11. Golden Spike Tower & Railway Yard, North Platte, Nebraska

1415 150 miles from the Center of the USA
Located near the center of the nation, less than 50 miles from the 100th Meridian, this is said to be the world’s largest railway yard, where more than half of Union Pacific’s rail traffic passes through at some point. Throughout the 150 parallel tracks at the eight mile long yard, trains are assembled, reconfigured, and loaded at a rate of around 120 trains and 10,000 freight cars per day. In addition, maintenance facilities repair locomotives and railcars at the yard. The yard is a popular spot for railfans who can watch for the numbered locomotives from a special visitor platform that offers a view of the yards. The visitation facilities were significantly upgraded in 2008, with the opening of the Golden Spike Tower, an eight story structure built in the shape of a railroad spike. At its top levels are observation decks with touchscreens, plaques, benches, and viewing scopes. At the base of the tower is a gift shop.

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