Illinois museum honors Golden Spike ceremony with recreation

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Monticello Museum Steamer 401 in 150th pose
Monticello (Ill.) Railway Museum volunteers pose with two steam locomotives in an attempt to re-create the famed Champagne Photo of the original Transcontinental Railroad ceremony from May 10, 1869.
Steve Smedley
MONTICELLO, Ill. — Monticello Railway Museum in central Illinois gave a nod to history at the end of Saturday and Sunday runs of Southern Railway 2-8-0 No. 401. Members posed the oil burning, 1917, Baldwin-built, Consolidation, next to Republic Steel 0-6-0 No. 191, on the museum's first steam operating weekend of May 18 and 19.

The volunteers' set-up was meant to evoke the famed Champagne photo from the original festivities celebrating the completion of the first Transcontinental Railroad at Promontory Summit, Utah, on May 10, 1869.

Museum volunteer Daniel Frye, 23, of nearby Forsyth, Ill., said the idea of the re-enactment had been ''thrown around for awhile, we knew logistically it would be difficult to make it historically accurate. We wanted to honor our volunteers while also tipping our hat to the 150th anniversary of the Golden Spike and completion of the Transcontinental Railroad in Utah."

Frye used the May 2019 issue of Trains to pose several members and passengers Sunday evening on the museum grounds.
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