Monday, August 16, 2010

Hey Railfans - A Train Spotters Mecca

I'm pretty sure you've all read here that North Platte has been named Rail Town USA, since we're the home of Union Pacific's Bailey Yard, the largest railroad yard in the world. However, North Platte isn't the only community in Lincoln County that can lay claim to railroad heritage.
According to The Mister, Union Pacific has begun hiring once again in Bailey Yard, they're bringing all of the locomotives stored during the downturn out of mothballs, and car loadings are up to about 180,000 each week. All of that traffic through this yard means that the Platte River valley is home to the busiest freight corridor in the world. Today I decided to head out to see what kinds of trains I could find on a slightly overcast Sunday morning.
Nowhere on Lincoln County's 50 mile stretch of the Platte River valley can the trains be seen better than at the Railroad Park in Sutherland. This beautiful, shaded park has everything you could want - playground equipment for the kids and a covered pavilion for shade. PLUS, it's a close as you can possibly get to the action on Union Pacific's main line. Not only does Railroad Park offer a great place to relax and watch the trains go by, the convenient pedestrian walkway over the track gives you a birds-eye view of the three tracks.
As you can see, the view from the overpass gets you up-close and personal with the trains.
This morning while I was out on my photographic journey, I was fortunate enough to be able to capture a crew change. The transportation vehicle picked up the crew who was out of time, and dropped off another crew to take the train on into the yard.
As the new crew was getting settled in, they were overtaken by another train, obviously ready to go all the way into the yard.. If you happen to want to spend an extended period of time in Sutherland, you're welcome to make the home-town family owned and operated Park Motel your home away from home. As you can see, it is also conveniently located just across the highway from the tracks. If you're not into trains, this isn't necessarily a selling point.
Here is the view from the overpass to the east, looking past the lumber yard and the grain elevator You can clearly see the three tracks and the park on the left.
Now I don't claim to be a Rail Fan myself, but I think I can recognize a place that they might enjoy when I see it. If you are a Rail Fan, I will be more than happy to welcome you to Sutherland to watch all of the trains we take for granted.

Thanks for stopping by. The coffee is alway son.

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