Thursday, March 12, 2009

We Need Some "Shovel Men"

Nathan did a great post yesterday on the history of the Green Zone, so I thought I would save this for today. 

I found this Vancouver Courier article by Lisa Smedman to be awesome! It talks about our rail history and how the excavation moved half a million yards of soil and created the Grandview cut. This was before the days of massive amounts of heavy equipment being deployed on projects of this sort. They had a giant steam shovel apparently, but much had to be done before that equipment could move in. The "shovel men" did all the work, followed by some blasting. Look at this quote:

"On Dec. 5, 1908, the Vancouver Daily Province reported that gangs of "shovel men" were hard at work along the Great Northern tracks between False Creek and Still Creek, removing "half [a] million yards of gravel" in order to reduce the grade of the railway to approximately half of one per cent. Work along the 1.75-mile stretch of track was proceeding "slowly but steadily."

"During the past two or three weeks the men [were] engaged in clearing out the big cut which, when completed, will have a maximum depth of about 40 feet," the paper reported. It added that work had been slowed after crews encountered "refractory" (difficult to work) rock."

Even the old interurban rail line is briefly discussed in this great article on our rail history. What a read!

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