North Platte-area Rail Park Project Progressing
By Fred Knapp , Reporter/Producer Nebraska Public Media
June 28, 2022, 1:25 p.m. ·
Officials in the North Platte area are moving ahead with plans for a railroad industrial park they say could ultimately create more than a thousand jobs.
The proposed railroad industrial park would be located next to the village of Hershey, about nine miles west of the Union Pacific’s Bailey Yard in North Platte. It received a significant boost last week when the state of Nebraska announced it would contribute up to $30 million to the project, contingent on local contributions of $7.5 million.
The North Platte Area Chamber and Development Corporation says officials have been working with Union Pacific for more than three years to find a location that would not hamper operations in Bailey Yard, which it says is the world’s largest rail classification yard. That’s where freight cars are sorted and combined into trains. Officials say the volume and complexity of traffic through the yard has made it difficult for other industries in Lincoln County to access the railroad’s main line over the past 70 years .
The project site contains almost 300 acres, and officials hope to attract agricultural processing, manufacturing, and warehousing operations. Gary Person, president and CEO of the North Platte Area Chamber and Development Corporation, says an economic impact study shows there could be up to 1,000 jobs created directly, and other indirect economic impacts as well.
The state also announced another grant of up to $30 million for a logistics hub in Fremont. Megan Skiles of the Greater Fremont Development Council says the idea is to create an industrial park and logistics hub on 1,500 acres near highway 275 on the east side of Fremont.