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North Platte

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Posted by Dakguy201 on Wednesday, June 18, 2008 9:47 AM
Although the formal opening ceremony is not until next week, the Golden Spike observation tower is now open to the public.  The hours are 10 to 7 Monday thru Saturday and 1 to 7 on Sundays. 
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Posted by Anonymous on Sunday, February 17, 2008 2:09 PM

The Golden Spike Tower is just about complete and they plan to open this spring.  You might also what to check our Rail fest celebration that is planned for the fall.  Last year we had a big turnout.

 The person in charge of promotion for the Golden Spike was involved with Operation Lifesaver for many years.  She is a go getter and a promoter.  Keep and eye out you will most likely see informational posting when the Spike is due to open.

The tower is about 90 feet in the air and should give a great view of the yard.   

 

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Posted by cnwfan51 on Saturday, November 17, 2007 7:06 PM

As a kid I grew up in Kearney Nebraska in the 60s and early 70s, I remenber the big turbines the big 636 alcos and the GE U50cs when all of this was going on the E9s on the passenger trains 5,and 6 trains7 and 8 amd 101 and 102 the streamliners. If   you can get to it the U.P.and the BNSF cross at grade in Fremont on the west side of town it is the only place in the state where two main lines cross at grade in the state.  There are many places to stop and watch the action take your time stop in any small town and enjoy the small town cafes   There is a lot to see along the way  Look forward to hearing about the trip   Larry

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Posted by russpill on Monday, November 12, 2007 8:50 PM
If you Google on 'Golden spike visitor center north platte' there are several website concerning the tower.  I was there on Sunday, Nov 11 and it appeared that construction was proceeding although no one was working that day.  It will give a tremendous view of Bailey Yard.
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Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, August 23, 2007 9:54 PM
I regularly railfan Hwy 30 from I35 Ames IA west, it parallels UP except for the split at Mo Valley, then it follows old C&NW single track to Fremont Ne, then all the way west. Its usually busy with eastbound coal loads and some mixed merchandise pig or stack, (eastbounds go thru Omaha/CB loaded), grade on backside of Blair tough pull, all westbounds usually split at Mo Valley to Fremont. I am planning on Gibbon for the 4 of Sept for 844 east to Kansas trip, scheduled 8 am out of NP. Return supposed to be on Sept 22.
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Posted by t.winx on Friday, July 13, 2007 1:18 PM
Have fun! and let us know how it goes. Im planning a visit out there later this summer. CANT WAIT!!!!
Tyler
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Posted by usersatch on Friday, July 13, 2007 1:34 AM
Will be in Gibbon this Saturday in the morning and early afternoon.  Got the camera and laptop ready.  As hot as it is lately, hopefully the coal trains will be plenty!
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Posted by wcaudle on Tuesday, May 29, 2007 7:00 PM

I have railfanned Nebraska several times and have found that US Highway 30 is a very good spot to watch the trains from.  Just east of the North Platte airport, the UP runs triple track.  The highway makes a good spot to park and watch.  Lots of big shade trees out there.  I had 1 UP Police officer check on me and asked if I needed anything!  The locals in law enforcement accept that many people love the trains, and, they spend money in their towns. 

Gibbon, as mentioned before, is the MECCA of trains, close-up.  Over 110 on one day, and 124 the next.  A solid parade of Armour Yellow, mixed in with some NS and CSX.  The county deputy came by late in the day and asked how many trains I saw.  If you respect the UP, they will respect and help you. 

I have been at O'Fallons junction a few times, parking in the middle.  I set up one camera, an umbrella and chair, and watch the show.  Kearney is OK, but you need to be right downtown, which is not too bad.  Grand Island has the overpass of the BNSF, so you get the Feature plus a second show.  I would not advise spending the night there.

Be safe and enjoy.

I love the Rails - especially the European Train and Trams (Stadtbahn).
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Posted by t.winx on Saturday, April 21, 2007 2:14 PM

ed, would you happen to know how many they run on the Nickle Plate? I heard that traffic was down since the Conrail split and I never seem to see any trains when I'm around the line.

Thanks,

Tyler

Tyler
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Posted by t.winx on Friday, April 20, 2007 5:21 PM

Ed,

First of all, thanks for asking. I love to share my 24 hour results.

The ole Conrail really surprised me. After the split, I never thought NS would match the traffic level Conrail had, but I found out that my guess was wrong. I caught an amazing 84 trains in 24 hours and this total might be a little off because my first few hours were spent between Butler and Goshen and partly away from the tracks. Also I probably missed some SB/NB trains off the Marion branch.

