Train enthusiasts excited about the Union Pacific Big Boy coming to North Platte Thursday

News 2 at Ten
Published: Jun. 7, 2023 at 8:53 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 8, 2023 at 9:00 AM CDT
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NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP) - Train enthusiasts, or ferroequinologists, from across the country are excited for Union Pacific’s Big Boy’s planned stop in North Platte on Thursday as it moves towards Omaha for the College World Series.

Many have come to town to see the locomotive, or will make their way over to the special track at East Front and Chestnut Streets while it is stopped in town on Friday or Saturday morning.

The yard has already started preparing for its visit by clearing certain tracks for the Big Boy as it cannot be near certain types of cars.

One family, mother and son Quinlan McClain and Laura Reed, make the trip to North Platte’s Golden Spike Tower every year from Ohio to watch trains move through Bailey Yard, were especially excited that they might get to see the Big Boy on their trip this year.

McClain and Reed enjoying their first trip to the Golden Spike Tower
McClain and Reed enjoying their first trip to the Golden Spike Tower(Laura Reed)

McClain has been a fan of trains since he was young, and while he’s already seen Big Boy a few times, it is always a special occasion for him to get to see it blow smoke as it lumbers across the tracks.

“It’s nice to see a cool train just running.” McClain said. “With all the black smoke rolling, it just looks so cool.”

Laura Reed, McClain’s mother, expressed how she loves the yearly trips because it allows them to get away from their daily life, relax, and bond over watching trains. The two generally visit North Platte for a few days each summer and watch the trains from the tower for hours each day.

“The first time we came out here it took us three planes and 18 hours to get out here, and he was just so excited,” Reed said. “We’ve made some really nice memories.”

“It’s a nice hobby to go sit outside for multiple hours straight waiting for a train,” McClain said.