February 19, 2013

0514 UNITED STATES (Utah) - Union Pacific No. 119 and Central Pacific No. 60

On 10 May will celebrate 144 years since the Union and Central Pacific Railroads joined their rails at Promontory Summit, Utah Territory, completing the First Transcontinental Railroad across the United States (known originally as the Pacific Railroad and later as the Overland Route), and forged the destiny of the American nation. The ceremonial final spike, driven by Leland Stanford, was named Golden Spike, but also the Last Spike, a term used to refer to one driven at the ceremonial completion of any new railroad construction projects, particularly those in which construction is undertaken from two disparate origins towards a meeting point. Now,  the Last Spike, made of 17.6-karat (73%) copper-alloyed gold, lies in the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University. On that day, in anticipation of the ceremony, Union Pacific No. 119 (in the right of the image) and Central Pacific No. 60 (better known as the Jupiter - in the left of the image) locomotives were drawn up face-to-face on Promontory Summit. It is unknown how many people attended the event; estimates run from as low as 500 to as many as 3,000; government and railroad officials and track workers were present to witness the event.

In 1957, Congress established the Golden Spike National Historic Site to preserve the area around Promontory Summit as closely as possible to its appearance in 1869. O'Connor Engineering Laboratories in Costa Mesa (California) designed and built working replicas of the locomotives present at the original ceremony for the Park Service. These engines are drawn up face-to-face each Saturday during the summer for a re-enactment of the event.

The Jupiter was a 4-4-0 steam locomotive built in September 1868 by the Schenectady Locomotive Works of New York, along with three other engines, numbered 61, 62, and 63, named the Storm, Whirlwind, and Leviathan, respectively. These four engines were then dismantled and sailed to San Francisco, where they were loaded onto a river barge and sent to the Central Pacific headquarters in Sacramento, then reassembled and commissioned into service on March 20, 1869. It was a wood burning locomotive with a distinctive conical chimney, known as a balloon stack, contained a spark arrestor. The Jupiter continued in service until 1893, when it was converted to burn coal, being sold to the Gila Valley, Globe and Northern Railroad. In 1909 the locomotive which no longer resembled the original Jupiter was sold to scrappers for $1,000.

The No. 119 was also a 4-4-0 steam locomotive, built by Rogers Locomotive and Machine Works of Paterson, New Jersey in 1868 along with numbers 116, 117, 118 and 120.The 119 continued as a freight locomotive, being renumbered the 343. In 1903 it was scrapped for... $1,000.

About the stamp

The stamp is a Global Forever First-Class Mail International one ($1.10), issued on Januarie 28, 2013. It showcases the beauty of planet Earth with an artistic rendering - a composite of images created from satellite and 3D computer technology data. In this image, the Atlantic Ocean is flanked by North and South America, Africa and parts of Europe. Art director William J. Gicker selected this depiction of Earth by Italian artist Leonello Calvetti. Greg Breeding designed the stamp.

Golden Spike - Wikipedia
Jupiter (locomotive) - Wikipedia
Union Pacific No. 119 - Wikipedia

sender: Hermit (direct swap)
sent from Logan (Utah / United States), on 08.02.2013
photo: Mike Bullock

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