Union Pacific Railroad will operate a special passenger train from Omaha to North Platte, Nebraska, with whistle stops in Columbus, Grand Island and Kearney, on Saturday, June 28, to celebrate the historical connection between the railroad and University of Nebraska-Lincoln with Nebraska communities. Director of Athletics Shawn Eichorst, Husker coaches, along with other UNL representatives, will be on board to participate in this special Big Red Express tour.
“We are proud to support the University of Nebraska by operating our historic Heritage passenger equipment for the Big Red Express from Omaha – home of our headquarters – to North Platte – home of the world’s largest classification rail yard. The Express demonstrates our pride and commitment to communities across the state of Nebraska where 8,000 of our employees live and work every day,” said Donna Kush, Union Pacific’s vice president – Public Affairs, Northern Region.
“Historically, a whistle-stop tour brought Presidents to cities where they could communicate directly with the people they served,” said Nebraska’s Associate Athletic Director Paul Meyers. “That’s exactly what we’re doing, meeting people and thanking them for all the support they’ve shown to University of Nebraska Athletics, year after year and decade after decade. We thought it was a great idea to ride Union Pacific’s tradition to help support our own.”Whistle-stop tours were popular in the 19th century when long distance travel by passenger train was the norm. At each stop, speeches would be given from the train.
During the whistle stops of the Big Red Express, there will be a few short speeches, a proclamation presented to each city, and coaches representing various Husker varsity sports will mingle throughout the crowd thanking the fans that support UNL athletic programs.
University of Nebraska coaches planning to take part in the Big Red Express tour include: Chuck Chmelka (men’s gymnastics); Darin Erstad (baseball); David Harris (cross country); Scott Jacobson (women’s tennis); Dan Kendig (women’s gymnastics); Robin Krapfl (women’s golf); Kerry McDermott (men’s tennis); Tim Miles (men’s basketball); Pablo Morales (women’s swimming); Bo Pelini (football); Gary Pepin (track & field); Rhonda Revelle (softball); Bill Spangler (men’s golf); Bill Straub (bowling); John Walker (women’s soccer) and Connie Yori (women’s basketball).