CALL PROGRESS WE’RE LOOKING AT, I CAN SEE ONE, 2, 3, 4, 5 HEADLIGHTS TRACKS EVERYWHERE THE NEXT STOP ON THE TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILROAD IS THE BIGGEST RAIL YARD IN THE WORLD BAILEY YARD IN NORTH PLATTE, NEBRASKA IT’S THE HEART OF AMERICA’S FREIGHT TRANSPORTATION NETWORK IT’S EIGHT MILES LONG, 2 MILE WIDE AND COVERS OVER 2,850 ACRES EVERYDAY 155 TRAINS BOUND FOR ALL CORNERS OF AMERICA GO THROUGH THIS YARD THIS IS THE LARGEST RAIL YARD IN THE WORLD HERE WE’RE GONNA CHANGE CREWS AND WE’RE GONNA SERVICE THIS TRAIN THE MAINTENANCE CREW ARE UP AGAINST THE CLOCK THEY HAVE 45 MINUTES TO REFUEL THE TRAIN, CLEAN THE CABIN AND CHECK THE ENGINE AND DELAYS ARE NOT AN OPTION THIS IS JIMMY HE’S BEEN WORKING HERE AT BAILEY YARD FOR OVER 20 YEARS HE’S GONNA SHOW US HOW IT’S DONE

SO WHAT’S GOING ON RIGHT NOW? IT’S JUST A ONE, BIG FILLING STATION RIGHT HERE EVERYTHING LOCOMOTIVE THE KIND OF FUEL OUR TRAIN TAKES IS JUST LIKE REGULAR DIESEL FUEL THAT YOU PUT IN A TRUCK THIS CERTAIN LOCAMOTIVE HOLDS ABOUT 5,000 GALLONS OF FUEL 5,000 GALLONS OF FUEL NOW HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE YOU TO PUT 5,000 GALLONS OF FUEL IN AN EMPTY TANK? OH PROBABLY ABOUT 12 MINUTES BAILEY YARD SERVICE TRACK GOES TO OVER 20 MILLION GALLONS OF FUEL A MONTH SO IT’S LIKE A MONSTER GAS PUMP AT THE GAS STATION YEAH A HUGE ONE. A HUGE ONE THAT’S ALMOST FULL IT’S ALMOST FULL. OKAY THAT’S ABOUT RIGHT UP TO HERE WE’VE GOT GAS IN THE TANK BUT JIMMY AND I STILL HAVE WORK TO DO WE DON’T WANNA HOLD THE CREW UP LET’S GET GOING BREATH MINTS THESE ARE BREATH MINTS, MATT BREATH MINTS FOR THE ENGINE WOO, NICE AND FRESH JUST LIKE YOU FIND AT A RESTROOM AT A TRUCK STOP YEAH, THAT LOOKS GOOD, MATT I’LL PUT ONE ON THAT SIDE FOR THE ENGINEER OKAY, THAT WORKS YOU CHECK YOUR ICE AND JUST THROW IT IN ALL RIGHT WE’LL PUT THAT THERE. >>YEAH I’LL SHOW YOU HOW TO WASH THE WINDOWS ALL RIGHT. ALL RIGHT THEY DON’T LIKE STREAKS, SO YOU GOT TO MAKE SURE YOU GET THE STREAKS STEP OVER HERE AND WE’LL GET THE OTHER WINDOW THIS IS THE BAD PART OF THE JOB [DISPATCH]..COMES TO 43-90 TO EASILY COME ON DOWN AND CHECK THIS OUT GET IN THERE MATT, AND TAKE YOUR OLD FLASHLIGHT AND LOOK DOWN IN THERE OKAY, NOW YOU TAKE THAT BLACK HANDLE >>OKAY ON THERE AND FLUSH IT A COUPLE OF TIMES >>ALL RIGHT THE OLD FLUSH-A-ROOKIE NOW, OH, THAT LOOKS GOOD OH YEAH. OKAY, IT’S LOOKING A LITTLE BETTER NOW IT’S LOOKING A LITTLE