Engineering in the Late 19th Century
Clip: Season 9 | 1m 7s
Engineer William Parsons wrote, "Of all human activities, engineering is the one that enters most into our lives." Parsons was the Interborough Rapid Transit’s chief engineer. His 21-mile route for the IRT ran up the east side of Manhattan to Grand Central Station, then continued across 42nd Street and proceeded north, dividing into two branches heading under the river into the Bronx.
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In June, 1902, subcontractor, Ira Shaler, suffered a fatal accident in the east tunnel.
Running New York's subway would require the most powerful electrical plant in the world.
At least 7,700 men would be needed to build the Interborough Rapid Transit, or IRT.
New York’s topography presented a special engineering challenge for subway planners.
Alfred Ely Beach had an idea for a pneumatic subway, pulled by a rope of air.
The first effort to build a subway dates back to the 1850s with Alfred Ely Beach.
The Pennsylvania Railroad announced they would be tunneling into Manhattan.
The masonry work on Pennsylvania Station began in 1908.
Measurements showed that the Pennsylvania RR Hudson River tunnels were shifting.
Tunneling under the Hudson river proved easy, but the East River was becoming a nightmare.
In 1961 the Pennsylvania Railroad announced it had sold the air rights above Penn Station.
Two city blocks, or 28 acres, were initially cleared for Penn Station’s construction.
Excavation workers, called “sandhogs,” faced many dangers working in a confined space.
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