Thousands gather in Utah for 150th anniversary of railroad

The Big Boy, No. 4014, left, and the Living Legend, No. 844, right, are photographed during the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Transcontinental Railroad completion at Union Station Thursday, May 9, 2019, in Ogden, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Chairman, President and CEO Lance Fritz and Margaret Yee, whose ancestors helped build the railroad, pose for a photograph during the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Transcontinental Railroad's completion at Union Station Thursday, May 9, 2019, in Ogden, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
The Big Boy, No. 4014 arrives during the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Transcontinental Railroad completion at Union Station Thursday, May 9, 2019, in Ogden, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
The crew from the Big Boy, No. 4014 pose for a photograph during the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Transcontinental Railroad completion at Union Station Thursday, May 9, 2019, in Ogden, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
The crew from the Living Legend, No. 844 pose for a photograph during the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Transcontinental Railroad completion at Union Station Thursday, May 9, 2019, in Ogden, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
The crew from the Living Legend, No. 844 pose for a photograph during the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Transcontinental Railroad completion at Union Station Thursday, May 9, 2019, in Ogden, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
The Big Boy, No. 4014 arrives during the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Transcontinental Railroad completion at Union Station Thursday, May 9, 2019, in Ogden, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Margaret Yee, whose ancestors helped build the railroad, pose in front of the the Big Boy, No. 4014 during the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Transcontinental Railroad completion at Union Station Thursday, May 9, 2019, in Ogden, Utah. Yee, helped tap a ceremonial spike alongside Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and a descendant of Union Pacific's chief engineer on the project at the event Thursday in Ogden, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

PROMONTORY, Utah — Thousands of people are expected to gather Friday at a remote spot in the Utah desert where 150 years ago the Transcontinental Railroad was completed, triggering a famous telegraph that set off celebrations around the nation.

Friday's event at the Golden Spike National Historic Park about 90 miles (145 kilometers) northwest of Salt Lake City will feature remarks by U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and a reenactment of the final "golden spike" that was hammered into the ground.

The completed railroad shortened cross-county travel from as long as six months to about 10 days and transformed the way the country handled business, shipping and commerce.

Utah state historian Brad Westwood says the railroad "psychologically and symbolically bound the country" that had been through the Civil War several years earlier.

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