YourToyTrains, Model Trains website, salutes Mr. Herman Haupt, who during his long life oversaw huge engineering projects and helped win the Civil War for the North by successfully managing its railroad resources. A native of Philadelphia, PA, Herman Haupt graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1835, but resigned his commission to become a civilian engineer. In his early experience in the 1830s he was the Assistant Chief Engineer on the Norristown & Valley Railroad and in 1839 he patented his own bridge design, the Haupt Truss Bridge (Two are still in use in Pennsylvania today). After a career spanning most of the 1840s as a professor of mathematics and engineering at Pennsylvania College, he assumed positions of increasing authority at the Pennsylvania Railroad, including serving as that company's General Superintendant. In the 1850s he was the Chief Engineer on the Pennsylvania Railroad's huge effort to cross the Allegheny Mountains of Pennsylvania, a work that still serves the Norfolk Southern Railway to this day. He was also the Chief Engineer for the Hoosac Tunnel in Massachusetts, also still in service today.
The Civil War was the first great "Railroad War", and how to harness the railroads to support the Union war effort became a major issue. Haupt was tapped by the United States Army to manage the railroads used by the North, both in the North and South. His remarkable engineering abilities kept the huge Union armies well supplied, and he also managed the repair of wrecked railroad facilities which of course were part of the war. His efforts were instrumental in the North effectively using its rail network, equipment, and infrastructure to win the Civil War.
In the Post War period Haupt continued to serve in various executive roles in the US railroad industry. He developed the concept oil could be transported in pipes. Haupt died in 1905 and is buried at the West Laurel Cemetery in Bala Cynwyd, PA.