Snowbound on a Train

The passengers snowbound on the Missouri Pacific train between Eagle and Elmwood were released late Friday, but not through the clearing of the track.

 A train engine and cars stuck in snow near Western, Nebraska

“The passengers snowbound on the Missouri Pacific train between Eagle and Elmwood were released late Friday, but not through the clearing of the track,” said the Lincoln Star on March 16, 1912. The fifty-four passengers temporarily trapped on a train in rural Lancaster County had adequate food and heat but were understandably restless, especially after a relief train had also been stalled in the snow.  Three Lincoln men on the train finally obtained a team and sleigh from a farmer who lived nearby and set out for Lincoln, nineteen miles away. “A good share of the way the men were forced to leave the sleigh and shovel their way through drifts,” which they later claimed were ten to twelve feet high. 

William Jennings Bryan was among a party of seven who next left the train, this time in a large farm wagon. “With the aid of shovels and by dint of much labor,” the group eventually reached Alvo, where they discovered that a snowplow had cleared the Rock Island’s tracks shortly before. The wagon returned to the snowbound Missouri Pacific train and the rest of the passengers were taken in relays to Alvo. There they were able to board a Rock Island passenger train for Lincoln, thus ending their unexpected delay.  Train traffic remained vulnerable to Nebraska blizzards for decades beyond 1912. During the severe winter of 1948-49, roads were blocked, trains were stalled, and for days in many areas the only effective transportation was by air.  – Patricia C. Gaster, Assistant Editor / Publications

Become a Member!

Our members make history happen.

Join Now

You May Also Enjoy

Sewing the Flag

Sewing the Flag

Buffalo Bill’s Big House

Buffalo Bill’s Big House

Marker Monday: The Seedling Mile

Marker Monday: The Seedling Mile

About History Nebraska
History Nebraska was founded in 1878 as the Nebraska State Historical Society by citizens who recognized Nebraska was going through great changes and they sought to record the stories of both indigenous and immigrant peoples. It was designated a state institution and began receiving funds from the legislature in 1883. Legislation in 1994 changed History Nebraska from a state institution to a state agency. The division is headed by Interim Director and CEO Jill Dolberg. They are assisted by an administrative staff responsible for financial and personnel functions, museum store services, security, and facilities maintenance for History Nebraska.
Explore Nebraska
Discover the real places and people of our past at these History Nebraska sites.

Upcoming Events

View our new and upcoming events to see how you can get involved.

Become a Member

The work we do to discover, preserve, and share Nebraska's history wouldn't be possible without the support of History Nebraska members.

History Nebraska Education

Learn more about the educational programs provided at our museums, sites, and online.

History Nebraska Programs

Learn more about the programs associated with History Nebraska.

Latest Hall of Fame Inductee

The Nebraska Hall of Fame was established in 1961 to officially recognize prominent Nebraskans.

Listen to our Podcast

Listen to the articles and authors published in the Nebraska History Magazine with our new Nebraska History Podcast!

Nebraska Collections

History Nebraska's mission is to collect, preserve, and open our shared history to all Nebraskans.

Our YouTube Video Collection

Get a closer look at Nebraska's history through your own eyes, with our extensive video collections.

Additional Research Resources

History Nebraska Research and Reference Services help connect you to the material we collect and preserve.

Support History Nebraska
Make a cash donation to help us acquire, preserve, and interpret Nebraska’s history. Gifts to History Nebraska help leave a legacy and may help your taxes, too! Support the work of History Nebraska by donating to the History Nebraska Foundation today.

Volunteers are the heroes of History Nebraska. So much history, so little time! Your work helps us share access to Nebraska’s stories at our museums and sites, the reference room, and online.