Between 10:16 on Wed. 3-21-07 and 10:16 thursday I caught 68 NS trains. 31 Freight/grain/local/steel (15 EB, 10 WB, 4 NB, and 2 SB). 31 Intermodal (15 WB and 16 EB). 2 Ribbon-rail (1 WB, 1 SB same train). 2 Auto (1 WB, 1 EB). 1 EB NS led mty coal train and 1 WB baretable.

6 BNSF led coal (4 EB, 2 WB mty)

6 CP. 2 EB Freight. 3 Stack (1 WB, 2 EB). 1 WB Auto.

4 Amtrak.

The strange thing about this count is that most trains are so dang tiny. It makes me wonder how NS makes a profit. I saw a few stack trains with only 1 or 2 five-pack well cars and there were only a couple large ones.

Tyler

Tyler
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Posted by MP173 on Tuesday, April 17, 2007 9:13 AM

Tyler:

What was the train count in Goshen, In?

I have heard that line has really picked up lately.

ed

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Posted by t.winx on Saturday, April 7, 2007 5:50 PM

Wow, awesome!! I finally found somebody that is as hardcore a railfan as me! Thank you P. Lammermeier! I stayed about 48 hours along the UP in NE (mostly between Kearney and the "park" in Gibbon) last august as well on Friday the 18th and Saturday. I LOVE NEBRASKA, I think it is beautiful Big Smile [:D]!!! I have to admit, though, I did stay in a hotel Friday night and didn't get a full total 48 hour count, but, more recently in march I did stay up 48 hours (plus a 24 hour count in Goshen IN the night before) along the Transcon in Illinois, not once taking my eye off the track.

I am curious. Just what type of trains made up the other 50%? In other words, how many intermodal trains, auto, manifest and any other type of trains did you see(if you keep count)?

Thanks a lot!

Tyler

Tyler
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Posted by clash on Monday, April 2, 2007 1:03 AM

I've lived in North Platte and worked for the railroad there for almost 15 years and I think one of the best spots to watch the action is on the Buffalo St. overpass. it's close to the carshop and you see everything coming in from the east as well as all the outbounds from the west.            The new trainwatching tower is scheduled to be built next year but I dont think the location was very well chosen. It's just east of the diesel shop and it seems to me to be a long distance from all the interesting points. At least the now torn down observation platform was close to the east hump. It was planned out by people who have more interest in taking money from out of town tourists than taking pictures of trains so this is no surprise.                                     There are three other overpasses right in town too and they provide a good vantage point for watching if you dont mind looking through a chain link fence.

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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, March 30, 2007 4:49 PM

North Platte is very good. I have been on US 30 from Ogallala to Grand Island and it follows the tracks the whole way. O'fallons is also good. That is where the coal line from Wyoming joins the main heading east. It is wide open and there is a grade crossing there that allows you to move for photos. In North Platte the loco facility is easy to find it is right on W Front St. I had a good pair of binoculars and could ID any loco the I could see. The ready tracks are behind the byilding though. I found the best spot to see trains was the grade crossing a N Front Rd on the west end of the yard. The hump locos will back out to the road to tie onto a cut, there is a track for replacing wheels and since it is the yard throat the trains pass by slowly which means easy pics. It is clear viewing in either direction. I saw over 100 trains in one day at that crossing. I post my pics from that area on rrpicturearchives.net in three photo albums

http://neil300.rrpicturearchives.net/archiveThumbs.aspx?id=11998

http://neil300.rrpicturearchives.net/archiveThumbs.aspx?id=12028

http://neil300.rrpicturearchives.net/archiveThumbs.aspx?id=12057

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Posted by lammermeier on Friday, March 23, 2007 8:35 PM

The UP mainline is one of the most exciting places to watch trains in the U.S., especially if you are interested in quantity of trains.  As everyone knows, U.S. 30 pretty much parallels the mainline all the way to Western Nebraska.  I've been to Gibbon three times for more than just a few hours.  Gibbon is practically unpopulated, but does have a few fast food places near the tracks, no motels closeby (you have to go south to I-80), but the RR park across the street in "downtown" Gibbon affords a safe place to spend the night in your car watching the non-stop parade across the street.  No one will bother you.  Last August, I was there for 58 hours straight and saw 6.5 trains per hour, something which would be difficult to duplicate anywhere else.  Slightly over 50% were coal trains.  I also drove south 20 miles south to HASTINGS," hoping for a different type of spot, where the Marysville Sub crosses the old Q but was disappointed since the crossing is in the middle of a cornfield about 1/4 mile from any accessible road.  Grand Island is also wonderful.  Lots of trains, but I am not sure I'd like to spend the night near the crossing. Grand Island averages about 5.5 trains per hour, again the majority are coal trains.  I'll be back this year the third week of August.  Great train watching spots!

