JF Ptak Science Books Post 1546 [Part of the History of Lines series.]
This picture tells as much about the making lines--railroads pushing their way towards one another, the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific, pushing on towards one another to complete a rail line that connected the American coasts--as it does in covering them up. The photograph is of a Union Pacific supervisor named Samuel Reed, who was inspecting the rail bed--in 1868/9 it was not uncommon for one team to clear the land and lay down the ties miles ahead of the track layers. Miles of bits of wood, waiting for their iron.
But most roads, or at least most early roads, were in their places for a reason, and generally that reason was because it was a good way for getting from Point A to Point B. This photograph, along the way of the Old Platte Valley route, seems to be a mid-way point between the old and the new, or between the old and the old, lines of communication and lines of travel. These timbers are laid down on top of the old immigration route from the east to California and Oregon, which in turn were laid on top of the trails of fur traders, which were on top of those of Indians, which were on top of those of the buffalo herds, and so on, all the way down.