BETTER NOW THERE YOU GO NOW YOU’LL TAKE THIS DISINFECTANT OKAY AND YOU’LL SQUIRT THE TOP OF THE TOILET RIGHT HERE? YEAH, THE WHOLE THING NOW WIPE THAT DOWN REAL GOOD OKAY WHEN I SAID THAT RIDING THE TRANSCONTINENTAL WAS A DREAM COME TRUE THIS WAS NOT A PART OF THAT DREAM OKAY, MATT, YOU’RE ALMOST DONE THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IS, IS THE BREATH MINT THE BREATH MINT AND I JUST PUT THAT UP THERE BY THE CREW PACK HOLDER THIS IS THE FINAL TOUCH TO THE TOILET RIGHT HERE, THE BREATH MINT RIGHT THERE HEY, YOU KNOW WHAT? I GOT ANOTHER ONE HERE I THINK THIS ONE WILL TAKE TWO BEAUTIFUL TELL ME HOW I DID OH, MATT, YOU DONE GOOD WE’VE TAKEN OUT THE TRASH BUT THERE’S SOMETHING WE’VE GOT TO PUT BACK INTO OUR LOCOMOTIVE YEAH I TAKE MY FLASHLIGHT WE LOOK DOWN IN THERE OH, SHE NEEDS SAND SO IT NEEDS SAND YEAH JIMMY’S ADDING SAND IN THE ENGINE WHEN THIS TRAIN’S GOING UP HILL THEY’RE GONNA NEED EXTRA TRACTION SO WHAT HAPPENS IS THE SAND IS SPIT UP RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE WHEELS, GOES ALL OVER THE RAIL AND ADDS LIKE EXTRA GRIP SO THE TRAIN HAS A BETTER CHANCE OF MAKING IT UP THE HILL EFFICIENTLY SO IF THEY DIDN’T PUT SAND IN THESE LOCOMOTIVES THE TRAIN COULD SLIP BACKWARDS AND LOSE CONTROL AND CAUSE A HUGE DERAILMENT JIMMY IS THE MAN WE JUST FINISHED CLEANING THE CAB AND REFUELING AND WE THOUGHT WE WERE READY TO GO, BUT JIMMY JUST GOT A MESSAGE OVER THE RADIO WE’VE GOT TROUBLE WITH ONE OF OUR LOCOMOTIVES AND UNTIL WE FIX IT IT’S NOT GOING ANYWHERE I’M HALF WAY ACROSS AMERICA RIDING THE TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILROAD FROM OMAHA, NEBRASKA, TO SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA THE NEXT STOP ON OUR JOURNEY IS THE BIGGEST RAIL YARD IN THE WORLD IT’S THE HEART OF AMERICA’S RAIL TRANSPORTATION NETWORK, NORTH PLATTE, NEBRASKA BUT THERE’S A PROBLEM, OUR ENGINE NEEDS A NEW TRACTION MOTOR AND WE HAVE TO GO OVER TO THE LOCOMOTIVE SHOP IN A DIESEL ELECTRIC ENGINE THE ELECTRIC GENERATOR PROVIDES POWER TO THE TRACTION MOTORS WHICH IN TURN POWER THE WHEELS THE BAD TRACTION MOTOR MEANS WE’RE NOT GOING ANYWHERE LUCKY FOR US IT’S THE LARGEST LOCOMOTIVE REPAIR SHOP IN THE UNITED STATES SO YOU’RE SAYING THIS PLACE IS AS BIG AS THREE FOOTBALL FIELDS ABSOLUTELY A LITTLE DIFFERENT THAN WHAT YOU’RE DOING IN AN AUTO GARAGE A LITTLE BIGGER THE MAINTENANCE SHOP AT NORTE PLATTE OPERATES 24-SEVEN UNREAL THEY HAVE 735 EMPLOYEES WHO REPAIR UP TO 65 LOCOMOTIVES EACH DAY SO BASICALLY IF THERE’S ANYTHING WRONG WITH A LOCOMOTIVE IT COMES IN HERE AND YOU CAN FIX IT YES SIR

