Ride The Rails: A Storytelling Exploration Of Utah's Early Railroad

May 10, 2019

When the last tap pounded the Golden Spike into place, the telegraph operators standing alongside tapped out the word DONE. Whistles blew and hats flew through the air – the Transcontinental was done but railroading in Utah had really just begun. 

Within a few years, a railroad spur to Salt Lake was completed, Ogden had started to become a bustling junction city and the Utah Northern was coming over the Mendon Hill and dropping into Cache Valley.

At UPR, we’ve been collecting train stories. We celebrate by saying hats off to those who worked on the trains and three cheers for the people who lived on the tracks.

Ride The Rails is made possible in part by the Ogden Downtown AllianceOgden City, and Visit Ogden hosting the Heritage Festival’s 150th anniversary in downtown Ogden, May 9, 10, and 11. Information can be found at visit-ogden.com.

This program is also made possible with a grant from the Utah Department of Heritage & Arts and the Spike 150 project. Information can be found at heritage-and-arts.utah.gov and spike150.org.

Ride The Rails is an original production by Utah Public Radio with program director Mary Heers, lead producer Kirsten Swanson, research assistant Rachel Ross and project manager Dani Hayes.

Special Thanks to story contributions from Jeannie Campbell, Barbara Bergman, Katherine Skelton, Jane Beckwith, Gloria Thompson, Lyndia Carter, CD Davis, Jackie Thayne, Ronald Jewkes, Virginia Gordon, Judge Raymond Uno, Joan Shaw, Lorie Brassaw of USU Eastern Library and Learning Commons, and local chapters of Daughters of the Utah Pioneers.  Special thanks to Karen Kriger, USU Special Collections, Rick Hughes, and Ogden's Union Station.

A special treat! Below is the film documentary DONE - The Story of the First Transcontinental Railway. It was first broadcast to a nationwide audience in May 1969 on the 100th anniversary of the completion of the first transcontinental railroad and the driving of the "Golden Spike". Special thanks to Rick Hughes and Mary Heers for digitizing this documentary so we can continue to learn about railroad history. Enjoy!