Monday – August 26, 2013
While we were at the Golden Spike Tower and Visitors Center in North Platte, Nebraska, one of the volunteers at the visitor center suggested we visit the Union Pacific Museum & Depot Display at Cody Park in North Platte. This turned out to be an excellent recommendation.
Admission to the park is free. The park contains a zoo, campground and the museum. The campground does not have any hookups or dump station.
There are two engines on display in the museum portion of the park; Challenger Engine #3977 installed in October 1968 and Engine #6922 installed in August 1985.
The Challenger Engine was delivered to the Union Pacific Railroad in June 1943. It was one of 105 such engines built by the American Locomotive Company of New York. There are two remaining "3900" class locomotives and the only one on public display is the Challenger Engine #3977. The total weight of the engine fully loaded is 1,069,800 lbs. These engines were designed for both freight and passenger service and for speeds up to 80 mph. The first source of energy used was coal, but in 1945 the engine was converted to an oil burner. The Challenger was the largest engine on the rails for a time. Her first assignment was hauling freight between Los Angeles and Salt Lake City and from Los Angeles to Caliente, California. After diesels took over, she was assigned to the Wyoming Division and then to the Nebraska Division until her retirement in 1961. The Challenger is attached to a crew car, mail car and a caboose.
Entry into the engine compartments, railroad cars and the depot are permitted. The area surrounding the depot and train is landscaped and a crossing sign lends an authentic look to the display.
The Union Pacific Railroad Museum portrays a history of the Union Pacific Railroad in North Platte and surrounding communities.
Tomorrow another adventure begins.