I strolled around the tower, I had a 360 degree view of Bailey
Yard and the Platte River Valley. I decided to take a quick
elevator ride down one floor to see how the seventh floor
open-air platform differed. The view was much thesame from the two observation
decks but the lower one was windy and cooler.
Lots of information about Bailey
Yard along the walls
returned upstairs and began browsing the pictures and
information displayed on the inner walls.
Bailey Yard is what is known as a classification yard in
railroad terminology. A ‘classification yard’ is a switch yard,
where trains are taken apart, cars and locomotives serviced and
repaired, reassembled and sent out again.
The Guinness Book of World Records
recognizes Bailey Yard as the world’s largest railroad yard,
containing more than 315 miles of tracks and processing more
than 150 trains a day. Bailey Yard is eight miles long and up to three miles wide. That is room for a
lot of trains.
story began long ago with the coming of the railroad. Railroads
companies were granted land to build and towns sprang up as the
workers settled temporarily in a base camp to build the tracks.
Entrepreneurs followed and established trading posts to meet the
needs. Two such men,
William Peniston and Andrew Miller, established a trading post
in what is now North Platte in 1866. Anew town of about 3,000
grew around their trading post. When the section was completed
and the workers moved on west in 1867. The town was depleted. It
had only about 150 occupants left.
The Golden Spike Tower
As the tracks
were completed settlers were now able to the area more easily
Union Pacific built a round house there and once more the town
began to boom. This roundhouse was the predecessor of the
present day Bailey Yard.The original Union Pacific's viewing
platform was degenerating rapidly by the mid-1990s. Some of the
local community leaders came up with the idea of the Golden
Spike Tower and Visitor Center as a place where visitors could
get a birds-eye view of Bailey Yard. The tower opened on June
26, 2008 and has been drawing visitors ever since.
the name "Golden Spike" because North Platte, Nebraska is where
east meets west on Union Pacific's rail line. They decided that
since east met west in Promontory Summit, Utah, when the
Transcontinental Railroad was built that name it also fit here.
Union Pacific and Central Pacific building from Omaha, Nebraska,
and Sacramento, California, respectively met and drove the
golden spike to open up the west.
View of Bailey Yard from the
facing Golden Spike Tower and Visitor Center features the 23
flags representing each state Union Pacific Railroad serves.
There is also a Memorial Brick Pavilion is paved with
commemorative bricks each
bearing the name of a person for which the brick was purchased.In front of
the Golden Spike Tower and Visitor Center sits a vintage dining
car that is currently being renovated. When completed, the car
will let you step back in time to the golden age of rail and
experience a real railroad dining car with all the amenities.
rail yard from this lofty perch is not enough for you, visit
during RailFest and you can actually take a tour of the yard and
get up close and personal with the cars and people that make up
Union Pacific. While you are communing with the trains don't
become so enthralled that you forget there will be food venders,
entertainment of all kinds and lots of visiting trains. It's an
annual event held in September.
Stop at the Visitor Center in the Tower
on your way out for Union Pacific Railroad and Nebraska