Editor’s note: we interrupt our regularly scheduled programming for a word from OWL editorial intern, Sarah Sorensen. (Craig will be back soon.) Enjoy!
Hey everyone, I’ve got a great job offer for you! The work is back-breaking and you could find yourself running from avalanches, mudslides, swarms of insects, fires, or snowstorms in places with warm and fuzzy names like Jaws of Death or Hell’s Gate. And for all your hard work, I’ll pay you the grand sum of $1 a day! Amazing, right? Any takers? No? I didn’t think so.
But you might have thought differently in the late 1800s and if you did, you might have ended up in Western Canada, helping build Canada’s first transcontinental railway in some truly dangerous conditions. Many people said building a railway could never be done. But despite all obstacles, the railway was completed. How it came to be is the subject of the new IMAX movie Rocky Mountain Express that I got to watch the other day at the Ontario Science Centre.
Here are a few things I learned from the film:
1) In flat areas of land, workers could lay down an incredible six miles of railway track each day. But in mountainous regions, workers averaged just five feet of track each day. Five feet! That’s shorter than me (and it’s definitely shorter than Craig)!
2) Sadly, for every mile of track laid, several men died because the work was so tough. The majority of workers who died were from China as they were often given the most dangerous tasks.
3) Building the line in the mountains meant building through 400 miles of rock and snow, at heights that reached 8,000 feet above sea level.
4) The section of the railway that goes through the Rockies is still considered the most challenging section of railroad track in the world.
5) At the time of construction, some of the bridges they built for trains to go over were the highest in the world!
Directed by award-winning Canadian filmmaker, Stephen Low, the film does an amazing job of making you realize just how hard a task it must have been to construct a railway line through the Rockies. Is anyone from out west? If so, you know just how huge the mountains are, and seeing those mountains on an IMAX screen was jaw dropping.
Stephen was at the my screening and he explained that special cameras were mounted to helicopters for the fly-by shots, and that he worked with the military to get some truly awesome footage of an avalanche happening. I felt like I was being buried in the theatre!
Rocky Mountain Express is currently showing at Toronto’s Ontario Science Centre. For more information and to see if it’s playing at an IMAX theatre near you, click here.
What do you say, blog readers? Are you “all aboard” for this new IMAX movie? Let us know in the comments below!