Colfax gets 'Train Town USA' title

Community prepares ot celebrate Railroad Days Oct. 6-7
By: Martha Garcia, Colfax Record Editor
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If there’s doubt in anyone’s mind that Colfax is a railroad town, more proof is on its way. On Thursday, Oct. 4, Union Pacific will present to the Colfax City Council a declaration naming the City of Colfax “Train Town USA,” recognizing the town's role in the history of the First Transcontinental Railroad. The presentation will follow the 10:30 a.m. arrival of Union Pacific Steam Locomotive No. 844 at the Colfax Passenger Depot. The “Living Legend” – the last steam locomotive built for Union Pacific in the 1940s -- will be on its way back east to Nebraska from Old Sacramento, where it will be part of Union Pacific’s 150-year anniversary celebration on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 29 and 30. Free admission to the California Railroad Museum will be just one of the features of the Old Sacramento event that commemorates 150 years since President Abraham Lincoln signed the Pacific Railway Act of July 1, 1862. All the excitement starts today, when the heritage train – headed west to Old Sacramento – is scheduled to visit in Colfax from 12:55 to 1:30 p.m. The two visits to Colfax by No. 844 come just days before the Third Annual Colfax Railroad Days, set for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 6-7. The Colfax Chamber of Commerce and other participating organizations plan two days of attractions, including Union Pacific Railroad equipment, rides on track motorcars and steam trains, a tractor show, historic railroad equipment displays – including Mountain Quarries Railroad Engine 202, railroad art show, railroad films, railroad history talks, model railroad layout, railroad memorabilia and model train swap meet, and a rail safety display by Operation Lifesaver. Jim Wood, president of the Placer Sierra Railroad Heritage Society, reviewed the beginnings of Colfax. Previous to the railroad construction, Wood said, Illinoistown was the population hub. “Construction of the railroad was a game changer for every community. Wherever the railroad terminus was became the junction for freight wagon transport,” he said. “When the railroad put their tracks through what is now Colfax and built a freight depot and a passenger depot, that became the center -- ground zero for new development. Colfax was born. Sept. 1, 1865. That’s when trains started moving through Colfax.” Local rail fans who record No. 844’s visit to Colfax during either stop can share their photographs or videos with our readers and viewers by posting them to