Amtrak and local railroad group Depot Redux will celebrate the anniversary of the 1869 completion of the transcontinental railroad today with National Train Day festivities from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Santa Fe Station, 413 E. Seventh St.
Amtrak has sponsored the celebration for the past six years to commemorate May 10, 1869, when the presidents of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads drove the final spike into the rail line connecting the East and West coasts. The event took place at Promontory Summit, Utah Territory.
Today’s celebration will include a chance to win two round-trip Amtrak tickets to either Chicago or St. Louis, as well as a presentation from railroad historian Dave Calwell. He will show railway artifacts from his personal collection, including railroad hats, uniforms, lanterns and pieces of actual rails.
“(People) should come if they want to see the city do their part in protecting and enhancing public transportations and passenger rail,” Carey Maynard-Moody, president of Depot Redux, said.
Depot Redux is an organization that is raising money and awareness to support the restoration of Lawrence’s Amtrak station at the Santa Fe depot. Ultimately, the group hopes the city of Lawrence will buy the privately owned depot so that it can qualify for grants to make improvements.
National Train Day at the Santa Fe Station will be both a celebration and a way to remind the community that it is in need of renovations and updates.
“We want to get people recharged to bring back awareness and the time is now,” Maynard-Moody said.