So I didn’t think in this day and age I would ever see 1:1 track building. As railroads are shrinking it just seemed that what is there now was all if ever get to see.
But BNSF is making some major investment in North Idaho and Eastern Washington. They are laying a new bridge across Pend Orielle lake next to the old one. A major project. And right where I work they are putting in a second mainline (and caused my water district some headache as we had to abandon one of our waterlines to make room for it) which required some major excavation and road bed grading as well as a new bridge across the Spokane River.
I say all of this to say I have a new found appreciation for what it took to make the first cross country rail lines like the Northern Pacific in the 1880s. I am watching modern hi tech 2000s machinery taking years to build a few bridges and a couple miles of track. And to think they went across the entire country in just a few years has me awe struck.
But even though I am a bit disillusioned with modern construction techniques, it is still fascinating to watch a brand new rail line being built.
What is really kind of ironic is today the 1:1 railroad has adopted model railroad construction techniques. Instead of laying ties and then nailing down tie plates and then laying in rail and nailing it down and bolting rails together, they now bring in sectional prebuilt track sections and set them down and bolt them together. The entire section comes prebuilt. And they just bolt sections together.
I find that amusing and ironic. Almost as if model railroaders taught the 1:1 guys the proper way to make a railroad.