150th anniversary celebration of the Transcontinental Railroad comes to Truckee

Judy DePuy
Special to the Sierra Sun


WHAT: Sesquincentennial of Transcontinental Railroad Ribbon Cutting

WHY: Celebrating 150th anniversary of the Transcontinental Railroad completion

WHEN: Noon, May 10

WHERE: Truckee Train Depot, 10065 Donner Pass Rd., Truckee


One hundred fifty years ago on May 10, 1869 the Transcontinental Railroad was completed, forever changing the landscape of the Truckee-Donner Summit area.

The railroad made traveling across the Sierra relatively painless. Instead of taking seven months or more to go from New York to San Francisco, the railroad shortened the trip significantly. By 1876, the Transcontinental Express railroad made the trip across the country in less than seven days.

The sesquicentennial (150th anniversary) of the transcontinental railroad marks the spanning of the continent with rails and a revolution to this area and the country. The railroad was critical to President Abraham Lincoln who realized that he had to unite our country. This was the period of the Civil War and in 1862 he passed the Pacific Railroad Act enabling the construction of the transcontinental railroad.

The railroad brought both freight and travelers to Truckee. The train helped create our local lumber and ice industries. Writers and artists came to capture the beauty of the area. The railroad led the way for the first transcontinental highway system, telephone line, pipeline and postal air route. It opened Truckee-Donner Summit to snow sports, summer activities and the filming of numerous movies (over 140) in the area.

The Truckee-Donner Summit Historical and Railroad Societies invite you to join in celebrating this wondrous feat. From May 10 through Labor Day enjoy various activities in this area including:

Fourth of July parade in Truckee with a Transcontinental/Railroad theme.

Passport program where visitors and locals can pick up ‘passports’ that they take to various locations around Truckee and Donner Summit to learn about our history. At each location people can get their passport ‘stamped’ with a unique stamp at the site.

Steam and electric train runs at the Truckee Regional Park for children and adults.

Numerous historical/educational walk and hikes in the Truckee-Donner Summit areas.

Historical talks speaker series.

Truckee’s Old Jail Museum will be open this summer on Truckee Thursdays from 5-8 p.m. and weekends from 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

Truckee-Donner Railroad Society Caboose Museum will be open every weekend from 10 a.m-4 p.m. (weather dependent).

Regular articles in local publications highlighting the history of Truckee and Donner Summit.

These activities are family friendly. For more information and a list of summer activities going on in Truckee to celebrate the sesquicentennial of the Transcontinental Railroad go to or the Facebook page: Donner Summit-Truckee Golden Spike Celebration.

Support Local Journalism


Support Local Journalism

Readers around Lake Tahoe, Truckee, and beyond make the Sierra Sun's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.