Track to The Future: Uniting the Nation


Trains-- they connect us from one city to the next, transporting goods and passengers. NTV's Jacklyn Ryan took a look at the railroad's past for part one of her series "Track to the Future."

The purpose of the railroad was to ship goods and people from one place to another. It's something the world never experienced until July 1, 1862 when Abraham Lincoln signed the Pacific Railway Act.

Nebraska's own North Platte is currently home to the largest classification rail yard in the world.

"We're serving some of the greatest manufacturing areas in our country," Union Pacific Spokesman Mark Davis said.

The Union Pacific Bailey Yard stretches for eight miles and covers 2,800 acres. Thousands of workers in North Platte work for the Bailey Yard. In that city it's pretty easy to meet someone with connections to the railroad.

"Most of them either have worked there and retired or they're working now," North Platte resident Karla Valdez said.

The goal of the railroad was simple, to unite the nation.

"I'll tell you, it changed everything-- literally-- across the country once the rail line was completed," Davis said.