White Train Protest [RG1624.AM]


RG1624.AM:  White Train Protest (Fairbury, Nebraska)

Photocopies:  1983-1985

Fairbury, Jefferson County, Nebraska

Size:  One folder


During the Cold War, nuclear warheads were assembled at the Pantex Plant outside of Amarillo, Texas and then taken by rail to military bases around the country.  These Department of Energy “White Trains” were heavily armored and included window slits and gun turrets that guards could use to repel any would-be attackers.  The rail cars carrying the nuclear weapons were painted white, which is how the trains got their name.

During the 1980s anti-nuclear activists started tracking the movements of the White Trains and staged protests along the rail lines used to transport the weapons.  The Department of Energy changed the transport routes and painted the trains varying colors in an attempt to thwart protesters, but activists were still able to track the trains with relative ease.  Activist interference and public pressure eventually put an end to the white trains.  The U.S. Government started using specially designed tractor trailers known as Safeguard Transporters to move nuclear weapons around the country.  When the Soviet Union broke apart in 1991, the U.S. began decommissioning much of its nuclear arsenal.  Today, the U.S. still relies upon Safeguard Transporters to safely move nuclear materials, now mostly for decommissioning purposes.


This collection consists of one folder containing photocopies of correspondence, articles, clippings, maps, timetables, photographs, etc., relating to protests of the “White Train” transporting nuclear weapons through Fairbury and other communities in Nebraska.  The materials date from ca. 1983 to 1985.  The original items are not part of our collections.

Note:  See the moving image component [RG1624.MI] for video footage of local news coverage.


White Train Protest materials, ca. 1983-1985 (photocopies only)


Subject headings:

Nuclear weapons — Transportation

Weapons of mass destruction

White Train


TMM     08-07-2018

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