TS19: Journey to Promontory!
Written by: Gary Dolzall.
Coming soon from Smokebox, the 68-mile Promontory Summit Route will be rich in railroading challenges and history!
America’s transcontinental railroad: Horace Greeley called it “the grandest and noblest enterprise of our age.” High amid the Promontory Mountains of Utah, on May 10, 1869, America’s “noble enterprise” came to culmination – and soon Smokebox, with its 68-mile Promontory Summit route, will bring the transcontinental railroad to Train Simulator!
The transcontinental railroad was born of the dreams of men such as Theodore Judah, Grenville Dodge, and, yes, Abraham Lincoln; sired by Congress during the darkest days of the American Civil War; and constructed in the late 1860s by the drive of men such as Doc Durant and Charles Crocker and the toil of thousands of Chinese and Irish workers.
The Central Pacific (later to become the Southern Pacific) and Union Pacific built east from Sacramento and west from Omaha respectively, with each road energized by the promise of financial rewards and government land grants based upon the miles of road they each constructed. In the early months of 1869, the CP and UP track crews raced toward each other north of the Great Salt Lake in desolate Utah. Indeed, the grading teams of the two railroads not only raced toward, but past each other and at times were building grades adjacent to and within sight of each other! Finally, with a hard nudge from the U. S. Congress, it was agreed that the point of bonding of America’s transcontinental rails would be at the summit of the Promontory Range (while also concluding that the portion of the line built by Union Pacific west of Ogden would eventually be purchased and operated by Central Pacific). And thus, at 12:47 pm on May 10, 1869, the railroads were joined with the historic “Golden Spike” ceremony, with Union Pacific 4-4-0 No. 119 and Central Pacific’s “Jupiter” “Facing on the single track, Half a world behind each back ...” in the timeless words of poet Bret Harte.
The upcoming Smokebox Promontory Summit route re-creates the historic stage over which this remarkable railroad drama occurred, with 68 route miles extending from Corinne, Utah over Promontory Summit and along the north shore of the Great Salt Lake to Kelton, Utah. Set in 1869, the route will be a truly remarkable Train Simulator re-creation of 19th century American railroading and its “Old West” environment. Rugged, remote topography, tough grades, spindly trestles, and the rough-and-tumble “tent towns” that dotted the newly constructed transcontinental line all come to full and enthralling life in the Smokebox route. Centered on Promontory Summit, the route will include segments of the railroad as originally operated by Central Pacific and Union Pacific, and thus will provide a perfect and highly authentic setting to put Smokebox’s extraordinary assemblage of period steam power – which includes Central Pacific’s 4-4-0 “Jupiter,” CP’s 4-6-0 “Buffalo,” and Union Pacific’s 4-4-0 No. 119 types (all available separately at the Steam and Dovetail Games stores) – to hard work.
Smokebox is renowned for creating Train Simulator locomotives and routes with extraordinary fidelity to detail and authenticity, and the upcoming Promontory Summit route will surely be no exception. Along with the beautifully crafted route, this upcoming DLC will include ten career scenarios and three free-roam scenarios in which you can go to work at the throttle of CP and UP vintage steam power. And among the career scenarios are two scenarios which together provide an end-to-end “guided tour” of the route and its history!
Be sure to stay tuned here at Dovetail Live as we continue our coverage of the upcoming, and truly extraordinary, Smokebox Promontory Summit route! – Gary Dolzall
Through the artistry of Smokebox, the challenges and memorable history of America’s transcontinental railroad is coming soon to Train Simulator with the 68-mile Promontory Summit route! Extending from Corinne, Utah over Promontory Summit and along the north shore of the Great Salt Lake to Kelton, Utah, the route will re-create 19th century American railroading and its enthralling “Old West” environment. At historic Promontory Summit, Union Pacific 4-4-0 No. 119 (above) and Central Pacific 4-6-0 No. 86 (below) work past the historic site of the “Golden Spike” ceremony. Screenshots by Gary Dolzall.
The upcoming Promontory Summit route includes segments of the line originally operated by Union Pacific and Central Pacific. At the east end of the upcoming route is Corinne, Utah, located alongside the Bear River. On a wintry day, UP 4-4-0 No. 116 switches freight alongside the Union Pacific Corinne depot (above), while on a summer day, historic UP No. 119 leads a mixed train westward from Corinne (below). Note: Screenshots depict content still in development.
Near the base of the Promontory Mountains’ eastern slope and in the Blue Creek Valley, the town of Blue Creek (also called Dead Fall) was a lively Union Pacific construction camp during the final drive of transcontinental railroad construction. At Blue Creek, two sections of westbound Union Pacific passenger trains prepare to begin the arduous climb of the Promontory Mountains (above), while nearby a freight behind 4-4-0 No. 119 trundles across one of the line’s many wooden trestles (below).
The transcontinental railroad’s east slope path over the Promontory Mountains was steep, rugged, and unforgiving. UP 119 gives the impression of hanging on the edge of the world as it descends the east slope (above). The ultimate landmark of the Promontory Summit crossing was the “big trestle” on the east slope (below). Standing 400-feet long and 85-feet high and constructed by the Union Pacific, the spindly wooden trestle incongruously stood right alongside a giant, unused fill constructed by the Central Pacific when the two roads were each laying down grades on the east slope.
West of Promontory Summit on the Central Pacific portion of the line stood Victory (also known as Rozel), Utah, which was reached by CP’s track-laying crews on April 30, 1869. Home to a water tower, Victory witnesses CP’s 4-4-0 “Jupiter” with a freight in tow.
With the Great Salt Lake stretching in the distance and Monument Rock visible near the shore, Central Pacific No. 60, the “Jupiter,” chugs into the village of Monument (above), which was typical of the “tent towns” that dotted the transcontinental railroad during its construction. Two miles further west on a snowy eve, Central Pacific’s “Storm” calls at CP’s section station at Ten Mile, Utah (below).
Central Pacific’s “Leviathan” makes a nocturnal call at Kelton, Utah with an eastbound passenger train. Kelton, which was a section station and home to yard facilities for the Central Pacific, serves as the west end of the upcoming Promontory Summit route. Smokebox is renowned for creating locomotives and routes with superb fidelity to detail and authenticity and the upcoming 68-mile Promontory Summit route will surely be extraordinary – and it’s coming soon to Train Simulator!
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TS19: Journey to Promontory!