Union Pacific Passenger Service Travels Through Walkerton Commemorating 150 Years
This Summer the Union Pacific Railway is celebrating the 150 year anniversary of the completion of the intercontinental railway that linked the east coast to the west. Just recently, during July a colossal "Union Pacific" passenger train traveled through the "Walkerton Diamond" eastbound towards New York.
Michael A. Polk captured the image of the massive celebration train commemorating the Union Pacific link between the coasts. It's the first time in decades Walkertonians witnessed a passenger train roll through the community.
The celebration of the Promontory Utah spike that linked the east and west began on the anniversary of May 9th. It was during the 19th century that laborers worked intensely to meet the schedule to put Ogden, Utah on the map. When the train passed through Walkerton it has been part of a year long party including stops using steam locomotives and diesel like the one photographed.
The town of Walkerton has always been a link for major railroads after town founder, James Walker, began the "Cincinnati, Peru, and Chicago Railroad." Walker, who was a LaPorte banker built the town in 1856. Walkerton was laid out by the railroad surveyors and, the first lot was taken by C.W.N. Stephens, who moved his general store from already existing, nearby, West York.
Over time the Walkerton railway triangle included 4 train stations. This recently, discovered map shows when there existed rail yards on both sides of Highway 6 at Washington St. The map supports memories of the New York Central line who stored trains across the street from the B & O yard on the north side. The New York Central Railway Company had a station that was recently demolished since, it was used as cemetery maintenance facility.
This diagram from Penn Central Railway indicates the many lines and, spurs that linked Walkerton with the rest of the World. It shows "South St." which today, is US 6, and "Bridge St." now Adams St. It is a drawing of the Walkerton Diamond and shows the yards on the south side of US 6 about where Casey's is today, and the cemetery.
The red line indicates when the New York Central Railway once connected through Walkerton. It was demolished in 1981.
The New York Central Line had 3 spurs kept for storage on the south side of US 6 but, was demolished in 1981 for the expansion of American Door Company, and the Walkerton Cemetery. Many people from my generation may recall seeing the old tracks beside the West York duplexes and when it ran along the old Walkerton Little League Baseball Park.
That line connected to Knox and served not only American Door but, Modern Door at Virginia Street. As a kid I remember a whole neighborhood that once existed about where the cemetery expansion, and Casey's is.
The Union Pacific Railway didn't actually, have a line go through Walkerton. But, this year they are using the B & O tracks while they promote railroad travel and their anniversary. Utah's celebration at Promontory Summit where the Golden Spike was originally tapped into place no longer has tracks near there. They were removed to support the scrap metal projects during World War II.
"This celebration is Union Pacific's way of reflecting on our ancestors' remarkable achievements that connected the nation while reminding us of the enormous responsibility we have for our nation's future," said Scott Moore, senior vice president – Corporate Relations and chief administrative officer.
"We are proud our employees live and work in thousands of the communities we serve, delivering steel to construct schools and stores, lumber to build homes, the food we eat, clothes we wear and electronics we rely on."
The ceremony features Union Pacific's iconic steam locomotives, Living Legend No. 844 and Big Boy No. 4014. The two met, recreating the historic image taken at Promontory Summit on May 10, 1869. The Big Boy is one of eight left in the world. It's newly refurbished and the only one in operation.
Following the steam meet, Union Pacific Chairman, President and CEO Lance Fritz and Utah Gov. Gary Herbert were joined by Margaret Yee and Sandy Dodge to tap a ceremonial spike.
Yee's ancestors were among thousands of Chinese immigrants who forged the transcontinental railroad for Central Pacific. Dodge is a descendent of Gen. Grenville Dodge, Civil War veteran and Union Pacific's chief engineer during construction.
The steam locomotives were on display at Ogden Union Station until May 12, then they returned home to the Steam Shop in Cheyenne, Wyoming. A limited number of tickets were sold for rides onboard Union Pacific's Heritage
Fleet cars, pulling by Nos. 4014 and 844, between Ogden and Evanston, Wyoming and onto Chicago, then eastbound. Guests will return to Ogden via a chartered bus. The trip is a fundraiser for Spike 150, a Utah initiative to commemorate the 150th anniversary, and for the Union Pacific Museum. www.spike150.org
The 150th anniversary celebration will continue throughout the year, with No. 4014 visiting many states across the Union Pacific system. A tentative schedule with tour locations and dates will be published in the near future at www.upsteam.com.
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Old photos of the Walkerton Diamond from it's glory days. The 3rd floor switch operations unit of the old "B & O Station" was removed after a 1972 fire.
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