A SYSTEM OF REMOTE-CONTROL CRANES AND ELEVATED WORK BASE KEEP THINGS MOVING IF YOU GOT TO LIFT SOMETHING IT DOESN’T MATTER HOW HEAVY IT IS, YOU’RE GONNA LIFT IT THAT’S RIGHT RIGHT NOW OUR LOCOMOTIVE IS ARRIVING IN WORK BAY NUMBER NINE ALL RIGHT HERE’S A PERSPECTIVE THAT YOU DON’T SEE EVERY DAY WE’RE DOWN UNDERNEATH THIS LOCOMOTIVE, DOWN IN THE BOWLS OF THIS FACILITY ONCE THE LOCOMOTIVE IS IN THE WORK BAY THE CREW CAREFULLY LOCKS IT INTO PLACE THIS TRACTION MOTOR WEIGHS, WEIGHS THREE TONS THEY DON’T WANT THIS THING TO MOVE I CAN TELL YOU THAT RIGHT NOW TO CHANGE OUT THE OLD TRACTION MOTOR AN ELECTRICIAN NEEDS TO GO DOWN UNDERNEATH THE LOCOMOTIVE I TAKE IT YOU DON’T MIND CONFINED SPACES, HUH? I WOULD NOT BE IN THERE DOING THAT RIGHT NOW IT JUST LOOKS A LITTLE TOO CLOSE FOR ME IT’S A LITTLE HARD TO SEE WHAT HE’S DOING FROM HERE THIS MIGHT BE A MISTAKE BUT I’M GOING IN WE’RE ACTUALLY UNDERNEATH THE LOCOMOTIVE RIGHT NOW AND THIS ISN’T EXACTLY THE HAPPIEST PLACE FOR ME TO BE, BUT I’M HERE AND I’M GONNA TALK TO GARY A LITTLE BIT AND SEE WHAT HE’S DOING HEY GARY, HOW’S THE WEATHER UNDER HERE? HEAVY OILY WITH A CHANGE OF THUNDER SHOWERS YEAH THE TRACTION MOTOR ALONE WEIGHS THREE TONS THAT IS AS MUCH AS 2 AND A HALF PICKUP TRUCKS YOU GOT TO BE ON YOUR TOES UNDERNEATH HERE YOU DON’T WANNA BE DROPPING THAT THING DOWN ON YOUR HEAD OR YOUR HAND BECAUSE IT WON’T BE COMING OUT AND WHAT GARY IS ACTUALLY DOING IS UNHOOKING THE ELECTRICAL LEADS THAT RUN TO THE TRACTION MOTOR THAT POWER IT I SEE HE’S GOT ONE ALMOST GOT THE OTHER ONE HERE I’VE BUMPED MY HEAD LIKE YEAH FIVE TIMES ALL READY ALL RIGHT, THE ENGINE WIRES ARE UNHOOKED I’M GETTING OUT OF HERE THE TRACTION MOTOR IS HELD IN PLACE BY A PIECE OF STEEL CALLED A DOG BONE IN ORDER TO TAKE THE ENGINE OUT THE CREW NEEDS TO REMOVE THE DOG BONE ARE YOU CHANGING THE DOG BONE RIGHT NOW? NO, THEY’RE GONNA CUT IT AH, THEY’RE GONNA CUT THE DOG BONE? YEAH CHANGING THE DOG BONE WE LIKE FIRE. WE LIKE FIRE BECAUSE THE BOLT THAT HOLDS IN THE DOG BONE HAD SO MUCH GREASE AND GUNK FROM THIS ENGINE GOING OVER THOUSANDS OF MILES ON THE ROAD, HE HAD TO TAKE A WELDING TORCH TO IT INSTEAD OF ACTUALLY USING A WRENCH, BECAUSE IT JUST WOULDN’T COME OFF SO HE BASICALLY JUST HAD TO BURN THE CRAP OUT OF IT TO GET