 P. Lammermeier

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Posted by Dakguy201 on Thursday, March 8, 2007 7:19 AM
I found a web site for the North Platte Convention & Visitors Bureau, so I E-mailed the question to them.  They indicated the old structure was gone, and a ground breaking for a new one will be held shortly.  The projected completion time for the new one is the summer of '08.
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Posted by Dakguy201 on Tuesday, March 6, 2007 1:53 AM

I don't doubt that Beaulieu is correct on the status of the tower, but does anybody know how to check on the completion date of the new structure?  I tried the North Platte Chamber web site, and they still have information for the (apparently now) demolished one.

 

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Posted by clash on Saturday, March 3, 2007 6:25 PM

The old observation tower that was just to the West of the diesel shop has been taken down. I just noticed this last week while driving to work .Too bad since it has been there for about as long as the shop has but it was really needing some maintainance.

 

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Posted by beaulieu on Saturday, March 3, 2007 5:11 PM

 Dakguy201 wrote:
My understanding is that the Golden Spike project was killed after roughly $1 mil was spent on consultants to determine its feasibility.  Sounds like somebody (probably the taxpayers of North Platte) got taken.

 

Buzzzt, wrong answer. The project has been hung up over various funding issues but is back on track. The observation platform will not longer try to look like a spike. But construction will begin later this year.

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Posted by Expresslane on Thursday, March 1, 2007 8:11 PM

 

Thank you for the info on the Golden Spike Tower. I thought it sounded like too big of a deel. I would say a person could drive along U S 30 and stop anyplace you wanted to watch and take photoes of trains. They pass by every few minutes.

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Posted by davews on Wednesday, February 28, 2007 10:00 AM
The platform gives you a fair view, but leaves you wanting to get closer to the repair building.  It may be possible to call U.P. for a tour of the facility. There is an overpass east of town for better elevation.  I found the display of historical equipment in the park north of downtown well worth the visit. 
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Posted by spbed on Wednesday, February 28, 2007 9:59 AM
The actual golden spike is at Stanford U & I doubt if they will be giving it up any time shortly

Living nearby to MP 186 of the UPRR  Austin TX Sub

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Posted by Dakguy201 on Wednesday, February 28, 2007 4:34 AM
My understanding is that the Golden Spike project was killed after roughly $1 mil was spent on consultants to determine its feasibility.  Sounds like somebody (probably the taxpayers of North Platte) got taken.
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Posted by Expresslane on Monday, February 26, 2007 7:41 AM

 

  Does anyone know if the golden spike tower was ever built at N Platte? Saw something on this a few years ago but never heard if it was finished. Was to go up near UP's yard and to be a great place to see all the action.

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Posted by spbed on Sunday, February 25, 2007 8:37 AM

I took 30 & only went as far as Kearney. Gibbon is really terrific, I also went to Fremont & Grand Island where the UPRR main ducks under the BNSF main & well if you are lucky you may get that shot that comes aong only once in a long while

 

 

 Dakguy201 wrote:

I am considering a trip to North Platte in the spring.  For me, it would be about 7 hours one way.  I would probably pick up the UP line at Fremont and use highway 30 rather than I-80, as I understand it has long stretches with the tracks in sight.

Has anyone been there recently?  My understanding is that there is a train watching platform to the west of downtown, but from the picture of it I saw it does not appear tall enough to see much of the yard.

An alternative would be just go as far west as Gibbon or Kearney.  You would get the same traffic count and (I assume) there must be some decent train watching spots.

Anyone want to comment? 

 

Living nearby to MP 186 of the UPRR  Austin TX Sub

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Posted by usersatch on Sunday, February 25, 2007 1:12 AM

On my fall trip to NE, I went to Grand Island and Kearney.  I was very tempted to drive a "bit" further to North Platte, but didn't.  Both GI and Kearney are excellent places to railfan!  You wont be disappointed.  Saw/filmed about 12 trains per hour.  GI is better as you have the UP/BNSF crossover.  I have a conference in Ft Collins, CO this July and am thinking about driving back to KY and stopping by the yard on the way. 

Let me know how the trip goes!  I am curious as to how much you can see, with all the paranoia about security these days.

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North Platte
Posted by Dakguy201 on Sunday, February 25, 2007 12:19 AM

I am considering a trip to North Platte in the spring.  For me, it would be about 7 hours one way.  I would probably pick up the UP line at Fremont and use highway 30 rather than I-80, as I understand it has long stretches with the tracks in sight.

Has anyone been there recently?  My understanding is that there is a train watching platform to the west of downtown, but from the picture of it I saw it does not appear tall enough to see much of the yard.

An alternative would be just go as far west as Gibbon or Kearney.  You would get the same traffic count and (I assume) there must be some decent train watching spots.

Anyone want to comment? 

 

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