The driving of the golden spike on May 10, 1869.
National Train Day, a commemoration of the 1869 driving of the golden spike in Promontory Summit in Utah, will be celebrated in San Marcos at the San Marcos Station, 338 South Guadalupe Street at 8 a.m. Saturday. The event is timed to coincide with the departure of the Amtrak train at 8:32 a.m. and will feature a special program and prizes. The public is invited to attend.
San Marcos Mayor Susan Narvaiz and city councilmembers will attend the event and issue a proclamation for the day. The program also includes free train whistles, bike maps, mall coupon books and gift certificates for the purchase of train tickets.
“National Train Day celebrates America’s love for trains going back more than 140 years,” said Narvaiz. “Not only has the railroad helped build our community since the 1880’s, we also see commuter rail as a significant part of our transportation future.”
The railroad helped to establish San Marcos as a thriving center for agriculture and commerce in 1880. Any driver in San Marcos can avow that the city is still a busy location for freight and Amtrak trains. Some 40 Union Pacific trains pass through the city every day.
The City of San Marcos has actively participated in efforts to relocate freight rail to a new corridor east of the city so that a commuter rail service could be established to serve the Austin-San Antonio region. Councilmember John Thomaides serves as secretary for the Lone Star Rail District Board of Directors.
The local National Train Day celebration is one of many taking place across the country commemorating the 141st anniversary of joining of the Central Pacific and Union Pacific railroads to create the first transcontinental railroad. On May 10 in 1869, Leland Stanford, drove the ceremonial golden spike to signify the cross country connection.
The driving of the golden spike was enormously crowded, as any picture of the event shows. When the spike was driven in, the news was telegraphed across the country, leading some historians to consider it one of the first nationwide media events.