Wednesday, June 16, 2021

The Reason Alvo Exists

Why Alvo is here - the Rock Island Railroad


The Rock Island Railroad built through Alvo in spring, 1890. Steam engines needed to replace water every 7 miles, which is why most Nebraska towns along railroad lines are 7 miles apart. Also, train crews needed places to eat and sleep. The first building was the depot and was used until 1957. In 1980, the railroad filed for bankruptcy; the tracks and country overpass bridges were removed in August 1985.


Rock Island freight train heading east through Alvo, with the depot,

grain elevator and part of the lumber yard building in the background.




View of the depot and elevator, with lumber yard behind elevator -

the wooden walkway led uphill to uptown Alvo.


Train travel was a primary means of interstate travel in the 1920's, but things could go wrong.




On June 26, 1922, at before 01:40 AM, Rock Island No. 7 left the rails 3 miles west of Alvo (now 202nd Street), killing the engineer, scalding the fireman with minor injuries to the mail clerk. The Rocky Mountain Limited was due in Lincoln at 01:40 AM and the wreck was discovered 20 minutes later. The train was estimated to be running at 50 mph when the engine left the rails. None of the passengers were seriously injured. The fireman was transported by train to Lincoln and then by a Castle, Roper and Matthews ambulance to St. Elizabeth's Hospital.


Either the smoker car or the coach, which were the only two passenger cars to leave the rails -

none of the passenger cars were derailed and passengers suffered only minor injuries.


From "Remembering Yesterdays... Alvo and Its People" - pages 83-85.


Pat Umland

Alvo Historian