April 24, 2006

The original Golden Spike ceremony held at Promontory Summit, Utah in 1869 represented the completion of the transcontinental railroad but caused more than a few local railroad fans to point out the fact that the actual final link did not occur until a few months later when the tracks were laid through Niles Canyon thus linking Sacramento to San Francisco. The Niles Canyon Railway’s golden spike re-enactment ceremony held in downtown Niles on April 9 was nearly thwarted by a band of robbers but the good old-fashioned town sheriff shooed them off and the ceremony went off without a hitch.

Thankfully the rain we have been getting too accustomed to arrived later in the afternoon and residents boarded the ceremonial train in Sunol bound for Niles on a glorious and unusually sunny morning.

After arriving in Niles and folks departed, two trains were situated facing each other on the track on either side of the area in which the “golden spike” was to be driven to commemorate the historical event and the opening of the new Niles Station. As we waited for the ceremony to begin Chief Station Agent, Al McCracken, proceeded towards the track area with the “golden spike” resting comfortably on a pillow when several men dressed in old west garb wrestled for control of the spike. As I said earlier, thank goodness for the quick thinking local lawman who foiled their plan to steal the special spike.

Local dignitaries including members of the Fremont City Council and Fremont Vice-Mayor Steve Cho joined State Assemblyman John Dutra and US Congressman Pete Starke to praise the work of the volunteers from two non-profit groups who made our railroad link between Sunol and Niles possible, the Niles Canyon Railway and The Niles Golden Spike Association. After speeches were made several of the local politicians took turns pounding in the ceremonial spike, the last whack was made by John Fenstermacher with the Alameda County Public Works Agency. Congressman Starke attended the ceremony with wife Deborah and their children Andrew, Hannah and Fish.

One my very favorite part of the ceremony was a ride on the Niles Coach Lines. In order to reach the tiny downtown district of Niles from the train station you must either walk by way of Sullivan Underpass or take a “free” ride on an antique motor coach which will deposit you at either end of the main street. This beautifully restored 1958 General Motors Coach has a dramatic art deco look and upon entering you feel as if you are truly stepping back an era or two.

Congratulations to Sunolian Veronica Horton on the grand opening of her newly relocated day spa, A Touch of Health. Located on St. Mary’s Street in Pleasanton, this full service day spa has been a labor of love between Veronica and husband Ken, who will soon be celebrating their first wedding anniversary, you see they were married on May 5, 2005 (05-05-05) and that’s a date that’s surely not to be forgotten.

Veronica’s day spa offers several services including massage treatments, facials, special skin care, nail care and many other services. How about a day of pampering? Or a mini-retreat? Call 925-484-1726 for more information.

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