Burlington Locomotive 719
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Alliance, Nebraska; Box Butte County
By the mid-1880’s the Sandhills had become an important cattle-raising region. The extension of the Burlington and Missouri Railroad westward through the Sandhills in 1877-1888 made ranching more profitable by making more accessible eastern markets. By 1888, the Burlington had reached burgeoning Alliance, planned as a railroad junction and named by B & M engineer J. N. Paul. Material for building the Belmont Tunnel (about 30 miles northwestward), supplies for the Newcastle, Wyoming coal mines, and equipment for grading camps on the line between Alliance to Newcastle were freighted overland from Alliance while it served as the Burlington’s western terminus. Locomotive Number 719, built at the Havelock, Nebraska, shops around 1903, was used for most of its half century of service on the Burlington’s Alliance Division. Late in its career 719 was used on the Sterling, Colorado, to Cheyenne, Wyoming, branch line. Representative of the steam-power era of railroading, it was one of the K-4 locomotives, mainline passenger types, built at Havelock. The 86-ton engine, donated by C B & Q to the city of Alliance in 1962 and refurbished by Burlington Northern volunteers, is now located on land donated to Alliance by John D. Nielsen.
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