National Train Day on May 11 marks the 42nd anniversary of Amtrak, which began operating most of the nation's passenger service on May 1, 1971. That date also marks the 162nd year since the ground-breaking for the Sunbury and Erie Railroad, which took place near Lock Haven on June 3, 1851. That railroad became the Philadelphia and Erie Railroad, connecting Erie with Philadelphia by 1864. It represented one of the earliest large-scale railroad building projects in the United States. The first passenger train arrived at the Jamestown station on August 25, 1860. This year, 2013, also marks the transcontinental railroad at Promontory Summit in Utah on May 10, 1869, which linked the United States from coast to coast by rail, reducing travel time from four months to one week.
All of this and much more will be celebrated at this year's National Train Day celebration on Saturday, May 11, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 211-217 W. Second St. in Jamestown. This will be an open house for the newly-renovated Erie-Lackawanna Railroad Station. There will be train displays and exhibits, rolling stock of Western New York and Pennsylvania Railroad, work cars, artwork, visits from railroad author Kenneth Springirth and author Chuck Spinner, and the Western New York Railroad society will be present. The Historic Jamestown Gateway Train Station invites the public to join them in celebrating the railroad, which has always been instrumental in American progress. Learn what the railroad has done for industry, travel and civilization, and what it still does today to keep America running. For more information, call 483-3041.