Science Pub Portland: Transcontinental Railroad

This is a past event. Tuesday, August 20 at 7:00pm

Empirical Theater at OMSI 1945 S.E. Water Ave., Portland, OR 97214

Building the Transcontinental Railroad
With Paul Giroux, Dist.M.ASCE, Senior Estimating Manager at Kiewit Infrastructure West Co.

As the United States grew in population and territory in the mid-19th century safe and efficient travel and commerce with the western territories and the booming state of California were increasingly important. Even as America was embroiled in a civil war from 1861 to 1865, President Abraham Lincoln and other leaders had the courage to build the country’s first transcontinental railroad. While no singular structure defines the first Transcontinental Railroad built in the United States; the story of its builders and how the tunnels, trestles, and tracks of its 1,776-mile alignment were built stands as one of the most important chapters in civil engineering history. Structures would have to be completed in remote and sometimes hostile areas, at unprecedented elevations, under extreme conditions, all while advancing armies of workers ever closer and closer to the roads final meeting point in Promontory, Utah. This presentation will explain how the right men, machines and methods came together to build a railroad of unprecedented challenges. When completed 150 years ago in 1869, the Transcontinental Railroad not only connected the United States from east to west, it also helped unite a country that had been torn by civil war. Opening the road to the West to settlement and development would forever change the United States.

Event Type

Readings & Talks, Science & Tech


See Ticket Cost



$5 advance purchase for guaranteed seats; $5 suggested donation at the door.


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