Will Braddock, the hero of Eagle Talons, The Iron Horse Chronicles–Book One, never got to visit Union Station in Ogden, Utah. Even though Union Station celebrated its 90th birthday this year, the current structure was not around when Will rolled into Ogden with the arrival of Black Hawk, the first Union Pacific locomotive to reach there on March 7, 1869. My visit to Union Station on May 9, 2014, provided me with excellent research information that will be used in Golden Spike, the third book in the trilogy, when Will engages in the final push for the Union Pacific to meet up with the Central Pacific at Promontory Summit, not far from Ogden.Union Station saw its heyday shortly before, during, and immediately after World War II. When you visit the station today, you can almost sense the crush of travelers that would have been purchasing tickets, then crowding onto the platforms to board the departing trains. Ogden Station serves as the Utah State Railroad Museum, acquainting the visitor with the construction of the first transcontinental railroad and the growth of the city into a major railroad center. The beautiful Wattis-Dumke Model Railroad takes you on a journey from one end of the original Pacific Railroad to the other.
Outside the station, a lineup of historic locomotives and railcars is on display. Among the fascinating treats are a railroad mail car. You can see the bins where postal clerks sorted the mail while the train was underway. Also to be visited is a hospital car where you learn how the war wounded were transported across the country in the early 1940s.
Union Station is not only about railroads. It contains an extensive collection of firearms invented by Ogden resident John M. Browning; as well as the Browning-Kimball Classic Car Museum, featuring many automobiles owned by the Browning family. The Utah Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum is a recent addition to the attractions. There is a gift shop, a model train store, and a restaurant where you can enjoy a variety of cuisines while imagining you are awaiting the departure of your train.
While there, I was privileged to visit the Union Station Research Library, where I found answers to several questions that required clarification as I continue with the writing of book three. When visiting the Great Salt Lake area, do not miss a visit to Ogden’s Union Station. Learn more about the station at: http://theunionstation.org.