Union Pacific to mark transcontinental railroad anniversary

Union Pacific’s steam locomotive known as Living Legend No. 844. Photo – Union Pacific Railroad/Ron Kennedy

(Source: Progressive Railroading 04/11/2019)

Union Pacific Railroad will host a celebration May 9 in Ogden, Utah, to mark the 150th anniversary of the transcontinental railroad’s completion. 

The ceremony will be held at Ogden Union Station, a day ahead of Utah’s celebration at Promontory Summit where the “golden spike” was originally tapped into place, according to a UP press release.

“This celebration is Union Pacific’s way of reflecting on our ancestors’ remarkable achievements that connected the nation while reminding us of the enormous responsibility we have for our nation’s future,” said Scott Moore, senior vice president-corporate relations and chief administrative officer.

The May 9 event will feature UP’s iconic steam locomotives, the Living Legend No. 844 and Big Boy No. 4014. The two vehicles will meet to recreate the historic image taken at Promontory Summit on May 10, 1869. One of eight left in the world, the Big Boy is newly refurbished and the only one in operation, UP officials said.

Following the steam meet, UP Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Lance Fritz and Utah Gov. Gary Herbert will be joined by Margaret Yee and Sandy Dodge to tap a ceremonial spike. Yee’s ancestors were among thousands of Chinese immigrants who forged the transcontinental railroad for Central Pacific. Dodge is a descendent of Gen. Grenville Dodge, a Civil War veteran and UP’s chief engineer during construction.

The steam locomotives will remain on display at Ogden Union Station until May 12, when they return home to the Steam Shop in Cheyenne, Wyoming. A limited number of tickets will be sold for a ride onboard UP’s Heritage Fleet cars, pulled by Nos. 4014 and 844, between Ogden, Utah, and Evanston, Wyoming. 

Guests will return to Ogden via a chartered bus. The trip, which includes a two-hour behind-the-scenes tour at Ogden Union Station, is a fundraiser for Spike 150, a Utah initiative to commemorate the 150th anniversary, and the Union Pacific Museum.

The 150th anniversary celebration will continue throughout the year, with No. 4014 visiting many states across the UP system. A schedule will be posted at upsteam.com.