While traveling home from South Dakota we decided to go through Nebraska. We drove through a lot of fields in Nebraska. One of the most prominent travel sites on my list was Golden Spike Tower in North Platte, Nebraska. We found it a bit tricky to find but was well worth a visit if you have any interest in railroads.
I must say this was not my wife’s favorite site to see but I was enthralled. See gave into my enthusiasm and we paid our $7.00 admission price each to visit.
This tower is located at Bailey Yard along the Union Pacific railroad lines that cross the United States.
Bailey Yard is the world’s largest train yard. It services the majority of trains traveling across America. This yard dates back to 1866.
The lobby of the visitors center has a video room showing a video of the history of Bailey Yard and the railroad in general.
There is also a large gift store mixed with historical information in the lobby area. Above is information about the sites namesake. There are more information signs about many others that played an important part in the development of the railroads that helped make America what it is today.
Out in the back of the gift store is the Flag Courtyard. This courtyard is filled with flags from the states that the Union Pacific runs through. The railroad runs through 23 states.
Each plaque has information about the Union Pacific and its role in each state. I found this very interesting. As you can see from the small inset map on the right, the railroad services nearly 2/3 of the United States.
Once you get through the interesting history of the railroad in the lobby, you can then go up to the viewing areas. Above is the 8th floor viewing room at the top of the tower. It is indoor so that poor weather won’t hinder your visit as much. It also provides a 360 degree view of the yard and surrounding area.
The 8th floor also houses a great deal more history of the railroad. This is a model of the engine maintenance room that can be viewed out the windows. There are also retired employees that volunteer their time to answer questions, tell stories, and help make the experience very personal.
The 7th floor has an observation deck with telescopes. It has a limited view of the yard facing westward toward the maintenance building. It is also not protected by the weather.
And of course you were wanting to see the views. This one is from the 8th floor looking out toward the east. Being Nebraska, there are farm fields all around the area.
This is the more exciting view looking out towards the west. This is where the large maintenance building is located on the left.
Here is a closer view of what is the equivalent of a gas station for trains. They get fueled and oiled here if they do not need more extensive maintenance. Note that only the engines use this area.
This is not a place for everyone as evidence of my wife’s attitude. If you have any interest in railroads or railroad history this is definitely a place to visit. I was thrilled to get to see this place as I like all things mechanical. My wife did have an interest in the historical part of the railroad so she did get something out of the trip.
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