Digging into the start of Donner Pass and its assault of the Sierra Nevada, a westbound intermodal train chases the setting sun on National Train Day 2017.
It's somewhat appropriate shooting such a train on the 148th anniversary of the completion of the First Transcontinental Railroad- Theodore Judah's thought of being able to move goods from Atlantic to Pacific over a great land bridge was met with derision. With the backing of California's elite, the proposal made it to Washington, and the Pacific Railroad Act of 1863 was born. Built largely by the Chinese, the Central Pacific met the Union Pacific at Promontory Summit, Utah, on May 10, 1869. What once required a several week journey by sea around Cape Horn, or an arduous wagon trip across the barren Midwest was reduced to 83 hours and 39 minutes from New York City to San Francisco.
Even today, an improved Transcontinental Railroad is vital link to global commerce. Two steel rails from coast to coast cut weeks and millions of dollars on transit for tons of goods moving across the world. The trains have gotten much larger, Union Pacific is now the largest Class I railroad in the country, but "Crazy" Judah's vision remains the same nearly a century and a half later.