Today’s adventure was chosen by Bruce, who is a train enthusiast or rather a ferroequinologist (Iron Horse lover). We were somewhat interested, and have toured other train museums, but this was not a museum but the heart of the east west rail system. This is where east meets west on Union Pacific's rail line
The tower of the visitor center is shaped like a railroad spike and topped with a golden roof, thus its name, the Golden Spike; not to be confused with the golden spike used at the spot where the First Transcontinental Railroad met when they were laying tracks across the nation.
We enjoyed reading all the information in the museum area, Cody’s loss from a train crash, Troop Trains, the first African American Engineer and the Orphan Trains. An estimated 33,000 orphaned children who lived in the streets of New York were transported by rail and placed with Mid-West families due to the work of the Sisters of Charity and the Children’s Aid Society. Here is more information about The Orphan Trains.
We were up in the tower watching with amazement the operation of the railroad transfer yard. Trains coming from the west, were separated from their engines (that went in for maintenance). Then the cars were pushed up onto the higher land to be sent to one of many other tracks on the lower levels. It is all computerized. The car numbers are recognized, cut loose, and split off onto the correct track to be connected to engines of their destination. The descent to their destination track is simply by gravity. It was mesmerizing to watch all the activity going on from our vantage point in the tower.
There was a moment of spontaneous chaos when the elevator opened and a bunch of employees on a scavenger hunt came out on our floor, asking for an out of state visitor and they needed a photo taken with the group. Bruce and Sue jumped right in with them as we snapped the photo for them. Then, just like that, they were gone again.
We stayed up on the observation floor for a long time enjoying the view. It was like watching a living thing. If you would like to read more about the Bailey Yard operations check it out here.
Afterwards we went to a county museum with a log home and a Sears kit house and a few shops from the late 1800’s. The day was hot and we went back to relax in our rigs. It was still 85° at 10 p.m.