Well I must say this has been one of the best weekends of my life so far! I went down to North Platte for their Rail-fest. For those of you who don't know, Rail-fest in North Platte is held every year to celebrate their railroad history. Things to do during the festival include:
- Bus tours of the Bailey Yard the largest rail yard in the world.
- Tours of the Golden Spike Tower. An observation tower to view the rail yard
- Tours of the large engine facilities at North Platte.
- An art show that is all about heritage
- Displays of the Challenger Locomotive and the EMD DDA40X diesel-electric locomotive, the largest and strongest diesel ever produced.
- A train show featuring local clubs.
- Entertainment from live performers.
- and much more...
As you can see there was a lot to do, so I just stuck to the train related stuff.
So here is my weekend explained through pictures:
Also on display was a mountain engine that would have been used as a pusher when going up steep grades.
Not my best photo, but most can tell that this is an old Kansas City Southern Locomotive.
The following photos were taken during our tour of the Bailey Yard. the yard is 8 miles long, and has at least 315 miles of track. Within the yard are East and West staging, East and West hump yards, RIP tracks, three main lines Westbound, two Eastbound, engine repair facilities, car repair facilities, and refueling?sanding facilities for East and West bound train engines.
Out side of the shop, is a duct and conveyor leading to a waiting car. that gray stuff is the metal shavings from parts being milled/repaired.
Here is the Missouri Pacific 1982 diesel. And below is of course the Katy or the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railroad number 1988
And don't forget the Western Pacific (already mentioned).
Here is what the diesel engine looks like. contrary to what some think, the diesel engine does not directly move the locomotive, but turns an electric generator which make the power for the six on board electric motors. This does several things for the locomotive:
- It makes for better fuel efficiency
- the loco can go just as fast backwards as forwards (so that's how they do it!)
- and the train is then powered by six engines per unit rather than one.
Here is the derailment management tower number 1.
Next was the DDA40X Diesel locomotive. It was the largest diesel locomotive ever produced. EMD created this monster mainly to test out multiple engine that work under on hood. This would be the predecessor to engine consisting, only it had one locomotive. This engine, like the Challenger next to it, would soon be obsolete with better technology.
That concluded the days rail- watching. In part II I'll go over the train show and the Golden Spike tower. Plus there are some photos of trains in the Nebraska country side rolling to their destinations from both the UP and BNSF.