Step back in time and ride on the Union Pacific from Omaha to Columbus

Step back in time and ride on the Union Pacific from Omaha to Columbus

For 105 years, Union Pacific trains carried travelers across the United States. But passenger service came to a halt in 1971, as airline and Interstate travel continued to grow.

Next month, passengers will once again have the chance to ride the rails on a U.P. train.

Council Bluffs’ Union Pacific Railroad Museum will take passengers from Omaha to Columbus, Nebraska, and back in historic U.P. train cars.

The Union Pacific Museum Special will depart at 8:30 a.m. Aug. 13 from the Durham Museum, 801 S. 10th St. Tickets are on sale now. Fares start at $250 for coach seating.

Proceeds from the ride will benefit U.P.’s nonprofit museum, said Patricia LaBounty, museum and collections manager.

“Union Pacific doesn’t offer rides on its main line very often,” she said. The fundraiser, she said, will allow modern passengers the rare chance to experience what it was like to rocket through Nebraska by rail.

The railroad’s 11 heritage passenger cars will be pulled by a yellow E-9 streamliner locomotive, like the one on display near TD Ameritrade Park during the College World Series, LaBounty said.

The passenger cars were in regular use decades ago, she said. Since then, many have been updated — with amenities like air conditioning — and outfitted with luxury interiors. Some cars are older than others and feature more of their original fixtures.

“These are premium passenger cars. This isn’t a bus. They’re beautiful,” LaBounty said.

Each car in the train’s consist has its own character, like the “City of Los Angeles,” a diner car built in 1949, and the “Missouri River Eagle,” a coach converted into a dome dining car in the mid-1980s.

Riders will be able to move about the train, visiting other cars depending on their ticket class. A hospitality car will offer food and beverages for all ticket classes, LaBounty said.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit

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