Rail Fest activities begin Thursday with a free program at the North Platte Public Library at noon.
“Union Pacific - Advertising for the Masses” will be presented by speaker, Don Snoddy.
Rail Fest is officially set the Sept. 14-16 weekend, with displays, live music, rides and more at Cody Park. Events are also held all around town.
Once upon a time, long, long ago when passenger service was part of the railroad business, advertisments played an important role to get the public to travel for business or pleasure, organizers say.
Through the use of advertising covers from the 1870s through the 1950s, Snoddy traces the history of passenger service on Union Pacific, including advertising for land grant sales, long-distance vacations and business travel.
Once the railroads lost their mail contract and ended passenger service in 1969, their interest in advertising tourist locations ended, and as freight traffic began its evolution from many customers to large long-haul customers of coal and automobiles, so ended that advertising as well.
The program is co-sponsored by the Friends of the Library and the Nebraska Humanities Council.
Snoddy holds a bachelor's degree in history from Washburn University and has worked for the Nebraska State Historical Society and Douglas County Historical Society. He also served as manager of museum services and is an historical consultant for Union Pacific Railroad.
Seating is limited so call the library by Wednesday at 535-8036 for seat reservations. Attendees are welcome to bring their own lunch. Tea, coffee, and water will be provided.