April 28, 1869

On this day in 1869, eight Irish laborers joined forces with a group of Chinese laborers to lay ten miles and fifty-six feet of track in under twelve hours for the Central Pacific Railroad company. It was a record in track-laying never to be equalled. The feat was the result of an ongoing rivalry between the Union Pacific and Charles Crocker’s Central Pacific. Each rail handler lifted approximately 125 tons of iron during the day. A few days later, the workmen rode in a wagon as part of Sacramento’s railroad celebration, while onlookers threw them flowers.

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