Our Journey to Promontory begins today. We invite you to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the transcontinental railroad with us

Posted by Jim Wrinn
on Wednesday, May 9, 2018

My friends, it’s time to party like it’s 1869 — a year from now. I’m here to share exciting news about how Trains magazine will celebrate the 150th anniversary of America’s first transcontinental railroad and the return of Union Pacific 4-8-8-4 Big Boy steam locomotive No. 4014. We’re busy preparing special publications, videos, and today we’re launching two new blogs, and announcing a tour you can participate in that captures the “Journey to Promontory” spirit as this special project is known.


It’s an important anniversary and one that should not go unrecognized by anyone who proclaims an interest in American railroading. The completion of the first transcontinental railroad is one of the most important events in railroad history and in American history. We want to celebrate this accomplishment and bring new understanding of just how incredible this feat was a century and a half ago and how it remains so today.


The magazine will publish a special issue “Journey to Promontory” in January 2019 and offer a special commemorative issue of Trains in May 2019. Both will be packed with stories, photos, and maps to tell the story of the transcontinental railroad as well as the Union Pacific Railroad of today. Each issue of Trains in the first half of 2019 will cover additional aspects of the work and stories will also feature each of the transcons that followed: Santa Fe, Southern Pacific, Northern Pacific, Great Northern, and Milwaukee Road. Promontory is the northern Utah location where the railroad was completed, and a ceremonial Golden Spike ceremony took place on May 10, 1869. Today it is a National Park Service site, where replicas and re-enactors tell the story of the coming of the railroad. 


Earlier this year, Trains announced a partnership with famed railroad documentary film producer Rich Luckin to create a 1-hour made-for-PBS historical documentary “Journey to Promontory” that will be available this fall. In addition, Trains and noted railroad videographer Kevin Gilliam will partner to make a follow up video showing the Transcontinental railroad today as a major economic artery between Council Bluffs, Iowa, and Sacramento, Calif. Both will be available for purchase at www.kalmbachhobbystore.com.


On the www.TrainsMag.com website, look for two new blogs. One will cover the transcon and the other the history of the Big Boy locomotive. Historian John Hankey launches a regular blog post today about the birth and constriction of the railroad, leading to the Golden Spike ceremony at Promontory Summit, Utah. UP steam expert John Bush will share his insights and observations into the history of the amazing 4-8-8-4 locomotives that once ruled the mainline in Utah and Wyoming. Find the new blogs here:




As they said in advertising: But wait! There’s more!


In order to bring railroad history to life, Trains and Special Interest Tours will offer a unique Journey to Promontory tour May 5 to May 14, 2019 that will cover the route from Sacramento to Council Bluffs, stopping at significant sites, and making sure to be at Promontory on May 10, 2019. Among the highlights will be the use of private dome and sleeper cars on a portion of the route covered by Amtrak’s California Zephyr passenger train.

Details: www.specialinteresttours.com


So, with that, we invite all of our readers and friends to join us for this once-in-a-lifetime event, whether it’s in person, online or in our pages. And keep checking back: Additional events, website offerings, new products, and special issue and DVD coverage of Big Boy No. 4014 back in steam will be announced later. We hope to see many of you in the Utah desert next May.

For today, enjoy No. 149.







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