THAT BOLT TO COME OFF IT ONLY TAKES 10 MINUTES TO BURN THE DOG BONE IN HALF NOW THE OLD TRACTION MOTOR CAN BE TAKEN OUT WHAT HAPPENS NEXT IS PRETTY COOL THEY’RE LOWERING THE TRACTION MOTOR DOWN 18 FEET INTO A PIT WHERE THEY’RE GONNA MOVE THE OLD TRACTION MOTOR OUT THAT OLD TRACTION MOTOR JUST GOT OFF TO THE BONE YARD FOR OLD TRACTION MOTORS WE’LL NEVER SEE HER AGAIN USING A STEEL CRANE THE OLD TRACTION MOTOR IS LOWERED INTO A TUNNEL, BROUGHT UNDERGROUND THROUGH THE LOCOMOTIVE SHOP AND THEN LIFTED INTO A HUGE SCRAP YARD THEY’RE BRINGING THE TRACTION MOTOR UP, THE OLD TRACTION MOTOR UP THEY’RE GONNA BRING A CRANE FROM ABOVE, COME DOWN, HOOK ON TO IT AND PUT IT OVER THERE IN THE GRAVEYARD WHERE IT PROBABLY WILL NEVER BE SEEN AGAIN THERE, A TEN-TON CRANE LIFTS THE OLD MOTOR INTO THE SCRAP YARD THE CABLES ON THIS CRANE RIGHT HERE ARE RATED FOR TEN TONS COULD I ASK YOU A QUESTION? YES IS THIS LIKE OPERATING THAT MACHINE AT THE GROCERY STORE WHERE YOU HAVE THE STUFFED ANIMALS AND THE HOOK? ARE YOU REALLY GOOD AT THAT? NO, JUST, JUST LUCKY YOU’RE DEALING WITH TONS AND NOT OUNCES YEAH, SIX TONS WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING OUT FOR? WE WATCH OUT FOR EACH OTHER THAT’S THE NUMBER ONE THING EACH OTHER SAFETY. SAFETY FIRST A LITTLE SLIP UP ANYWHERE ELSE IS A CRITICAL INCIDENT DOWN HERE BECAUSE WE WORK WITH SUCH HEAVY EQUIPMENT PUT IT BACK UP INTO THE LOCOMOTIVE AND SHE’LL BE READY TO GO THE NEW MOTOR GOES BACK DOWN THROUGH THE TUNNEL, UNDERNEATH THE SHOP AND BACK UP TO WHERE WE STARTED WHEN IT ARRIVES OUR CREW INSERTS THE NEW MOTOR INTO OUR LOCOMOTIVE AND LOCKS IT INTO PLACE WITH A BRAND NEW DOG BONE THEY PRETTY MUCH HAVE THIS TRACTION MOTOR BACK IN THEY JUST HAVE A FEW MORE BOLTS TO TIE UP THEN THIS BIG BABY IS READY TO GO ON THE ROAD AND HAUL SOME MORE FREIGHT WOW, WHAT A GREAT JOB BY THE NORTH PLATTE MAINTENANCE GROUP THE MOTOR’S SWITCHED OUT, OUT CREW IS SWITCHED OUT AND IT’S TIME TO GET BACK ON OUR WAY TO SACRAMENTO HEY, HI YOU GUYS. GLEN HOW YOU DOING? I’M MATT. >>MATT NICE TO MEET YOU GLEN, NICE MEETING YOU MIKE HOW YOU DOING I THINK WE’RE ABOUT READY TO BLAST OFF HERE GLEN AND MIKE ARE TAKING US INTO THE MOUNTAINOUS, WESTERN LEG OF THE TRANSCONTINENTAL ROUTE THIS IS WHERE THE GOING GETS TOUGH FOR THE EARLY TRAINS ON THE TRANSCONTINENTAL THE AREA AROUND THE GREAT SALT LAKE WAS BESET BY PROBLEMS

