The Cut at Empire

This photograph displays construction at the cut at Empire during January of 1910.  We are looking for more information about the construction work being performed in the image.2013.8.86What are the machines in the center of the image called? What are they used for? What about the machines in the background?

What kind of construction are the men working on at this point? We see railroad tracks. but no trains. Are these tracks for trains or other equipment?

Do you know anything about this particular location?

If you have any information about the Cut at Empire, please share with us in the comments section!