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Golden Spike 2007

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  • Member since
    August 2003
  • From: Near Promentory UT
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Golden Spike 2007
Posted by dldance on Friday, May 11, 2007 10:34 PM

Spokyone asked for a report of this years Golden Spike celebration.

the day starts at 6:30 am with two of the firemen cleaning out the fireboxes and starting the fires in the engines.  While the boilers are coming up to pressure, the rest of the volunteers polish the locomotives from whistle to rail and from pilot to tender coupler.  Since Golden Spike offers cap tours on May 10th, we have let the coal and wood supplies in the tender diminish to just a little bit more than the day's needs.  Then we clean the inside of the tender box as we will be receiving guests.  After topping off the water in the tenders, about 9 am the engines roll out of the house.  Another good look around - making sure no tools or polishing supplies got left and we are ready for the safety briefing and schedule walkthrough.  At 9:30 prompt the engines operate to the Last Spike Site.

The first order of business is the Champagne Photo re-enactment.  That is the famous photo with the champagne bottle and two beer bottles.  [By the way the bottles we use are antiques and are carefully handled.  They are packed in cotton waste under the engineers seat box for transport.]  The archeologists have figured out the exact spot of this photo by triangulating from hill tops in the picture.

We then do the first re-enactment.  Of course, the CP engine is already there (they were there 2 days earlier in 1869.)  Se we bring the UP engine in with full bells and whistles to start the show.  The program pretty much follows the newspaper reports.  Both spike drivers miss.  They are really good at missing as they have been missing the spike since 1969.  The the track foremen step in and finish the job.  The gold spike is not driven but just set in place in predrilled holes as was the original.  The telegrapher sends out D-O-N-E and the engineers respond with more bells and whistles.

Following the re-enactment, there is often a special speaker.  This year Jim Wilke spoke about locomotive colors in 1869.  [Each year uncovers additional information about the locomotives and the site.  Where and when possible it has been incorporated.  For example, the new locomotive pilots were made with square headed bolts and nuts.]

Following the speaker we do cab tours.  This year we had hundreds of school kids.  Boys will generally climb in and out of the cab without assistance - but girls like to be helped.  I must have lifted 100 little girls out of the cab - and my shoulders are feeling it today.

We then did another steam engine demonstration and roll-bys on parallel tracks and then the re-enactment was repeated.  Finally the crowd goes home and we do another steam demonstration and return the engines to the house. 

Since the engine house is at the top of a grade, the goal for the fireman is to have enough steam to top the hill with 130 lbs of pressure and a dying fire in the box.  That is enough steam to run the injectors a couple of more times to fill the boiler to the top of the glass.  We just close the dampers and let the fire die out slowly.  After that the crew celebrates.

dd 

ps - join us next year May 10th, 2008, Promontory, Utah.

  • Member since
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  • From: Aledo IL
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Posted by spokyone on Friday, May 11, 2007 11:10 PM

DD.  Thanks for the great description. Hope the weather was as nice there as it was here.

  • Member since
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  • From: Just outside Atlanta
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Posted by jockellis on Thursday, June 14, 2007 1:16 AM
G'day, Y'all,
Next year in Promontory.

Jock Ellis Cumming, GA US of A Georgia Association of Railroad Passengers

  • Member since
    August 2003
  • From: Near Promentory UT
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Posted by dldance on Friday, June 15, 2007 11:05 AM

 jockellis wrote:
G'day, Y'all,
Next year in Promontory.

let me know ahead of time if you are coming.

dd

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Posted by gacuster on Monday, June 18, 2007 7:35 PM
Seems to me I remember seeing a photograph of the original golden spike and the head was dimpled which historians speculated might have been caused by Army officers pushing the spike into the tie with their swords.  Any truth to this?
  • Member since
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  • From: Near Promentory UT
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Posted by dldance on Monday, June 18, 2007 10:15 PM

 gacuster wrote:
Seems to me I remember seeing a photograph of the original golden spike and the head was dimpled which historians speculated might have been caused by Army officers pushing the spike into the tie with their swords.  Any truth to this?
The original gold spike that was used ( there were actually 4 spikes cast) is on display at the Stanford Library at Stanford University.  It does have dents in the head.  That spike was dropped into a predrilled hole during the festivities - not driven.  The actual last spike was an ordinary steel spike that was driven in with a spike maul.

dd

  • Member since
    April 2004
  • 142 posts
Posted by gacuster on Tuesday, June 19, 2007 2:57 PM
 dldance wrote:

 gacuster wrote:
Seems to me I remember seeing a photograph of the original golden spike and the head was dimpled which historians speculated might have been caused by Army officers pushing the spike into the tie with their swords.  Any truth to this?
The original gold spike that was used ( there were actually 4 spikes cast) is on display at the Stanford Library at Stanford University.  It does have dents in the head.  That spike was dropped into a predrilled hole during the festivities - not driven.  The actual last spike was an ordinary steel spike that was driven in with a spike maul.

ddThanks for the reply and the interesting narrative of the 2007 ceremony.

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  • From: Just outside Atlanta
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Posted by jockellis on Wednesday, June 20, 2007 11:19 PM
G'day, Y'all,
Didance, will do. However, "Next year in Israel" is a Jewish expression of hope. I just changed it to Promontory. But searching the web for Promontory, which I understand is in Elder County, I don't find much to tell me what Promontory is. Is there any place to stay near the historic site? Is it expensive? How many people go? I really want to see this and, who knows, maybe it will be next year.
I noticed that the historic site sells Dee Brown's book, "Hear that Lonesome Whistle Blow." This might be the best book on politics I've ever read. It was hilarious. Those 19th century politicians were such crooks. Luckily, political shenanigans don't happen these days.

Jock Ellis Cumming, GA US of A Georgia Association of Railroad Passengers

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