‘Wheels of War’ arrives

Published 9:20 pm Monday, June 28, 2021

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A traveling exhibit from the Union Pacific Railroad Museum, “Wheels of War,” will be displayed at the Suffolk Seaboard Station Railroad Museum through July 12.

The “Wheels of War” exhibit traces the contributions of the railroad industry to military actions and maneuvers over the past 150 years, calling out specific events and actions to highlight the importance of the railroad.

Railroads have played a part in every U.S. war since 1860. During the American Civil War, World Wars I & II, and the Gulf War, railroads transported soldiers and everything they needed, from tanks to uniforms. War is not merely combat but communication, and ultimately, the side with the best supplies wins. As Napoleon said, “An army travels on its belly” — meaning that troops can go no farther and no faster than the supplies of food, clothing, ammunition and equipment can be moved. Railroads keep supplies moving, are interestingly and uniquely durable, and can be repaired quickly and fully from sustained damage. While railroads are seemingly vulnerable because they follow a fixed path, are impossible to disguise, and all of their moving parts are exposed; this has proven not to be an insurmountable obstacle. Instead, railroads are uniquely difficult to put out of operation entirely and have played an integral role in military missions.

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The Union Pacific Railroad Museum is housed in a historic Carnegie Library building in Council Bluffs, Iowa, where visitors will discover an extensive compilation of artifacts, photographs, documents and equipment from more than 150 years of our nation’s most ambitious endeavors — including constructing the transcontinental railroad and settling the West. Among the most popular museum exhibits are “America Travels by Rail,” which celebrates the height of passenger travel; the Lincoln Collection, featuring artifacts from President Abraham Lincoln’s rail car and funeral; and an exhibit that features the technology and innovation that sustain Union Pacific as a railroad industry leader.

Located at 326 N. Main St., the Suffolk Seaboard Station Railroad Museum is open to the public daily, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free, and tour reservations are not required but encouraged for groups of 10 participants or more. Call 757-514-4135, or go to SuffolkTrainStation.com for additional details. The museum is operated by Suffolk Tourism.

No one with a fever or symptoms of COVID-19, or known exposure to a COVID-19 case in the prior 14 days, may enter the museum.