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Sec. of State: Granddad caught outlaws for UPTell North Platte what you think
Photo by George Lauby
John Gale
Photo by George Lauby
Yoshitaka Matsuo of Tokoyo and Dave Harrold
Photo by George Lauby
Photo by George Lauby
Kenny Odean of Innocent Mischief

When John Gale helped open Rail Fest Friday, the Nebraska Secretary of State talked about his grandfather and the outlaws he caught.

Gale’s grandfather was a special agent for Union Pacificand he rounded up bad guys Wild Bill Carlisle and Big Nose George Parrott, among others.

Gale, who grew up in North Platte and became an attorney, left town in 2000 to become the Nebraska Secretary of State.

Like the burr oak tree that was planted Friday evening in the park, Gale’s roots run deep in North Platte. His grandfather not only chased and captured bad guys, he rose through the ranks to become chief special agent and then the general manager of Union Pacific during World War II.

Gale praised the vitality, dreams and vision of the railroad that is celebrating its 150th anniversary, and he extended praise to all the Rail Fest volunteers. He said people from 24 countries have come to North Platte for the festival, and like the World War II Canteen, Rail Fest is a bright spot in the United States and the world.

Bailey Yard Superintendent Tony Orr welcomed visitors and said a golf tournament Friday morning raised nearly $6,000 for Union Pacific’s Friend-to-Friend Network, which helps employees and former employees deal with medical related emergencies that require hospitalization or time off, or a dwelling-related emergency following a fire, flood or other event that forces them to leave their primary home.

Dave Thalkan, the manager of the world’s largest diesel shop at Bailey Yard, said Dave Harrold kept talking about Rail Fest six years ago until Cameron Scott, then the superintendent of the yard, said it was getting serious -- Harrold had sent cookies as a "let's talk and get aquainted" gesture.

“We finally got a team together,” Thalkan said.

On Friday, he showed 20 people from Britain around Bailey Yard, who hardly let him get any work done, helped by visitors from Switzerland and Japan.

“Everything a rail enthusiast would like to see” is on display through the weekend at Bailey Yard,” Thalkan said.

Nathan Fickenscher and Bailey Lehmkuhler sang the national anthem without accompaniment. The Bling dancers danced, Innocent Mischief rocked into Folsom Prison Blues and Rail Fest officially began.

Bill Carlisle

Bill Carlisle was a very interesting character of the old west. He was referred to as a gentleman bandit.

As a teenager he started riding freight trains, and at seventeen, he rode the train to Montana where he was hired as a ranch hand.

Carlisle eventually worked his way into Wyoming and robbed his first train on February 9, 1916. The Union Pacific passenger train was traveling between Green River and Rock Springs when Carlisle, wearing a white mask and brandishing a gun, woke a sleeping porter and ordered him to take up a collection from the passengers.

One gun that he carried was a toy glass gun that was intended to be filled with candy. Carlisle escaped from that train by jumping off of the top of a car; the glass gun bounced out of his pocket and broke.

Carlisle rolled away from the track, and hid in bushes while the posse was searching for him. He eluded the posse and held up the Overland Limited on April 4, 1916. He again had the porter pass the hat. On April 21, 1916 near Hanna, Wyoming, he again surprised everyone and robbed the passengers on a train. A posse, led by Sheriff Rubie Rivera of Rawlins, was called in and Carlisle was captured the following morning.

On May 1, 1916 he was sentenced to life in prison, although he never shot anyone during the robberies and did not take money from women or servicemen.

From www.wyomingfrontierprison.org

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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 9/14/2012
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