Golden Spike National Historical Park is gearing up to send 2019, a monumental year for the park, out in style with its annual Winter Steam Festival.
The festival, scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 28, gives spectators a chance to see one of the park’s two restored locomotives in action as it belches steam into the frosty winter air.
The park’s Jupiter locomotive looks even more dramatic in the winter, when cold temperatures create billowing clouds of steam far beyond what can be seen during the warmer months.
The Winter Steam Festival caps a banner year at the Golden Spike site, which was upgraded from national historic site to national historical park status through an act of Congress in March of this year.
The park also hosted the 150th anniversary of the driving of the Golden Spike, a three-day event that brought tens of thousands of visitors from all over the world to celebrate the milestone.
On Dec. 28, The Jupiter will make five demonstration runs throughout the day at 10 and 11:30 a.m., as well as 1, 3 and 4:30 p.m. On Dec. 30, the Jupiter will have a standard run schedule of 10 a.m., and 1 and 4:30 p.m. This is a unique opportunity to see a steam locomotive in winter.
A handcar and motorcar will be available for rides on the Dec. 28 and 29.
A ranger program, “It’s Snow Challenge: Snow Removal on the Transcontinental Railroad” will educate visitors on how snow was cleared from the tracks and the difficulties encounted by the Central Pacific Railroad as they built across the Sierra Nevadas. An additional ranger program, “Reaching for the Stars: The Naming of the Central Pacific Locomotives” explains the ecletic collection of names that graced the sides of CPRR locomotives.
Those who attend will be charged the standard $10 fee per vehicle. Federal park passes will also be accepted for entry.