2019 55¢ Transcontinental Railroad – Union Pacific No. 119
Value: 55¢ 1-ounce First-class rate (Forever)
Issue Date: May 10, 2019
First Day City: Promontory Summit, UT
Type of Stamp: Commemorative
Printed by: Banknote Corporation of America
Printing Method: Offset
Format: Pane of 18
Quantity Printed: 50,400,000
Union Pacific No. 119 was the eastern train of the "Golden Spike" ceremony for America's First Transcontinental Railroad. The event took place May 10, 1869, in Promontory Summit, Utah, and changed the course of history forever.
The Union Pacific Railroad was established on July 1, 1862, by Congress in the Pacific Railroad Act of 1862. President Abraham Lincoln signed off and hoped to build a railroad from the Missouri River to the West Coast. This marked the beginning of the construction of the United States' First Transcontinental Railroad.
Dr. Thomas Clark Durant was the main owner of the Union Pacific Railroad and oversaw much of its construction. Most of the work was done by Irish immigrants. After six years of slowly moving toward Utah, in May 1869, the eastern portion of the Transcontinental Railroad was finally complete.
Thomas Durant boarded a train pulled by the engine Durant's Special, but was not able to make it all the way to Promontory Summit. High river levels damaged a bridge that the train needed to cross,and it could only support the weight of the lighter passenger cars. The engine pushed the cars across the bridge, and No. 119 was called from Omaha to retrieve the cars. It joined Central Pacific's Jupiter on May 10 and became an unlikely piece of history.