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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Trip to North Platte part II.

Well this ha been a long time coming, the second half of my trip to North Platte, Nebraska.  As I explained in Part I, North Platte was built by the Union Pacific as a water stop station and the yard grew into the world's largest rail yard today.  Unlike some rail yards, North Platte is expanding with new customers switching to trains rather than air or truck travel because of the economy.  More customers mean more tracks on the yard.

During the first day, Part I, I visited the yard itself and got a full tour.  I also visited the little museum someone put up in Cody Park.  I didn't post this, but I also got the chance to go to an art festival there, all items train related.  The next day I got a chance to see their train show as well as the Golden Spike Tower  and 8 story building that overlooks Bailey yard and has some history to tell of its own.  Anyways, here are the days events in photos:

 First up, the train show.  Though this show was somewhat small, it had some amazing layouts, each with their own features.  The show was hosted at the Armory.  There I was greeted by vendors from around the state and out of state, as well as about 6-7 layouts.  I'll explain each as I go along...
 Here is a UP O scale locomotive pulling out of the replica of the Bailey yard.  With a large yard, a large model is necessary, I estimate this train layout to be at least 20'X 30' and replicates some interesting features of the large yard out back.

 The above photos are of an O scale replica of the Bailey yard's Hump yard.  i actually works and is shown in a video on the video page.
 As you can see, the Hump yard was quite large, taking up about 1/4 of the table space.
 Next was a layout done as a school project in North Platte.  The man who owns it enlisted the help of a class of students to scenic his railroad.  Some may argue that this layout is not very realistic, but I argue that since an art class made it,the layout is art.  Therefore, nothing is too unreal or too realistic, the train can go anywhere.

 Then came the largest layout, a G scale railroad with four trains running.  The man who owns it said it cost him about $10,000 dollars to build, but everyone enjoys the layout so can you actually put a price on that?  The above photo is of a trestle going over a small wildlife zoo.  The people seem to be very close though to the animals!
I love this shot, with everything in the world going by except for the train for a change.  two K-4's pull a long line of passenger cars across the layout.

 That was it for the train show that I photographed, but there was a lot more including:

  • An HO scale modular layout with the Boy scouts demonstrating how to run a train.
  • Two large vendors with vintage and new railroad and model railroad equipment.  i bought items for both and these will show up in later posts.
  • A railroad related art festival across the street from the Armory, continuing the weekend's railroad theme.
Then it was off to the Golden Spike tower.  I was amazed at the craftsmen-ship of these 9 inch gauge locomotives.  One was of a Challenger, the other the DDA40X locomotive, the largest Diesel ever produced.

 Here is the full view of the tower.  About 8 stories high, it gave me plenty of views of the yard.

 Up on top, I caught glimpses of the yard such as what is on the  following photos:

 There was also a corn maze, though the weather made that impossible to go into, it was fun to see it from above.

 Also on display, was a model of the inside of the rail shops, something I wanted to see in detail, but was unable to while on tour.
 After lunch, we were off  back to South Dakota. But anyways, here are some good photos of real trains doing what they do best, haul things at highway speeds.

This has nothing to do with trains, but has anyone ever seen something like this before?  It is a hotel next to the tracks where each room is a different color.
finally I knew I was back home when I caught sight of the Orange and black BNSF railway engine towing cars from the distant coal mines.

And finished!   I hope you enjoyed this two part series, and i hope you are able to come to Rail fest 2012.  As you can see, one weekend is hardly enough to catch everything, so plan carefully.

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