Celebrating the Transcontinental Railroad

Truckee Railroad Train Station, 1869. | Courtesy Truckee-Donner Summit Historical and Railroad Societies

On May 10, 1869, 150 years ago, the Transcontinental Railroad was completed, forever changing the landscape of Truckee and Donner Summit. The railroad made traveling across the Sierra relatively painless. Instead of taking seven months or more to go from New York to San Francisco, the railroad shortened the trip significantly. By 1876, the Transcontinental Express made the trip across the country in less than seven days.

Transcontinental Railroad history section
Click on Transcontinental Railroad under the Explore Tahoe menu for more articles on the history of Truckee and the Transcontinental Railroad, local celebrations, events and more.

The sesquicentennial anniversary of the Transcontinental Railroad marks the spanning of the continent with rails and a revolution to this area and the country. The railroad also brought both freight and travelers to Truckee. The train helped create local lumber and ice industries. Writers and artists came to capture the beauty of the area. The railroad led the way for the first transcontinental highway system, telephone line, pipeline and postal air route. It opened Truckee and Donner Summit to snow sports and summer activities, as well as facilitated the filming of numerous movies — more than 140 — in the areas.

The Truckee-Donner Historical, Donner Summit Historical and Truckee Donner Railroad societies invite the community to celebrate this wondrous feat. From May 10 through Labor Day, locals and visitors alike can enjoy various activities.