More on the Golden Spike events in Utah. Let’s call this Part 2.
My last blog entry has been a while ago. I have just not been able to find time to do a “Part 2” to the original blog post regarding the Golden Spike events. (In case anybody needs a refresher regarding Part 1, here is a link) Anyway, it has been hectic around these parts: with what company from Australia, kitchen renovation, electric vehicle chargers that blow up and other assorted distractions! Now I have finally found a few hours to bang out a new blog entry.
Since the National Railway Historical Society’s (NRHS) annual convention took place in downtown Salt Lake City, the organization had chartered a fleet of buses for the run from Salt Lake City to Golden Spike National Historic Park
It takes a bit over two hours to get to that National Park from Salt Lake. Once we got there confusion abounded. Typically of the NRHS, the left hand didn’t know what the right hand was doing: the NRHS representative riding on our bus could not find our reserved seating area, so we just followed him around like so many sheep. After much to and fro between him and somebody else via his radio, we were somewhat unceremoniously dumped in a seating area and our good man disappeared. I was a bit peeved, just a bit! This was just not going to do at all. The whole seating was in a sort of hollow part of the ground. In front of us was a track on a bit of a ridge, already crowed with hundreds of people standing on it. All we did see was rear-ends. This just was not going to do. So I decided to strike out and find a better spot to get some photos and videos. That turned out to be a futile endeavor also. I was never able to get close enough to the front where things were happening to get decent photographs. Around 20000 folks had shown up for the event and, as I surmised, our assigned, paid for seating area was at the opposite site from where we had been told to sit. That we did not figure out until it was time to board the buses for the trip back to Salt Lake City. On top of all of that, NRHS somehow managed to screw up the process to get the buses to the boarding area and the boarding process itself. Suffice it to say that there were a lot of unhappy people…
The event itself was fairly typical. Having said that, this time around however, the contribution to the building of the railroad by various immigrant groups was very much acknowledged. Unfortunately most of the speeches were the usual, empty and politicized stick. There were a few remarkable and shining exceptions to the political dronings on: Connie Young Yu spoke about her great-grandfather’s experience working on the railroad as a Chinese immigrant. And Pulitzer Price winning author Jon Meecham gave a brilliant speech about immigrants and American unity, which must have made some heads explode in The White House. Even our US Secretary of Transportation, Elaine Chao, put in her two cents worth. Let me see: she was born in Taiwan and is an immigrant to the US. I wonder if Trump will tell her: “to go back to your country” anytime soon? But I digress.
So here are a few photographs of the event:
That is as close as I was able to get to the stage. (Two photos by Ralf Meier)
Even the United States Postal Service got into the act and had a tent set up hawking First Day Covers and first day issue stamps commemorating this event.
Not to be left out LGB/Märklin has come up with a commemorative set in G scale, depicting the Golden Spike scene. It is all brass, has oodles of sound effects and is beautifully detailed. Beautifully priced also: $3000.00
Too rich for my blood.
LGB/Märklin also did a YouTube video regarding this model. (In German only) Link here.
Included in the presentation box is a very nice “Cliff Notes” like summary of the history of the transcontinental railroad. I have attached it as a pdf:
Photos by Ralf Meier, unless otherwise attributed. (Sony AC6500 & iPhone X)