Lecture details Transcontinental Railroad’s effect on average citizens

The completion of the Transcontinental Railroad in 1869 changed America in myriad ways, not the least of which was the ability to traverse the country in days rather than weeks or months by wagon or ship.

The effect the railroad had on the lives of the average citizen is the subject of the latest in a series on the Transcontinental Railroad — related events leading up to the opening of the Nevada State Railroad Museum’s new exhibit, “The Transcontinental Railroad: What a Difference It Made.”

Railroad Museum director Dan Thielen will give the lecture at 6 p.m. Thursday at the museum, 2180 S. Carson St. The event starts at 6 p.m. Tickets are $6 for adults, free for members of the Friends of the Nevada State Railroad Museum and for children 17 and younger.

At Thursday’s lecture, Thielen will discuss a number of ways the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad affected everyone, including significant changes in communications, food, lifestyle and travel.

The museum’s new exhibit is planned to be unveiled by May 10, the 150th anniversary of the “Golden Spike” ceremony at Promontory Summit, Utah. That is when work crews from the Central Pacific Railroad from the West and Union Pacific Railroad from the east met to complete the link.

The rail car that carried Central Pacific President Leland Stanford and other dignitaries along with the golden spike, is still in existence and belongs to the Nevada State Railroad Museum. It will be featured along with the restored locomotives Dayton and Inyo, which have both been used at Promontory to depict the locomotives that were there that day.

Upcoming events at the Railroad Museum include:

Rust, Splinters and Woodpeckers – The New Exhibit at the Nevada State Railroad Museum

When: 6 p.m., May 9

Where: Nevada State Railroad Museum, Carson City

Presenter: Wendell Huffman, Curator of History, Nevada State Railroad Museum

Event description: A discussion of the new exhibit on the transcontinental railroad and the role artifacts in the Nevada State Railroad Museum’s collection played in it.

Reenactment of the laying of the Gold and Silver Spikes

When: Noon, May 10

Where: Nevada State Railroad Museum, Carson City

Event description: A recreation of the scene at Promontory Summit when the transcontinental railroad was connected. The museum’s locomotives Inyo and Dayton will reprise their roles in the anniversary of the historic date.


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