Connellsville set to debut model-railroad train in 2014
On May 10, 1869, crowds gathered at Promontory Point, Utah, to watch a gold spike be hammered into a steel track, completing America's first transcontinental railroad.
The 2,000-mile railroad project began 150 years ago — in 1863 — in Omaha, Neb. Construction was stymied until after the Civil War ended in 1865, but really took off afterward.
When the gold spike joined the Central Pacific and Union Pacific railroads, it changed America forever. For the first time, people could travel from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean in several days rather than several months.
At first, the back-breaking construction was handled mostly by white workers — until silver was discovered in Nevada in 1865. Many men dropped their pickaxes and shovels to run off prospecting, so the railroad companies began to hire Chinese immigrants. By the time the railroad was finished, more than 10,000 of workers were Chinese.
The first trip along the new railroad in 1869 was from Omaha to Sacramento, Calif. The trip set the tone for coast-to-coast travel for passengers and ushered in a new era for transporting freight — from dry goods to vegetables and livestock.
The railroad boom lasted until the mid-20th century, when trucking became the transportation of choice because of lower freight costs. With the rising cost of fuels in recent years, however, railroads are having better times again.
National Train Day is celebrated on the Saturday near to May 10 each year. Amtrak started the holiday in 2008 to promote rail travel and to honor the history of America's railroads.
Connellsville is expected to observe the celebration next year, when the city's model-railroad train premieres in May.
Many cities and towns host National Train Day activities, especially in metropolitan areas with major railroad hubs — such as Washington, Chicago and Los Angeles.
Pennsylvania has several National Train Day celebrations for Saturday, including Harrisburg and Philadelphia, as well as several smaller towns in central and eastern Pennsylvania.
Laura Szepesi is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- A Christmas story: Childhood holiday in Dunbar recollected
- Trinity United Presbyterian offers Festival of Lessons and Carols
- Uniontown self-help book author finds ‘Inner Peace’ through writing
- Connellsville teen charged in attack on 80-year-old man, daughter allowed to play high school basketball
- Uniontown man charged with raping 2 girls
- Fallen Perryopolis police officer chased his dream
- Connellsville Council approves parking plans for proposed hotel
- Elementary girl charged in Connellsville school bus assault
- Stanley Cup coming to Ice Mine in Dunbar Township
- Connellsville Faith Fighters’ fundraiser brings warmth to many
- Brownsville police chase leaves trail of damage