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SOUTHERN PACIFIC TELEGRAPH OPERATOR

Snow Sheds of Sierra Nevada Mountains
Sierra Nevada Mountains, California. Southern Pacific Railroad snow sheds over Donner Pass. There were around 62 miles of sheds and tunnels built in the 1870's. Made of timbers, most were removed by the 1920's and 30's due to high maintenance problems, By the 1980's, the few remaining wooden sheds over historical SPTrack #1 were being replaced with concrete only to be abandon in the 1990's. The railroad believed the more efficient Jordan spreaders, flangers and rotary snow plows could keep lines open over the Sierra mountain range. In this old view of a shed depot, the telegraph operator appears to be a woman hanging train orders on a staff hoop to be picked up by the engineers as the train passes through the sheds. John Signor's book "Donner Pass" has a good explanation of how the staff system worked in the snow sheds and how important it was during the WW I.
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Shirley Burman 2007©
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