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Bells, whistles and steam herald US Transcontinental Railroad's 150th birthday

Updated : May 11, 2019 02:30 PM IST

As train bells clanged and steam whistles tooted, thousands of people on Friday witnessed the re-enactment of a ceremony in Utah's high desert that marked the completion of the first railroad to span the North American continent 150 years ago.

The spectacle - recreating a historical moment that took place on May 10, 1869 - featured the driving of a golden spike into a replica of the final railroad tie that joined the Union Pacific Railroad with the Central Pacific Railroad.

The linking of East and West was the culmination of a 6-1/2-year feat of 19th-century engineering that transformed the American frontier as the nation was emerging from a bloody civil war. The site at Promontory Summit, 66 miles (106 km) northwest of Salt Lake City, is now preserved as a national historic park, named Golden Spike.

People pose for photo during the 150th anniversary of the Transcontinental Railroad's completion at Golden Spike National Historical Park in Promontory, Utah, US. REUTERS/Terray Sylvester
People pose for photo during the 150th anniversary of the Transcontinental Railroad's completion at Golden Spike National Historical Park in Promontory, Utah, US. REUTERS/Terray Sylvester
National Park Service volunteers and others re-enact Andrew J. Russell's 1869
National Park Service volunteers and others re-enact Andrew J. Russell's 1869 "Champagne Toast" photo on the 150th anniversary of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad at Golden Spike National Historical Park in Promontory, Utah. REUTERS/Terray Sylvester
A replica of the historic No. 119 steam locomotive rolls across Promontory Summit on the 150th anniversary of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad at Golden Spike National Historical Park in Promontory, Utah. REUTERS/Terray Sylvester
A replica of the historic No. 119 steam locomotive rolls across Promontory Summit on the 150th anniversary of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad at Golden Spike National Historical Park in Promontory, Utah. REUTERS/Terray Sylvester
National Park Service volunteer Patrick Jeffrey from Park City walks past replicas of the historic Jupiter and No. 119 steam locomotives on the 150th anniversary of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad at Golden Spike National Historical Park in Promontory, Utah. REUTERS/Terray Sylvester TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
National Park Service volunteer Patrick Jeffrey from Park City walks past replicas of the historic Jupiter and No. 119 steam locomotives on the 150th anniversary of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad at Golden Spike National Historical Park in Promontory, Utah. REUTERS/Terray Sylvester TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Scott Nelson, 72, of Perry, plays railroad baron Leland Stanford in a historical re-enactment on the 150th anniversary of the Transcontinental Railroad's completion at Golden Spike National Historical Park in Promontory. REUTERS/Terray Sylvester
Scott Nelson, 72, of Perry, plays railroad baron Leland Stanford in a historical re-enactment on the 150th anniversary of the Transcontinental Railroad's completion at Golden Spike National Historical Park in Promontory. REUTERS/Terray Sylvester
Performers pretend to drive the final spikes of the Transcontinental Railroad on the 150th anniversary of the railroad's completion at Golden Spike National Historical Park in Promontory, Utah. REUTERS/Terray Sylvester
Performers pretend to drive the final spikes of the Transcontinental Railroad on the 150th anniversary of the railroad's completion at Golden Spike National Historical Park in Promontory, Utah. REUTERS/Terray Sylvester
Crowds walk past historic trains before the 150th anniversary of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad at Ogden Union Station in Ogden, Utah. REUTERS/Terray Sylvester
Crowds walk past historic trains before the 150th anniversary of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad at Ogden Union Station in Ogden, Utah. REUTERS/Terray Sylvester
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