2016-10-15.Bailey Railyard, North Platte, Nebraska
If you are traveling across Nebraska and are anywhere near North Platte, you should really stop at the Bailey Railyard, the largest railroad yard in the world!!!! For you ladies reading this, yes, I realize this is a “guy thing” but it is seriously impressive and not at all boring. This rail yard operates like an ever-changing, ever-moving ballet with locomotives hauling railroad cars up an east or west hump, cutting them loose to travel down the other side where they are diverted to the train that will take them to their destination. There are hundreds of tracks, railcars and locomotives as far as the eye can see and from the top of the Golden Spike building, an 8 story observation tower, you can see really far. It was about 3:00 when we visited and while there was a lot of activity, there was not as much as we expected. According to the retired railroad worker, Rodney, who was available to answer questions on the 8th floor, within the glass observation room, it was shift change time. Still, there always seemed to be something moving below. The visitor center is also really worthwhile because of the many different videos located throughout the building describing the building of the Union Pacific railyard, its statistics for delivery of railcars throughout the nation and the various uses for the yard over the years. For example, there was a large canteen hosting servicemen during WWII before they were shipped to various locations like so much freight. This North Platte yard was also home to the “orphan trains” that shipped homeless children to Midwestern farms during the earth 20th century.
We stayed at Holiday RV Park, right off I-80, in North Platte. It’s a nice park though a little dated. But, as with most places in the mid-west, the people were friendly and pleasant.