GALVESTON, TX – On May 10, 1869, two steam locomotives met on a far corner in Utah on freshly laid track. A golden spike was driven into a tie, and for the first time in history the United States was connected coast to coast by the Transcontinental Railroad.
Richard Luckin, noted rail historian, has produced a documentary film, “Journey to Promontory,” to commemorate the 150th anniversary of this historic event. The film will have its Texas premier at the Galveston Railroad Museum March 30 and will be broadcast on PBS nationwide later this year.
Luckin will introduce the film, which is free and begins at 6 p.m., and field questions from the audience afterward. Reservations are not required, but seating is limited. The museum is located at 2602 Santa Fe Place, Galveston, TX 77550.
Luckin is a prominent author and documentarian of railroad history. He wrote “Dining on Rails: An Encyclopedia of Railroad China” and his documentaries include “Amtrak: The First 40 Years: 1971-2011” in 2011, “20th Century Limited: America’s Most Famous Passenger Train” in 2016 and “Selling Sunshine: The Florida Trains” last year. In addition to his work with PBS, Luckin has also produced training and informational films for the United States Air Force’s Air Mobility Command.
His latest project chronicles the years of planning, surveying, and construction that went in to building America’s first Transcontinental Railroad. The story relies on contemporary photographs and commentary from leading historians highlighting the challenges met by those who built the railroad.
The completion of the Transcontinental Railroad inspired similar projects around the country. As one of the nation’s most developed ports, Galveston benefited immensely from the improved rail connection to national markets.
The screening is the first of several public events that the museum will present throughout the coming year.
Union Pacific is hosting a celebration on May 10 at Promontory Summit.