Palmer to Burwell

Picture Point of Interest

GOOGLE MAPS no longer available: With apologies, I am unable to continue showing Google Maps. Google has forced my hand by increasing their map usage fee from nothing/free to OVER $300 A MONTH for the Abandoned Rails website! This is an expense that I simply cannot afford. Rest assured I am looking at available open source alternatives, so maps should be back online soon!

Greg Harrison

(Forwarded from the Lincoln & Black Hills Railroad)

Showing of

The old turntable still remains in Burwell, NE. Photo by James Holtgrewe, July 2012.

A rough historical timeline of this abandoned branch line between Palmer and Burwell:

      Central City        Palmer    Greeley Center    Burwell
1887       |----------- L&BH -------------|---- B&MR ----|
1888       |----------- Merged into CB&Q ----------------|
1970       |------------ Merged into BN -----------------|
1983                        |------- abandoned ----------|
           |--active today--|

With these railroads represented:

  • L&BH: Lincoln & Black Hills Railroad
  • B&MR: Burlington & Missouri River Railroad
  • CB&Q: Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad
  • BN: Burlington Northern Railroad

See also the abandoned line between Palmer and Sargent.

The branch lines that went north out of Aurora to Burwell and Sargent were supposed to go to the Black Hills, but economic troubles of the 1890's ended this idea. At Burwell there was a turntable and a very nice brick depot. Luckily, the Garfield Historical Society bought the turntable, but could not save the depot. The line fell in to disuse and was abandoned in 1983. There is talk of turing the grade between Ord and Burwell into a trail, but they would have to replace a bridge over a creek between the two towns.

James Holtgrewe
Broken Bow , NE


As I recall growing up in the area and railfanning the line, the last Burwell depot was actually a wood frame building. It was falling down around itself in the early 1980's. The engine house was being used by the county to store trucks. I think I have some old photos of the depot which I'll happily share.

Hans Madsen
Dayton, IA


I've recently gotten a copy of "CB&Q Roundhouses and Turntables" list from Dec 10. 1940. It lists the Burwell turntable as 68'2" and the engine house as two 80'0" stalls. Hans, do you have any photos of the engine house?

Randy Gordon-Gilmore
Flower Mound, TX


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Do you have any pictures or information about Palmer to Burwell? Please . You will get credit for anything you contribute.