Museum of Transportation | St. Louis Public Radio

Museum of Transportation

The trains are the stars of Dan Schmidt's annual Christmas display in Overland in December 2017
Mary Delach Leonard | St. Louis Public Radio

Six-year-old Adam Messmer watched wide-eyed, as a model train pulled freight cars and tankers through a Christmas landscape that takes up every inch of Dan Schmidt’s front yard in Overland.

“There it is. There it is. There it is,’’ Adam called out, as the red and silver Santa Fe engine reappeared from a tunnel and chugged past a little church and a drive-in theater showing a video of “A Miracle on 34th Street.”

Adam has toy trains of his own, and this is one of his favorite Christmas displays, said Amie Messmer, his mother. They live nearby in Maryland Heights.

Rich Eichhorst's group sets up special train excursions including mystery destinations, sleeper-car trips and theme adventures. (300pxls, 2008)
Jay Jordan | St. Louis Beacon archives

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: That’s National Train Day chugging down the tracks and scheduled to arrive May 10.

Amtrak, the national passenger railroad, has picked that day for its celebration because it marks the completion of the first transcontinental railroad in 1869. On May 10, 139 years ago, dignitaries drove a golden spike linking the Central Pacific and Union Pacific Railroads in Promontory Summit, Utah, officially uniting the United States by rail.