Niles Canyon Railway to celebrate 150th anniversary of the Golden Spike

RELATED TOPICS: STEAM PRESERVATION
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Niles Canyon Railway, which fields both steam and diesel power, will celebrate the 150th anniversary of the transcontinental railroad in 2019.
Trains: Jim Wrinn
NILES, Calif. — 2019 will be a big year for the Pacific Locomotive Association and its Niles Canyon Railway.

The association will celebrate the 150th anniversary of the transcontinental railroad with events starting the weekend of May 11, 2019 and continuing through Sept. 6, which marks the date the first train reach San Francisco.

“Every weekend will have a celebration theme, with at least one major weekend event each month,” says President Henry Baum.

The Niles Canyon Railway is the only tourist railroad that runs on the original and best preserved
alignment of the transcontinental railroad, now listed on the National Register of Historic
Places. Whether it is the original stone retaining walls built in 1865, the original square Western
Union telegraph poles (installed circa 1861) to the later ‘semaphore’ signaling improvements
installed in the early 1900s and revamped to modern ‘searchlight’ signals in the 1950s, as well as
the connections with industry and agriculture that grew up along the right-of-way, the entire
history of the corridor will be celebrated, Baum says.

“While we are still assembling our calendar of events, we would invite everyone to contact us if
there are particular historic events that we should focus on. Any community ties that we could highlight should also be included,” Baum says, adding that the association is seeking sponsors and partners.

“We will be focusing on the importance of Chinese immigrants to the railroad construction, and the impact the Chinese have had on their new communities. “We hope to have visits from various historic steam locomotives for excursions, and we will be re-introducing our newly restored Southern Pacific No. 9010, the last surviving Krauss-Maffei diesel hydraulic locomotive, a small fleet of which were purchased by Southern Pacific in the 1960s and retired and scrapped in 1969.”


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