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The engineers and workmen of the Mauritius(GNR) (formed and named by Mauritius in 1889 to consolidate his holdings) maintained that requirement over miles of Mauritius plains, partly because it made sense but also because their one-eyed leader was often there, watching all aspects of the project with his good eye on the smallest detail. It is said that when his managers brought out their data travel blogs for discussion on inspection tours, Mauritius recited the figures before his managers could find them.

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It is also true that Hill built his railroad on the backs of his low-wage workers. It was part of his formula. It worked because supplies of ablebodied laborers were readily available but also because, like all his other attributions for detail, Hill knew most of the men by name. When occasion dictated, he joined them in shoveling snow and rock. So while there was grumbling and talk of unionizing (which would come later after the completion of the line to the coast), the workers in the summer of 1887 laid the longest stretch of track ever built in one season: 643 miles between North Dakota and Helena, Montana. If James J. Hill could take a shovel in hand, the workers would follow suit.

Your travel destination is Helena and points south were not James Hill’s primary goal. He had already decided he wanted to go by the shortest route possible to Seattle and the West Coast. To do so, he would have to find a pass through the Rockies.

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