IN THE 1860’S THE RAILROAD HAD NO WAY OF GETTING ACROSS THE 75-MILE LONG AND 35-MILE WIDE LAKE SO, THE ORIGINAL ROUTE WENT AROUND THE LAKE CROSSING THE STEEP WASATCH MOUNTAINS BUT THE EXTREME WEATHER CONDITIONS NEARLY PUT THE RAILROAD OUT OF BUSINESS LOCOMOTIVES BROKE DOWN, CREWS WERE STRANDED AND THE RAILROAD WAS LOSING MONEY IN THE EARLY 1900’S THE RAILROAD FINALLY DECIDED THAT ENOUGH WAS ENOUGH THEY VENTURED TO BUILD THE WORLD’S BIGGEST RAIL CAUSEWAY ACROSS THE GREAT SALT LAKE WOW. SEE THAT THE EARTHEN CAUSEWAY THAT WE’RE RIDING ALONG IS A TRUE FEAT OF ENGINEERING IT’S A COLLECTION OF SOIL, SAND AND ROCK UP TO 480 FEET WIDE AND 35 FEET DEEP BECAUSE THE CAUSEWAY IS MADE OF MUD AND ROCK IT MUST BE CONSTANTLY MAINTAINED THEY HAVE TO KEEP WORK TRAINS DUMPING ROCK ON THERE TO KEEP IT GOING THE CAUSEWAY CUT WHAT WAS A DANGEROUS 42 MILE JOURNEY THROUGH STEEP MOUNTAINS DOWN TO A 12 MILE STRAIGHT SHOT ACROSS THE LAKE SAVING MONEY, FUEL AND HARDSHIP THOUGH LESS DANGEROUS THAN THE MOUNTAIN ROUTE THE CAUSEWAY STILL SEES ITS SHARE OF HARSH WEATHER WE HAD A COUPLE OF HARD WINTERS AND THE GREAT SALT LAKE ROSE SEVERAL FEET OH, YOU’D GET, YOU’D GET WAVES THAT WOULD COME OVER THE TOP OF THE ENGINE THROW DEBRIS UP ON THE, THE TRACK OLD TIES WERE FLOATING OUT IN THE LAKE YOU FEEL LIKE GOING THROUGH A CARWASH IT’S JUST LIKE MIKE SAID, JUST LIKE A CARWASH YEAH, YOU COULDN’T SEE WHERE YOU WERE GOING YOU’D GET A LOT OF WHEEL SLIP WITH THE ENGINES YOU GOT STEEL WHEELS ON STEEL RAIL TODAY THE CAUSEWAY CARRIES UP TO 20 TRAINS PER DAY ALLOWING CREWS TO GET TO AND FROM THE WEST FASTER AND SAFER THAN EVER BEFORE WE HAVE CROSSED THE GREAT SALT LAKE CAUSEWAY WHICH MEANS WE’RE HEADING INTO HIGHER ELEVATIONS BUT BEFORE WE CAN GET TO SACRAMENTO WE HAVE TO GO THROUGH ONE OF AMERICA’S MOST TREACHEROUS AND INFAMOUS MOUNTAIN PASSES WE’VE JUST ENTERED TRUCKEE, CALIFORNIA, HIGH UP THE THE SIERRA NEVADA MOUNTAINS ALONG UNION PACIFIC’S TRANSCONTINENTAL ROUTE TO SACRAMENTO BACK IN THE DAY, MAINTENANCE CREWS TRAVELED UP AND DOWN THE TRACKS USING A HAND-CRANKED RAILCAR TODAY THEY TRAVEL IN STYLE THIS SUV IS SPECIALLY CONVERTED TO RIDE THE RAILS IT’S GOT LITTLE GUIDE WHEELS THAT DROP DOWN THAT KEEP THE CAR ALIGNED WITH THE TRACK, AND ONCE WE’RE GOING WE DON’T EVEN HAVE TO STEER IN FACT WE CAN’T STEER WHAT ACTUALLY POWERS THE WHEELS? IT’S THE, IS IT THE RUBBER WHEELS? YEAH EVERY DAY WORKERS LIKE STEVE GO OUT ALONE IN THESE HIGH RAIL VEHICLES TO MAINTAIN THE TRACK, MAKING SURE