Visitors can take a ride back to the passenger rail era of the 1940s and 1950s at the next Family Night at the Union Pacific Railroad Museum.
Family Night will run from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday at the museum at 200 Pearl St.
“This is an opportunity for us to offer the museum to everybody at an unusual hour,” said Patricia LaBounty, museum and collections manager. “We’ve had a very good response from the community, and that response seems to be growing.”
The event, entitled, “Ticket to Ride,” will focus on traveling by rail and some of the destinations trains took people to during that time period.
A good family vacation was hopping on a train and riding through the countryside to one of America’s National Parks, LaBounty said.
“A lot of people are surprised to find out Union Pacific operated all the concessions (and sometimes lodges or hotels) in many of the western national parks,” she said. “It’s surprising that a railroad purchased, developed and operated a ski resort in Idaho.”
Workers in the businesses inside the parks were Union Pacific employees, she said.
Union Pacific sold off its national park concession stands, lodges, etc. in 1971 when Amtrak took over passenger rail service, LaBounty said. Since UP could no longer profit from transporting people to the parks, it wasn’t worthwhile for it to operate and maintain the facilities.
A special treat during this Family Night will be guests from the Camerrail Club in Omaha, who will host the event dressed in vintage railroad uniforms, LaBounty said. The club is for people who are interested in railroad history.
“They have a depth of knowledge of railroad history that’s pretty astounding,” she said. “They will be on hand to guide people through the passenger exhibit, talk to people and just explain what the experience might have been like.”