The National Railroad Passenger Corporation created the National Train Day in 2008, declaring the closest Saturday to May 10th the day to celebrate. This might account somewhat for the accuracy in train schedules. We’ll get there the closest hour to the hour scheduled to arrive… even if that is a couple days behind the time set aside.
The date commemorates the joining of the Central Pacific and Union Pacific at Promontory Summit in Utah on May 9th, 1869. The tracks covered more than 1,776 miles. They were attached by a golden spike. Quite an accomplishment but why is the closest date to the 10th when they were joined on the 9th? Again, the dates just don’t match up!
I remember riding on a train from Florida to Virginia on a day the time changed, the train basically stopped on the tracks to wait for that hour so when they said we would arrive at 8 A.M. we arrived at 8 AM. It didn’t matter that we could have gotten there an hour earlier! We sat on the tracks for time to catch up to us.
But we do owe trains a lot more than we realize on the surface. For nearly a century they carried people faster than they had ever gone before and even today haul more cargo than any other means of transportation. Today trains are used more to move materials along the way than people. But just as we look forward to a time when we can be transported like they do on the Star Ship Enterprise, people use to look at the trains in the same way.
So when you have to stop and wait at a railroad crossing for the train to pass realize that you are watching history go by.
How to celebrate – Take a train ride! Study the history of trains. Learn to appreciate all trains have provided.