1970s Train Robbery

by Bob Sparks

I was an Engineer in North Platte, and I don't remember the year, but it was summer in the late 70s. I was called for a Special Train around noon time and when I arrived at the yard office I was told to report to my supervisor, Ken Amundson. He asked me where a good place to have a train holdup between North Platte and Ogallala was. I told him on the west end of Korty curve, which is about 12 miles east of Ogallala. He told me that there would be a holdup at that spot so we would have to be really slow when we got there.

My head brakeman was Frank Amweg, and I clued him in on what was going to happen. When our train arrived, we boarded the engine with three reporters.

We made pretty good time to Paxton and I began slowing the train to about 5 mph or less coming out of Korty curve. About six or eight cowboys on horses and with neckerchiefs covering their lower face came out riding hard and firing their pistols.

Frank hollered, "Holy crap! It's the Wilsons!" And the three reporters dove to the floor. We about cried, we were laughing so hard.

Before I got the train stopped, one of the cowboys rode up alongside the Engine and boarded from his horse. He came in the cab and demanded that I keep the train stopped until his partners had finished their business in the cars. The cowboys in the cars "kidnapped" an opera singer that the UP was sponsoring, and put her in a stagecoach and proceeded to Ogallala. After the cowboys left, we continued on to Ogallala and let the rest of the passengers off for some festivities that they were holding there. We then proceed on to Julesburg, turned our train around on the wye and went back to Ogallala to pick up our passengers for their return trip back to Omaha.

It was a good day and a lot of fun.

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North Platte, NE-Ogallala, NE
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