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All Aboard for National Train Day!

On Saturday, May 8, 2010, historic Tampa Union Station welcomed approximately 1,500 visitors and participants in honor of National Train Day 2010.  Sponsored by Amtrak, National Train Day celebrates America’s love for trains with events across the country.  This year marked the third annual celebration with large-scale, family-friendly events that provided opportunities to explore interactive, educational exhibits that brought to life the rich narrative of how trains have transformed America and will continue to do so in the future. The event at Tampa Union Station was one of many which were happening simultaneously around the country. More than 140 local celebrations took place in 2009 and Amtrak expected even more in 2010.

The celebration marked the 141st anniversary of connecting travelers coast to coast and commemorated the day the first transcontinental railroad was created.  On May 10, 1869, in Promontory Summit, Utah, the golden spike was driven into the final tie that joined 1,776 miles of the Central Pacific and Union Pacific railways, transforming America by creating the nation‘s first transcontinental railroad.

Historic Tampa Union Station was constructed in 1912 to combine the passenger operations of the Atlantic Coast Line, Seaboard Air Line, and Tampa Northern railroads at a single site. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places and a City of Tampa landmark, the station was restored in 1998.  The station continues to serve Tampa’s citizens and visitors as a key stop on Amtrak’s New York to Miami route.  More than 100,000 passengers use this terminal each year.

Event participants included: Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library/Burgert Brothers Photograph Collection, Tampa Bay History Center, Operation Lifesaver, Florida Railroad Museum, the Florida Coalition of Rail Passengers, City of Tampa Historic Preservation and Urban Design, National Association of Railroad Passengers, Tampa Preservation, Inc., St. Petersburg Museum of History, and Friends of Tampa Union Station, and others.

National Train Day in Tampa was sponsored by the Florida Coalition of Rail Passengers, Friends of Tampa Union Station, the National Association of Railroad Passengers, the City of Tampa, and Amtrak.

– VTZ

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