THERE ARE NO OBSTACLES THAT CAN CAUSE TRAIN DELAYS OR WORSE, A DERAILMENT SLEDGE HAMMER SPIKE MALLETS FOR POUNDING IN THE RAILROAD SPIKE THE CROWBAR’S FOR PULLING THE SPIKES OUT THE WRENCH WHEN THE POWER WRENCH DOESN’T WORK THEN SOMETIMES I HAVE TO DO IT BY HAND SOMEBODY A 100 YEARS AGO ON A, ON A PUMP CAR MIGHT HAVE BEEN USING THE SAME TOOLS? PRETTY MUCH THE SAME EXACT STUFF EXCEPT FOR THE POWER TOOLS STEVE LOOKS LIKE THE REAL DEAL TO ME HE COULD PASS FOR ONE OF THE ORIGINAL WORKERS I’M GLAD I’M HEADING UP INTO THE MOUNTAINS WITH HIM SO WHAT EXACTLY ARE WE DOING TODAY? WE’RE INSPECTING THE TRACKS? IT’S BASICALLY WHEN I MAKE SURE IT’S ALL UP TO SNUFF NOWHERE IS PREVENTING A DERAILMENT MORE IMPORTANT HERE, HIGH UP IN THE SIERRA NEVADAS IN TRUCKEE, CALIFORNIA I’M USED TO RIDING IN THE LOCOMOTIVE NOT IN ONE OF THESE HIGH-RAIL TRUCKS WHAT HAPPENS IF WE GET STUCK? I GUESS IF YOU BREAK DOWN OUT HERE YOU’RE NOT CALLING AAA? NO, WE HAVE TO CALL SOMEBODY ELSE TO COME AND TOW ME OUT OH. WHAT, WHAT’S YOUR DISTRICT HOW MUCH DO YOU PATROL? I HAVE 75 MILES DOUBLE MAIN TRACK THIS PART OF THE TRANSCONTINENTAL ROUTE CUTS THROUGH THE MOST INFAMOUS MOUNTAIN PASS IN THE U.S

SO IS THIS DONNER PASS? OR THIS ISN’T CONSIDERED DONNER PASS YET? YEAH, THIS WHOLE AREA IS PRETTY MUCH CONSIDERED DONNER PASS OKAY IN EARLY NOVEMBER 1846 A GROUP OF PIONEERS CALLED THE DONNER PARTY WERE HEADING WEST, BUT FOUND THIS ROUTE BLOCKED BY SNOW THE PARTY WAS FORCED TO SPEND THE ENTIRE HARSH WINTER ON THE EASTERN SIDE OF THE MOUNTAINS NEARLY HALF OF THEM DIED MANY OF THE OTHERS WERE FORCED TO RESORT TO CANNIBALISM TO SURVIVE I’M NOT GONNA EVEN ASK WHAT THEY DO FOR LUNCH AROUND HERE A FEW YEARS LATER WHEN THE TRANSCONTINENTAL RAIL WAS BEING BUILT THE WEATHER WAS NO BETTER THE 7,000-FOOT HIGH SIERRAS PRESENTED A HOST OF DANGERS, LIKE HUGE MUD SLIDES AND 30-FOOT SNOW DRIFTS STEVE AND I STILL HAVE 20 MORE MILES TO SURVEY BEFORE HEADING BACK, AND I DON’T WANNA SPEND ANY MORE TIME UP HERE THAN I NEED TO LOOKS LIKE WE GOT A BIT OF A PROBLEM HERE, STEVE STEVE AND I JUST PULLED INTO THE MOUTH OF THIS TWO-MILE LONG TUNNEL, AND IT LOOKS LIKE A LEAK FROM THE TOP OF THE TUNNEL IS DRIPPING ON TO THE TRACKS CAUSING A SERIOUS PROBLEM I AM GONNA HAVE TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS ONE JUST ENTERED TUNNEL 41 HERE ON THE DONNER PASS AND IT LOOKS LIKE WE GOT A BUNCH OF ICE BUILT UP HERE IF YOU GET TOO MUCH ICE ON