Remembering the Driving of the Golden Spike.

AuthorLeffler, Lori
PositionCOUNT DOWN TO 75 - Reprint

Founded in 1944, NDTA will be celebrating its 75th Anniversary in 2019. To commemorate this milestone event, we will be publishing a series of articles selected from our archives that will highlight important events in our Association's history.

Throughout our country's history, there has been no more momentous achievement in transportation than the completion of the transcontinental railroad that bound our country together East to West.

Yes, there have been notable other events e.g. the invention of the helicopter, the Interstate Highway System, first air flight, military sea and land vehicles developed, etc. But nothing quite captured the excitement of driving the Golden Spike.

In 1994, NDTA printed a full color photo of the occasion, as well as a feature article about the 125th Anniversary Celebration. Below is a reprint of the DTJ article, which was provided courtesy of Union Pacific Railroad for the June 1994 edition.


May 10th, 1994 marked the 125th anniversary of the driving of the Golden Spike. This historic event linked the Central and Union Pacific railroads at Promontory Summit, Utah, and established the first transcontinental railroad. No other nineteenth-century achievement did more to shape the United States and lead it into the modern era.

The anniversary was commemorated by a celebration at the Golden Spike National Historic Site. This included an elaborate re-enactment of the 1869 event, as well as remarks by Utah Governor Mike Leavitt and Union Pacific Corporation Chairman Drew Lewis.

Also featured were colorful replicas of the two locomotives--Union Pacific's No. 119 and Central Pacific's Jupiter--that met cowcatcher to cowcatcher on May 10, 1869. A.J. Russell's photograph of this event often is considered the best-known railroad photo in American history.

Union Pacific Railroad is a longstanding member of the National Defense Transportation Association. Jack Nelson, a UP product manager for government traffic, is Nebraska State Vice President for NDTA.

More than 10,000 railroad...

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