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Fresh Tracks: 1941

Fresh Tracks: 1941

August 1941. "Moving railroad track in the Mahoning pit. Hibbing, Minnesota." Medium format acetate negative by John Vachon for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.


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How to make tracks

Prepare an even subgrade 12 or more inches below what you intend to be the final position for the tops of your rails.

Lay ties evenly spaced along projected line of track.

Lay rails atop those ties and spike them to the ties.

Move a drop bottom gondola or hopper along those rails dropping about six inches of crushed rock ballast, gravel, or in this case mining overburden. This is the stage you see photographed, with some material dropped out of sight between ties and some atop each tie.

Tamp material evenly beneath and between ties and add more to fill between ties and level.

Creepy Sleepers

Those railroad ties look like they came straight from some Salvador Dali painting! What in the world are they made from? Mud? Sand? Meatloaf?!?

Iron Man

Almost eight years ago, we saw another photo from the visit by John Vachon in August 1941 to this open pit iron mine near Hibbing: Iron Man: 1941.

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