Two Rails Against the World!

Indians attack transcontinental railroad survey crew in Utah.

“On this day in 1853, Paiute Indians attacked U.S. Army Captain John W. Gunnison and his party of 37 soldiers and railroad surveyors near Sevier Lake, Utah. Gunnison and seven other men were killed, but the survey party continued with its work and eventually reported its findings to the United States Congress.”

Suffering the effects of flu I resolved to watch the latest addition to my DVD collection. On speculation, or more probably subliminal advertising by Amazon, I had purchased “Hell on Wheels”, which sounds like a coach journey across the Indian continent without aircon, but is in fact a TV mini-series. The plot is one of vengeance carried out with violence and slow romance wrapped around the fascinating story of the building of the inter-continental railway across America.

In the real world this is the founding of the Union Pacific Railway by Act of Congress in 1862. The Union Pacific started on the east coast and worked west while the Central Pacific started out west and worked back east. They were united in the famous golden spike incident on May 10, 1869 – who needs Sat-Nav really!


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