Railroad Days

ALL ABOARD for a fun-filled weekend, exploring five unique railroad-themed attractions. Celebrate our region’s rich railroad heritage and all things train and track at Railroad Days 2018. On July 14 and 15 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Lauritzen Gardens, The Durham Museum, the Union Pacific Railroad Museum, the RailsWest Railroad Museum, and the Historic General Dodge House are teaming up for one of Omaha’s favorite summer events.

THIS EVENT IS AN INCREDIBLE VALUE- The weekend gives families the opportunity to explore the exhibits and collections at each attraction, as well as special Railroad Days activities, all at one low price. Available for purchase at any participating venue during the event, a $15 family pass (good for 2 adults and their dependent children), includes admission to and bus/trolley transportation between all 5 locations. A $5 pass is also available for one adult with the purchase of a family pass (limit one). There is SO much to do for the money.

School buses loop from Lauritzen Gardens to The Durham Museum to Union Pacific Railroad Museum and back to Lauritzen Gardens
Trolleys loop from the Union Pacific Railroad Museum to RailsWest Railroad Museum to Historic General Dodge House and back to Union Pacific Railroad Museum.

This year’s featured equipment is Union Pacific’s Chicago & North Western Locomotive, UP1995, part of the Heritage Series, which will be on display at The Durham Museum. First unveiled in 2006, the locomotive incorporates C&NW’s historic colors and graphic elements to honor the men and women of the Chicago & North Western.

The Chicago & North Western was a road of contrasts — serving Chicago commuters, Michigan iron mines, and Illinois coal fields. It amassed a sprawling network of branch lines throughout the Midwest and established the industry’s first safety campaign by coining the phrase “Safety First.”

The line also was a key link between Chicago and the West. Chicago & North Western was the first railroad to connect with Union Pacific at Council Bluffs in 1867, and in 1984, partnered with UP to open a connector line to the coal fields in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin – enabling the region to become a major U.S. energy source. The Chicago & North Western and Union Pacific merged in 1995.

Tips for Railroad Days rookies or reminders for those who have experienced the event before
• Map out your day before you come- decide where you want to park (Lauritzen Gardens and The Durham Museum have the biggest parking lots), where you want to visit each day, what time you need to catch the bus to get back to your vehicle, etc.
• Visit any outdoor locations in the morning, when the temperatures are cooler and leave indoor locations to the afternoon. (Lauritzen Gardens and RailsWest have the most exhibits outdoors).
• Dress comfortably- for walking, for heat, for riding the bus, etc.
• Stay hydrated. It is July and the heat catches up with you quickly.
• Keep your wristbands on if you want to visit both days!

What makes this event so important for the community?
• We have such a rich railroad heritage in our region and with displays, exhibits, artifacts, architecture, model trains, children’s activities and more, this event truly is a celebration of all things train and track. We are also extremely fortunate to have a wealth of quality attractions that come together and collaborate for this event, and the continued support of Union Pacific, our presenting sponsor.

Additional information can be found on the website FAQ section: http://www.omaharailroaddays.com/faqs/

LAURITZEN GARDENS | 100 Bancroft Street, Omaha
During Railroad Days, botanical meets mechanical at Lauritzen Gardens. Get up close and personal with two of the greatest locomotives to ever power Union Pacific Railroad at Kenefick Park. Stand in awe at Centennial No. 6900, one of the most powerful diesel-electric locomotives ever built, and Big Boy No. 4023, one of the world’s largest steam locomotives. Visit the model railroad garden to discover seven bridge-chugging, tunnel-zooming G-scale train lines winding through replicas of Omaha’s favorite landmarks.

Children can also enjoy complimentary rides on a classic 1949 King Amusement Company On-Track Train Ride as it chugs along tracks across the scenic festival garden patio. With model train exhibits, railroad ditties from entertainers, as well as children’s activities and 100 acres of display gardens, there is plenty to capture the visitors’ imagination and celebrate all things train and track.

THE DURHAM MUSEUM | 801 South 10th Street, Omaha
For this year’s Railroad Days, The Durham Museum is proud to showcase Union Pacific’s Chicago & North Western Locomotive. This equipment will be located trackside, for guests to see up close and take photos. “Freight Train” Frank will be back at The Durham playing railroad songs, so sit back and enjoy the music or grab an instrument and get in on the fun! Visit House of Trains and Missouri Valley Free-Mo in the Swanson Gallery to view a massive model train display and have the chance to speak one-on-one with model railroad experts. Guests will be able to take advantage of the museum’s current traveling exhibitions, American Adventure and Fighting for the Right to Fight

The Durham Museum in Omaha’s beautiful art deco Union Station is home to permanent exhibits that preserve Omaha’s vibrant history, traveling exhibits covering subjects ranging from history and culture, to science and industry, and many entertaining, educational, family-oriented activities. The Durham Museum is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution and has strong ties with the Library of Congress, National Archives, and The Field Museum.

UNION PACIFIC RAILROAD MUSEUM | 200 Pearl Street, Council Bluffs
Come and explore more than 150 years of America’s largest railroad at the Union Pacific Railroad Museum! The Union Pacific Railroad Museum’s mission is to promote a sense of connectedness that’s shared by generations of people whose personal and family histories have been touched by the railroad.

HISTORIC GENERAL DODGE HOUSE | 605 Third Street, Council Bluffs
One of Council Bluffs’ most famous residents, General Grenville M. Dodge has been called “the greatest railroad builder of all time,“ having surveyed over 100,000 miles of line. A Civil War General, Dodge’s involvement in political, financial, and military affairs made him an associate of many of the most influential Americans of his time and counsel to presidents, with five presidents spending time in his home. In 1869, Dodge built his handsome Victorian home at the cost of $35,000, a lavish sum for the day. The home was designated as a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service in 1961 and opened as a museum in 1964.

RAILSWEST RAILROAD MUSEUM | 1512 South Main Street, Council Bluffs
The RailsWest Railroad Museum, located in the historic Rock Island Depot, features displays and artifacts from the numerous rail lines that passed through Council Bluffs. The museum is home to an extensive H.O. scale model train layout operated by the Carter Lake Model Railroad Youth Club that is a must-see for rail fans of all ages. Outside in the train yard, visitors are invited to climb aboard the old steam engines and take a ride down memory lane or just sit back and relax in the Omaha Club car that ran between Chicago, IL and Lincoln, NE with a stop in Council Bluffs. Visitors can imagine themselves riding along behind the train in the 1918 cupola style caboose or in the 1967 bay window style caboose. There is always plenty to see and do while visiting the RailsWest Railroad Museum.