“Railroad iron is a magician's rod, in its power to evoke the sleeping energies of land and water.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson, American Poet and Philosopher (Lecture read before the Mercantile Library Association in Boston, MA — February 7, 1844)
Happy National Train Day — honoring the 150th anniversary of the completion of the First Transcontinental Railroad — connecting the civilized Eastern United States to the Wild, Wild West for the first time in history. One of the first major American public works projects, the 1,912-mile railroad took more than six years to complete using thousands of laborers working under extremely harsh conditions. After building was complete, the presidents of the Union Pacific Railroad and Central Pacific Railroad drove a ceremonial golden spike into the rail line, uniting the railroads and thus, the United States. The First Transcontinental Railroad revolutionized American travel — a coast-to-coast trip went from being a six-month journey to a seven-day trek across the country.