National Train Day brings Dora the Explorer to L.A. Union Station

Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger

Train tracks carry a lot of history. In 1862, President Lincoln inked the Pacific Railroad Act to fund construction of a transcontinental rail route. Seven years later it was completed with the symbolic golden spike ceremony at Promontory Summit in what was then the Utah territory.

National Train Day on Saturday marks the 143rd anniversary of the completion of the route with free events in Philadelphia, Chicago, New York City and Los Angeles, and many cities and towns in between. It’s a perfect time to check out the events — and think about planning your own train trip too.

The deal: All train-day events are free and open to the public. Dora the Explorer comes to L.A.’s Union Station to pose for photos with fans. But the heart of exhibition is the opportunity to tour lots of train cars, from luxury private rail cars to freight-moving cars.


The Ride-Along Amtrak Adventure exhibition tells the story of places on the rail route that bear a “Hispanic footprint,” such as Cabrillo National Monument and Mission Santa Ines in San Diego and the Alamo in San Antonio. Other highlights include model train displays, an AmtraKids Depot for play time, live cooking demonstrations by Amtrak’s culinary team, clowns, the all-American Boys Chorus and performer Aaron Nigel Smith.

When: Events run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

Tips: Arrive early to avoid lines as all events are first-come, first served. Note too other California towns and cities are sponsoring National Train Day events. Check the “other locations” list here.

Contact: National Train Day