May 8th National Train Day

Trains built America. Oh sure, today they don’t seem nearly as important even though they haul more freight than any other cargo container other than a ship. We forget about them and get annoyed when we have to wait at a train crossing but we owe an entire country to them. Today was created by the National Railroad Passenger Corporation in 2008 so that we would remember. The date is the closest Saturday to May 10th when the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific officially met at Promontory Summit, Utah completing the Transcontinental Railroad on May 9th, 1869. Oddly, or perhaps on purpose, it was exactly 1,776 miles long.

How to celebrate – Take a train ride. Read about the history of trains. Build a model train diorama.

May 9th National Train Day

On May 9th, 1869 the Central Pacific and Union Pacific rail lines met at Promontory Summit, Utah and the Golden Spike was driven to connect the two. Suddenly, Americans could travel coast to coast over 1,776 miles of track. I find it interesting it was 1776! Trains have done a great deal for our country, and continue to although passenger rail has dropped tremendously over the years. The day was created by the National Passenger Railroad Corporation to be celebrated on the Saturday closest to May 10th when actual service began. Traveling by train can be very enjoyable. Though costs are nearly as much, or more, than flying, you get to see a great deal more of the country and you can celebrate when life was slower and more easy paced.

How to celebrate – Take a train ride. Build a model train set. Study the history of trains.