When: On or near May 9th
The year 1869 was a really exciting time in America. The Central Pacific and Union Pacific railroads were speeding across the wild, American frontier, laying tracks for what would soon become the first Transcontinental rail line. Construction was often done at great peril, as vast areas of the west were truely wild and unsettled. Once completed, train service would be connected from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean, making the world a whole lot smaller. It would also change the face of America.
On May 9, 1869 the tracks of the two railroad companies met up at Promontory Summit, Utah. A golden spike was driven into the final connection of the two tracks. The first Continental rail line was 1,776 miles long. Towns, big and small, would soon sprout up along the route.
Here are just some of the ways you can celebrate this special day:
Take a train ride
Go to a train museum
Explore train and railroad history.
Join a train club - there are many out there
Watch a movie that has trains in it.
Origin of National Train Day:
This special day was created by the National Railroad Passenger Corporation. It was recently created, and first celebrated in 2008. One would think that this special day would have been created many, many years ago.
This is referred to as a "National" day. However, we did not find any congressional records or presidential proclamations for this day.
This Day in History May 9
Thomas Blood, disguised as a clergyman, attempts to steal England's Crown Jewels from the Tower of London. (1671)
The Siege of Fort Detroit begins during Pontiac's War against British forces. (1763)
A "Golden Spike" was driven into the railroad tracks at Promontory Summt, Utah, connecting the tracks of the Union Pacific and Cenral Pacific railroads, creating the first Transcontinental railroad. (1869)
The syrup for Coca Cola is invented by Atlanta Pharmacist John Styth Permerton. (1886)
Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show opens in London. (1887)
The lawnmower is patented. (1899)
Admiral Richard E. Byrd and Floyd Bennett claim to have flown over the North Pole (later discovery of Byrd's diary seems to indicate that this did not happen). (1926)
Holocaust: The SS murders 588 Jewish residents of the Podolian town of Zinkiv (Khmelnytska oblast, Ukraine). The Zoludek Ghetto (in Belarus) is destroyed and all its inhabitants murdered or deported. (1942)
World War II: Ratification in Berlin-Karlshorst of the German unconditional surrender of May 8 in Rheims, France, with the signatures of Marshal Georgy Zhukov for the Soviet Union, and for the Western Headquarters Sir Arthur Tedder, British Air Marshal and Eisenhower's deputy, and for the German side of Colonel-General Hans-Jürgen Stumpff as the representative of the Luftwaffe, Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel as the Chief of Staff of OKW, and Admiral Hans-Georg von Friedeburg as Commander-in-Chief of the Kriegsmarine. (1945)
The Food and Drug Administration announces it will approve birth control as an additional indication for Searle's Enovid, making Enovid the world's first approved oral contraceptive pill. (1960)
Jim Gentile of the Baltimore Orioles becomes the first player in baseball history to hit grand slams in consecutive innings. (1961)
Vietnam War: In Washington, D.C., 75,000 to 100,000 war protesters demonstrate in front of the White House. (1970)
Watergate Scandal: The United States House of Representatives Judiciary Committee opens formal and public impeachment hearings against President Richard Nixon. (1974)