May 30, 2018
Day 3 of our road trip began with a visit to two sites in North Platte, Nebraska, where we had spent the night. The first of these was the “Golden Spike Tower” which is neither a spike nor golden, although originally there was a golden spike there. Now there is just this white tower. You can take the elevator up to the 7th floor to get views of Bailey’s rail yard and listen to a guide talking about the history of this huge rail yard. Since I didn’t take notes at the time – I was too busy taking pictures! – I obtained most of the following information from Wikipedia.
Bailey Rail Yard is the largest railroad classification yard in the world. It is named after former Union Pacific president Edd H. Bailey. Through this yard pass hundreds of cross-country freight trains. Personnel sort the rail cars, linking them up with other cars and engines headed for the same destination. They also repair and service the engines.
From our lookout on the 7th floor, we could see how vast it is. It covers 2, 850 acres (11.5 square kilometers), is over 8 miles (13 km) in length and 2 miles (3.2 km) wide. There are 200 separate railroad tracks, a total of 315 miles (507 km) of track. Union Pacific employs more than 2,600 workers at this facility, making it the most important employer for North Platte. An average of 319 trains and 14,000 railcars pass through Bailey every day. The yard sorts 3,000 cars daily using two humps.
One of the two “humps” used to sort rail cars.
The yard also contains three locomotive fuel and servicing centers. 750- locomotives can be serviced monthly. This posting is inspired by Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge, which has a theme this week of horizontal lines. All photos in this post were taken at the Bailey Rail Yard in North Platte, NE, using a Samsung Galaxy 7 cellphone camera and a Sony Alpha 380 with an 18-55 mm lens and a telephoto 75-300 mm lens.
This is actually a farm field that borders on the rail yard. Notice the railroad tracks at the bottom of the photo. The rest of the tracks were made by tractors.
One of the locomotive service centers (next 2 photos)
Displays on the 7th floor included information about UP passenger trains of yesteryear. Here are sample dishes served in the dining car and their placement.