National Train Day

The National Train Day is a holiday started by Amtrak (the service mark of the National Railroad Passenger Corporation in the United States) in 2008.  It has been held annually on the closest Saturday to 10 May, the anniversary of the driving of the Golden Spike in Promontory, Utah which marks the completion of the first transcontinental railroad (the Pacific Railroad).  The Pacific Railroad connects existing railroad networks in Eastern United States and the Pacific coast from Sacramento, California and Omaha, Nebraska.  It was completed in 1869 (16 years before the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1885, the first transcontinental railroad of Canada) by the Union Pacific Railroad and the Central Pacific Railroad of California (the predecessor of the Southern Pacific Railroad, which was eventually absorbed by UP in 1996).

Ceremony of the Driving of the Golden Spike on 10 May 1869

Union Pacific Railroad Poster for the Opening of the Pacific Railroad

The only passenger train left traveling on portions of the original Pacific Railroad today is the daily service, the California Zephyr, between Chicago, Illinois and Emeryville, California via Denver, Colorado.

Amtrak Train 5/6 the California Zephyr

Major celebrations of the National Train Day are held at Washington DC Union Station, Chicago Union Station, Philadelphia 30th Street Station, and Los Angeles Union Station, where model trains, train equipment, and other exhibitions are on display.  Live entertainment and children's entertainment are also provided at these locations.  Smaller celebratory events are also held in other cities throughout the United States.  The kick-off event of the National Train Day this year is held at New York Pennsylvania Station (Penn Station) from 12:30 to 14:00 on 7 May (today).


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