Haymarket Dist. Lincoln, NE Story and Pictures of BNSF changes in the Area

arthurhouston's picture

Chris Palmieri is the Author and Photo taker of this story.  He and his dad provide the "Rest of the Story" with their great Railroad Pictures.  Please note the Heritage Cars in front of the old station. Story and Picture follow the one posted picture.

The historic downtown area of Lincoln, known as the Haymarket District, is undergoing a radical transformation. The center of this metamorphosis is the $150 million Pinnacle Bank Arena which will be the new home for Husker Basketball. Situated right in the middle of the West Haymarket expansion project is an intricate web of high-volume BNSF lines including three manual interlockings (Baird, Hall, and Carling) which facilitate train movement from the Creston Subdivision to the Ravenna, Hastings, and St Joe Subdivisions, as well as the Amtrak depot and the connection with the UP Lincoln Subdivision which runs from Valley, NE to Lincoln.


The Haymarket District has been stunted by the 10 MPH BNSF passenger mains which are used for Amtrak trains No. 5 & 6 and Denver to Chicago Z-trains, as well as “Corner Trains” which operate between the St Joe Sub and the Creston Sub without coming into Hobson Yard. About a block west of the Passenger Mains is the BNSF “X-Yard” which had served as a staging area for cars for local industries. Beyond that are the main tracks where the handoff between the Creston Subdivision and the Ravenna Subdivision takes place.


The impact to BNSF from the Haymarket Project is the removal of the Passenger Mains, the X-Yard, and the construction of 5 adjacent tracks which will form the new western boundary of the Haymarket District. These 5 tracks will consist of three freight mains and two depot tracks (one for business cars and one for Amtrak) next to a brand new Amtrak station. Included in this project is the reconfiguration of Baird, Carling, and Hall with all new signaling and high-speed switches. A new control point named “Haymarket” will be between Baird and Hall and will govern movement to and from the realigned wye tracks connecting Creston Sub Main Track 1 with the UPRR line from Valley.


These pictures document some of railroad history that is changing with this project….


We will start with a view of the new construction as of 3-31-2012. The three main tracks have been relocated and are in service. The new Amtrak platform is under construction and the beginning framework for the depot is starting to go up. Construction of the two new passenger tracks has not begun:



Empty “Tommy Hill” coal train E-THHNAM0-73 passes under the new signal bridge that will govern eastbound movement into Baird. The signals will remain sideways until the cutover takes place – the Husker football stadium is visible behind the train:



A common sight soon to be gone – Denver to Chicago hot-shot Z-DENCHI7-31 rolls through downtown Lincoln on Passenger Main 2 – the landmark Holliday Inn on 9th and O Streets looms overhead:



Shortly after the passing of the Z-Train, Council Bluffs, IA to Kansas City, MO (KCS Interchange) loaded grain train G-CBLKCM3-31 travels through the depot as it makes the corner trip from the Creston Subdivision to the St Joe Subdivision. A pair of KCS Belles are in charge. The classy depot building still houses BNSF Nebraska Division offices. The fleet of heritage painted boxcars on display has since been removed:



At the western (timetable direction) end of the Haymarket track relocation project the eastbound “Havelock Zephyr” passes under the aging CB&Q style signal bridge that defines the boundary between manual interlocking Carling and Hall. This signal bridge has since been razed and replaced with a brand new signal bridge. The Havelock Zephyr nickname affectionately refers to the Y-HAV150 and Y-HAV257 jobs which transfer cars between Hobson Yard in Lincoln and the yard at Havelock:



Here are a couple of views taken on 4-25-2012 of the new Amtrak platform and depot. The concrete platform is complete as well as the basic depot structure. The small concrete platform that will allow passengers to board and detrain from the second track is visible across from the depot. The depot tracks have not been constructed yet:




Inbound Hastings local L-NEB6161-25 noses into the old depot off the passenger main from Cobb because of MW work on the Cobb line today. Once the rear of the train clears Hall, the train will back into Hobson. All of this track will be removed and the proximity of trains to the classic buildings in the Haymarket district will be increased:





Willmar, MN to Kansas City, KS corner train H-WLMKCK1-24 exits the old depot tracks at Hall. To the left is customer Alter Metal Recycling which has loaded four gondolas and shoved them out for the BNSF “City Job” to pick up. As part of the Haymarket development project, this facility will close and Alter Metal Recycling will relocate to an industry track in Havelock:




In preparation for the construction of the new depot tracks, a work train was positioned in the X-Yard with the Track Laying Machine (TLM) and 10 flat cars loaded with concrete ties. GP39-2 2702 will be one of the last locomotives ever operate in the X-Yard. Here are a few views of the equipment in the X-Yard:





View of the city-side of the new Amtrak depot under constructions as of 4-28-2012. The X-Yard tracks in the foreground will be removed:



Remains of the X-Yard at the West End – trains can only access the X-Yard from the east end as the west lead was severed from the main lines during the relocation. This is the view from the new end of the line at N Street:



On 4-30-2012 the TLM began construction of one of the new depot tracks. Rails have been unloaded for both tracks:



Union Pacific local LNV46-30 makes an appearance off the UPRR Lincoln Sub from Valley. The UPRR connects with BNSF Creston Sub Main Track 1 here via a Wye configureation which has also been re-designes as part of the Haymarket Project. The LNV46-30 is seen here exiting the West Leg of the UPRR wye and passing the new depot construction. In the second shot coal cars of a BNSF train can be seen in the distance on the old passenger Main 1:




This shot is my attempt to capture a BNSF locomotive as close as possible to the Lincoln Depot station sign at the old depot – this is the rear DPU on a loaded coal train:




The next day we see the UPRR LNV46-01 departing Lincoln with cars picked up in BNSF Hobson Yard. The train is on the new alignment which includes a brand new bridge over Salt Creek. The old track and bridge can be seen to the left of the train:



BNSF 2304 passes a classic GMC truck on the old passenger mains:



The next assignment for the 2304 is to take empty tie cars off the TLM on the newly constructed Depot Track and replace them with loaded cars. The crew successfully negotiated the temporary jog around the center platform:





An empty coal train form Sioux City passes as this work is under way:



A visit on 5-15-2012 reveals even more progress with both new depot tracks in place and ballasted. In addition, work on the new canopy on the platform has begun:










kfglover's picture


The University of Nebraska plays intercollegiate basketball? I thought it was just intramural.

I lived in Lincoln 1973 - 1975. I saw a couple of NU BB games. I had seen better attended intramural games.

I never spent much time in the rail yards. I did however spend about a week a month on the road along the UP main line out to the west. I have pictures I took on a few of my trips. 

Ken Glover, CEO (Chief Everything Officer), Kansas Pacific Railway

HO 2x8' shelf, Digitrax Chief II, Soundtraxx PTB-100, JMRI (LocoBuffer-USB)

Ernie Barney's picture

Lincoln in the 60's

I was born in Lincoln and spent my first 30 years there. The changes to the rail environment in the Haymarket and entire Bottoms area is amazing. I can still remember the MoPac trundling into town and their "facilities" near  Memorial Stadium. Guess that's why I like narrow gauge: The MoPac was a run down, funky operation when I saw it in the late 60's/early 70's. Add the CNW, Rock Island, CB&Q and the "Big Red Line" and it was a great time to grow up watching trains! GBR! cheeky

The Chili LIne guy; in HOn3 and Fn3

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