On May 10, 1869, an entire nation held its breath as it waited for a final spike to unite the country. After an often violent race over brutal territory to cover ground and earn government subsidies, the Central Pacific and Union Pacific railroads met at Promontory, Utah, and completed the first rail line to connect east and west. Each railroad sent a specially painted official locomotive, the CP's Jupiter and UP's 119, to mark the occasion, and as the last spike was driven, they eased onto the final stretch of track and met, pilot to pilot. The Union Pacific began construction westward from Omaha, Nebraska, in 1864, and the Central Pacific began building eastward from Sacramento, California, in 1863 to accomplish one of the most important American tasks of the nineteenth century. The ability to move people and cargo across the country quickly and safely knit together the nation as no other achievement could have. To commemorate this momentous event, M.T.H. offers beautiful RailKing models of the Jupiter and 119 in the colorful paint schemes they sported for the big event, as well as nineteenth-century style freight cars that symbolize the important work done by the rail lines. Also available, for nineteenth-century steam fans, is a Virginia & Truckee 4-4-0, the most popular wheel configuration of the era. Did You Know? Hungry to win the race and rack up government subsidies for each mile (ranging from $16,000 per mile of level land to $48,000 per mile through the mountains), the two construction crews passed each other at Promontory and laid hundreds of miles of unnecessary parallel track before the government ended the battle. The Central Pacific laid 10 miles of track in a single day, April 28, 1869.