Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Pioneers and railroads

We started the day by taking the Lincoln Highway from Kearney west towards North Platte.
This part of Nebraska was a tough place to live during the mid-1800's.

We made a stop at the Dawson County Historical Museum in Lexington. These local museums are always so interesting. The items on display were all donated by local families.  Here are some photos of just a small part of the exhibit.

From an old diner on the Lincoln Highway

We continued west to Cozad which, per a sign, is proudly located on the 100th meridian. We went to Cozad to see the original Pony Express station building.

From Cozad we continued west to North Platte. We particularly wanted to see the Union Pacific's Bailey Yard. It's the largest train yard in the world. 

The 8 story observation tower

This repair facility handles everything from complete overhauls to light bulb changing.

Each locomotive is equipped with sand tanks toward the front of the engine that are filled with sand from the sand tower. Sand is the primary source of traction for locomotives anytime wheels begin to slip. In front of each wheel, there's a nozzle that sprays sand on the track with compressed air. This is an automatic operation each time the wheels slip or the engineer makes an emergency stop.
This photo didn't come out very well but it's tells the story of how orphan children from big cities were sent out west to be, hopefully, adopted by farming families who desperately needed the help. 

The plan was to spend the night at the city campground but it doesn't open until May 1st so we're at the Buffalo Bill State Historical Park campground. $18/night.

Nebraska is a fascinating state.


Spotted Dog Ranch: said...

Oh man, love all the cool train stuff!

Russ Krecklow said...

Nice to be on the "trail of history" isn't it? Fun stuff, especially enjoyed the train photos. We will look forward to your future posts as you move west! Hope to meet you in Oregon some time.