Along the line

Free bus tours of Bailey Yard were a highlight of Rail Days 2016. Participants saw parts of Union Pacific’s largest rail classification yard that are not generally open to the public. The 2020 virtual Rail Days will offer online tours of the yard. 

This year’s North Platte Rail Days will be held virtually Aug. 7-9, says Kirsten Parker, executive director of the Golden Spike Tower & Visitor Center.

Events being held online instead of in person include a tour of Bailey Yard — usually done via bus rides — and the Operation Lifesaver train ride, Parker said in a Friday email.

“I am so excited about the opportunities and possibilities this gives our guests from all around the world to join us during a time of social distancing,” she said.

“We appreciate our sponsors and community partners’ support in this decision.”

Though the main Rail Days events won’t be live, Parker said, the North Platte Model Train Club is still hoping to hold its annual show that weekend at the D&N Event Center.

Plans for reopening the Golden Spike Tower as COVID-19 health measures permit are still in the works, Parker said.

The Rail Days dates coincide with the key rescheduled events of Nebraskaland Days, notably the Aug. 5-8 Buffalo Bill Rodeo and the Aug. 8 parade.

The Lincoln County Historical Museum’s annual corn feed, held during Rail Days last year, will be moved to Aug. 1, said museum director/curator Jim Griffin.

That puts the 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. corn feed the day before the rescheduled Miss Rodeo Nebraska pageant, which will be held Aug. 2-5.

Griffin said the event still will be held outdoors, following whatever COVID-19 guidelines local health officials may have in place at that time.

“We’re hoping (that) in the worst-case scenario, we’ll do a drive-through” for people to get their corn on the cob, he said.

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