Postal Service Unveils Transcontinental Railroad Forever Stamps

There are new stamps in town.

The U.S. Postal Service unveiled, in a ceremony, Wednesday the Transcontinental Railroad forever stamp. Three new district stamps commemorate the 150th anniversary of its completion.

President Abraham Lincoln promoted the railroad during the Civil War as the track that binded the nation together.

The Central Pacific Railroad Company built the Western portion of the railroad starting from Sacramento and The Union Pacific Railroad Company built the eastern section beginning from Omaha, Nebraska.

The railroad was made by more than 200,000 immigrants, primarily of Irish and Chinese descent. German, Italian, and some African Americans assisted in the construction including thousands of Mormon workers who helped make the final push across Utah.

The Transcontinental Railroad eased the movement of goods and people across the country. The completed railroad covered roughly 1,800 miles and significantly reduced travel time across the country, from as long as six months to about a week.

On May 10, 1869 at the Golden State Ceremony, rail lines were joined at Promontory Summit, north of the Great Salt Lake in Utah. The railway was finished. 

The three new stamps feature photographs of replicas of the two locomotives at the Golden Spike National Historic Site. The other stamps feature the Jupiter and the No. 119 locomotives that powered the trains carrying the officers and guests of the two train companies to the Golden Spike Ceremony. Centered between them, a third stamp portrays the famous golden spike that was a prominent part of the ceremony.

Michael J. Deas illustrated the Jupiter and No. 119. Kevin Cantrell illustrated the stamp depicting the ceremonial golden spike and did the border treatments and typography for all three stamps. Each of the stamps and the header feature gold-foiled highlights that produce a glimmering effect.

The Forever stamps will be sold in sheets of 18.

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