Union Pacific’s Bailey Yard in North Platte, Neb., is the largest railroad classification yard in the world. Named in honor of former Union Pacific President Edd H. Bailey, the massive yard covers 2,850 acres, reaching a total length of eight miles. The yard is located in the midst of key east-west and north-south corridors, making it a critical component of Union Pacific’s rail network.
Bailey Yard has 17 receiving and 16 departure tracks handling 14,000 rail cars every 24 hours. Of those, 3,000 cars are sorted daily in the yard’s eastward and westward yards, nicknamed "hump" yards. Using a mound cresting 34 feet for eastbound trains and 20 feet for those heading west, the hump yards allow four cars a minute to roll gently into any of 114 "bowl" tracks. Here they become part of trains headed for destinations in the East, West and Gulf Coasts of America, as well as the Canadian and Mexican borders. An average of 139 trains per day, comprised of raw and finished goods, such as automobiles, coal, grain, corn, sugar, chemicals, steel and consumer goods, including electronics, apparel and other retail products, are handled at Bailey Yard.
To keep America moving, train operations and repair shops at Bailey Yard are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The fueling and service center processes more than 8,500 locomotives each month, using technology like overhead cranes and elevated work bays to maintain fluid operations.
The on-site car repair facility annually replaces 10,000 pairs of wheels, many identified through an in-motion defect detector using ultrasound technology to inspect the wheel. This detector was developed by Union Pacific and is the only one in the world. Some wheel repairs even take place without the rail car ever leaving the track, minimizing down time.
Union Pacific’s annual capital investments continue to enhance operational capabilities at Bailey Yard, ensuring safe, reliable and environmentally friendly transportation.