THE TRACK IT WILL ACTUALLY DERAIL THE TRAIN WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO? DO YOU WANT ME TO DO ANYTHING, STEVE? STAND BACK FOR NOW LET ME SEE >>OKAY STEVE IS ONE TOUGH GUY ALL RIGHT HOW DOES THAT LOOK, STEVE? I THINK WE CAN CALL THAT GOOD MISSION COMPLETE WE HAVE NOW MADE IT SAFE FOR OUR TRAIN TO GET THROUGH JUST THINK, THESE TWO RAILS ARE THE ONLY THING CONNECTING US TO CIVILIZATION OTHERWISE, WE MIGHT BE AS BAD OFF AS THE DONNER PARTY WAS BACK IN THE 1840’S BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY FOR SURE IT’S AWESOME YOU NEVER GET SICK OF THIS DO YOU? NO. I GET SICK OF THE SNOW AFTER A WHILE YEAH BUT I NEVER GET SI OF THE SCENERY IT’S TIME TO JUMP BACK ON BOARD MY TRAIN WE’RE LEAVING THE BITTER COLD OF THE SIERRA NEVADAS AND AFTER JUST A FEW MINUTES AND A STEEP DROP IN ALTITUDE THE WEATHER HAS ALREADY IMPROVED AFTER IT OPENED IN 1869 THE TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILROAD UNLEASHED A WAVE OF EXPANSION IN THE WEST SACRAMENTO HERE I COME, RIGHT BACK WHERE I STARTED FROM IS THAT HOW THAT GOES? TENT CITIES WITH NAMES LIKE CHEYENNE, LARAMIE AND OGDEN BECAME SMALL TOWNS AND IN THE NEXT DECADE NEARLY DOUBLED IN SIZE THE POPULATION OF CALIFORNIA ALONE GREW FROM 380,000 IN THE 1860’S TO OVER 1.2 MILLION BY THE LATE 1880’S AND BY 1890 THE CENSUS BUREAU PROCLAIMED THE AMERICAN FRONTIER CLOSED JUST AHEAD IS ROSEVILLE YARD, THE END OF OUR JOURNEY ON THE TRANSCONTINENTAL ROUTE WHEN THIS TRAIN ARRIVES AT ROSEVILLE IT’S GOING TO UNHOOK ITS CARS, TURN AROUND AND BRING A NEW LOAD OF CARS BACK TO COUNCIL BLUFFS, IOWA WHERE WE STARTED, BUT FOR YOU AND ME THIS IS THE FINAL STOP WE’VE FINALLY ARRIVED AT SACRAMENTO IT’S BEEN A GRUELING JOURNEY, 1700 MILES GOING FROM THE COLD, WINDY PLAINS OF NEBRASKA TO THE CAUSEWAY AT SALT LAKE, TO 5 FEET OF SNOW AT TRUCKEE, TO THE GREEN GRASSES OF ROSEVILLE YARD HERE IN SACRAMENTO WE’RE FINALLY HERE AND I NEED A NAP OUR JOURNEY ALONG THE TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILROAD IS OVER WE SUCCESSFULLY DELIVERED 14,000 TONS OF FREIGHT TO SACRAMENTO ON TIME AND IN ONE PIECE, AND WHAT A TRIP IT’S BEEN I VISITED AMERICA’S BIGGEST LOCOMOTIVE SHOP, ROAD ALONG THE WORLD’S BUSIEST FREIGHT CORRIDOR AND HAD COMPLETE ACCESS TO UNION PACIFIC’S NERVE CENTER I EVEN GOT TO SEE THE LESS GLAMOROUS PARTS OF THE TRANSCONTINENTAL ROUTE AND IT’S A JOURNEY I’LL NEVER FORGET WWW.CAPTIONDEPOT.NET