Update: Crowds gather for 150th railroad anniversary
By The Associated Press05/10/19, 16:39
The Latest on the 150th anniversary of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad (all times local):
People from all over the country are gathering at a remote spot in Utah to celebrate Friday’s 150th anniversary of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad.
Bill Hanmer drove across the country with his wife from their Middletown, Virginia, home to check off a bucket list item. The 73-year-old pilot and train enthusiast says he desperately wanted to attend the 100th anniversary event in 1969 but couldn’t afford it.
Some at the Golden Spike National Historical Park about 90 miles (145 kilometers) northwest of Salt Lake City wore dresses, scarfs and top hats and bonnets from the historical era.
The completed railroad shortened cross-county travel from as long as six months to about 10 days.
Thousands of people are expected to gather Friday at a remote spot in the Utah desert where 150 years ago the Transcontinental Railroad was completed, triggering a famous telegraph that set off celebrations around the nation.
Friday’s event at the Golden Spike National Historic Park about 90 miles (145 kilometers) northwest of Salt Lake City will feature remarks by U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and a reenactment of the final “golden spike” that was hammered into the ground.
The completed railroad shortened cross-county travel from as long as six months to about 10 days and transformed the way the country handled business, shipping and commerce.
Utah state historian Brad Westwood says the railroad “psychologically and symbolically bound the country” that had been through the Civil War several years earlier.