Since the beginning (over 125 plus years), North Platte has been a railroad town. This is the third annual year for the town to come together to celebrate Rail Days.  Here is what you need to know to enjoy this 2018 week-end.

What You Need to Know about Bailey Yard

what you need to know North Platte Rail DaysFirst of all, Bailey Yard is the biggest railyard classification area in the world.  (Yes, you read that correctly.)  This is the only week-end of the year that you can go out on the Yard if you have tickets.  All year long, you can watch the action of the yard from the adjacent Golden Spike Tower.  The best part about this is the fact that you can see the action without being in the middle of it.  My kids really liked the open 7th floor observation deck viewing as well. 

My favorite part is the fact that retired railroad workers often spend time guiding visitors on what they are seeing from the 8th floor.  Plus they have displays chronicling the history of the railyard.  I definitely recommend that you watch the suggested video before going up in the tower.  You can buy  discounted tickets as a part of Rail Days, so if you have never been to the tower, you will want to make sure to visit this week-end.

What You Need to Know about Rail Days

As far as the special events,   the celebration start at 9 am on Friday and come to a conclusion on Sunday afternoon.  Many of the events are free.  Some require reservations.  What you need to know first is the North Platte Rail Days schedule.  To save you a bit of time, I went through and made some notes.

North Platte Rail DaysBefore you simply drive to the railyard, what you need to know is that many of the events are taking place around town.  From Cody Park to the Lincoln County Museum to Buffalo Bill’s house, the town is celebrating together.  Almost all of the events are family friendly.

What else you need to know in advance though is that some of the free events have been sold out for awhile.  That does seem to be a bit contradictory.   But because reservations are required, tickets have been spoken for already.   For instance, the Operation Lifesaver Train Rides to Brady/Maxwell and back are no longer available.  Although they still have commemorative items at this link, the free Bailey Yard bus tours already have a wait list.

What North Platte Rail Days Offers for Families

But never fear, there are still plenty of headlining options.  If you or your child cannot get enough of trains, there is an ongoing model train and hobby show.  Families can enjoy fun events at Cody Park throughout Saturday. Thomas the Tank Engine is putting on 2 shows.  Families can attend for free.  (What you need to know is that this is a great bargain.  I know that my kids’ grandparents took them to a Thomas event long ago, and the tickets were definitely not free.)  Suessical the Musical is being presented by the North Platte Community Playhouse at the beautifully restored Fox Theatre.  Ticket prices are very reasonable.

What North Platte Rail Days Offers for Grown Ups

For the grown-ups, there is a golf scramble, a demo derby and even a murder mystery scavenger hunt.  Plus there is the Western Nebraska Beer Fest at Pal’s Brewery.  As a mom, I greatly appreciate the fact that they are offering designated driver wrist bands along with safe rides home at the end of the event.  Having taken a quick tour of the Prairie Arts Center, that will be a stunning location for the Saturday evening blues and jazz concert.

With all of the options and possibilities, how will you plan your Rail Days week-end?  If you have attended this event, please comment below on your favorite parts.  Or simply comment on what you wish that you could attend.



Author: neodyssey

My name is Gretchen Garrison. I started this blog about Nebraska in 2013. So far, I have written three books about Nebraska and Lincoln.