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Union Pacific Railroad's Bailey Switch Yard

sunny 75 °F

(Saturday) North Platte, Nebraska is all about railroading. Since its beginning in 1862 when President Abraham Lincoln signed the Pacific Railroad Act directing the Central Pacific & Union Pacific Railroads to build a transcontinental railway it has been a railroad town. Union Pacific's headquarters was in North Platte, NE (now Omaha). Over the years many mergers and acquisitions have occurred to create what is now the largest freight railroad in the world. The company dropped passenger transportation about 40 yrs ago.

Former UP President Edd Bailey conceived and built during his term of office, the largest freight rail car classification yard in the world at North Platte.
Now officially called 'The Bailey Yard' it is 8 miles long X 2 miles wide. It handles 10,000 rail cars in a 24 hr. day on 315 miles of yard track. An amazing sight to see, the company erected an 8 story tower with viewing deck to enable visitors to overlook the massive yards. There was a retired UP employee present at the tower and explained what we were seeing. We saw the locomotive repair shop which operates round the clock servicing the company's 8,500 locomotives and repairs 750 engines/mo. A diesel locomotive is 74' long, 15'7" tall, weighs 195 tons and generates 6,000 hp! The yard consumes 14 million gallons of diesel fuel/month.

The yard is divided into East & West operations with the main lines for thru-trains running down the center. On each side of the complex are elevated sections of track where the rail cars are pushed to the top of the 'hump', unhooked allowing gravity to pull them down the other side. When it reaches 'the bowl', a computer operating track switches directs the cars onto whatever train is being assembled determined by destination. Three thousand cars are 'humped' each day. One hundred fifty-five (155) trains leave the yard daily and it is 'poetry in motion' to watch. The yard employs 2,600 employees who make it all happen. It was a very interesting experience.

Tomorrow I will head east to Lincoln, Nebraska's Capitol city. At the same time I am keeping my ear to the radio/tv for news of Hurricane Irma who is due to hit our town of Estero in SW Florida tomorrow.

Posted by dixter 15:42 Archived in USA Tagged the yard rail bailey

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