Ogden's plan for the Golden Spike anniversary: Street festival and shuttle buses

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OGDEN, Utah — Visitor estimates for this northern railroad center’s 150th anniversary celebration of the Golden Spike are “in the tens of thousands.” For railfans exhausted after days of train chasing and photography, Ogden offers four days of historically-themed activities, time to charge camera batteries, and an opportunity to learn about the glorious events of 1869.

At the center of Ogden’s Golden Spike festivities is the May 9-11 Heritage Festival and displays of Union Pacific Big Boy No. 4014 and 4-8-4 No. 844.
For railroad enthusiasts, the highlight of Ogden’s celebration is May 9 when No. 4014 and No. 844 will meet nose to nose just south of Union Station in a pose mimicking that of the Jupiter and No. 119 on May 10, 1869. UP’s commemoration of the Golden Spike begins at 10:30 a.m.

The heritage festival includes exhibits at Ogden Union Station, historic presentations, live music, performances, vendors, community activities, and more.
During the three-day Heritage Festival, Wall Avenue – running north-south in front of Union Station – will be pedestrian only from 24th Street south to 26th Street. Wall Avenue will be for local traffic only between 31st Street, which is State Route 79, and 21st Street, also known as State Route 104, says Vic Saunders, Utah Department of Transportation’s Region 1 Communications Manager.

Ogden’s 25th Street, filled with restaurants and trendy shops, also will also be a pedestrian-only zone from the front of Union Station east two blocks to Grant Avenue.
“Traffic will be maintained on the 24th Street overpass,” says Ogden Police spokesman Lt. Will Farr. Reports of a possible 24th Street overpass closure are incorrect (and possibly wishful thinking). Overpass traffic lanes and its adjacent sidewalks are narrow, so photographers may have to jockey for a position.
Organizers say arriving early for events, using remote parking and shuttle buses, and patience are keys to enjoying the festivities. Shuttle buses will operate between four remote parking lots during the Heritage Festival. Visit Ogden says shuttle buses will operate so visitors will never have to wait more than 30 minutes for service.

Detailed maps of parking and road closures are available online.

Shuttle lots and buses are color-coded. Those who elect to park in the purple lot at the Dee Events Center on Weber State University’s campus, an historical narration will be provided during the ride to and from the Union Station and festival’s drop-off point.

“Visitors should keep watching social media outlets for updates on parking, shuttle services, and events,” Farr says. Websites with additional details are maintained by Visit Ogden; the Ogden Police Department; and the Spike150 organization that has been in charge of statewide events and also May 10-12 events at Promontory.




Not to be left out is the joint convention of the Southern Pacific Historical & Technical Society and the Union Pacific Historical Society. Members of each group as well as non-members are invited to attend the sessions between May 9 and May 11. Historical presentations, a model exhibit room, a Saturday night banquet, and May 10 trip to Promontory are on the agenda. Additional information is available on the groups’ website.

The Railway & Locomotive Historical Society is also meeting in Ogden with a sold out event, and National Railway Historical Society is in nearby Salt Lake City with most events sold out as well.

While the finishing touches for Ogden’s celebrations are being made, Utah and Wyoming state transportation departments and highway patrols advise additional traffic control plans are under development for days and routes with steam operations. Additional active patrols and other restrictions are being considered. “Train chasing and pacing, even if there are two people in a vehicle and one is supposedly focusing on the driving, is an inherently risky endeavor,” one law enforcement officer recently observed. “This is one reason we’re strongly suggesting that photographers find one or two really outstanding photo locations each day, create one or two really great images, and avoid multiple episodes of dangerous driving.”

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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