Historical Details

Chicago & Northwestern's Passenger Train, 1886-1950

Courtesy of The Lusk Herald, 08/17/1950

Ed Arnold Saw First Passenger Train of C&NW Arrive in Lusk Summer of 1886

On July 12, 1886, the population of the new town of Lusk turned out to a person to greet the first railroad train to arrive in Lusk. Last Wednesday, August 9, 1950, a mere handful of Luskites stood on the same spot and watched the last passenger train pull out of Lusk.

Only a few things were the same after 64 years of Wyoming weather. The hills still had the same contours, the depot was still in the same building, and one man who had seen the first train come to Lusk stood on the platform and witnessed the end of the era of passenger train service in and out of Lusk.

This man was Edward M. Arnold. Mr. Arnold was one of the large crowd gathered at the station on that July day in 1886 to celebrate the coming of the iron horse. "Ed" was then a cowpuncher, 23 years of age. Tuesday in an interview The Herald prevailed upon him to make a comparison between the two events.

Mr. Arnold stated that as the rails neared the town excitement mounted among the populace and the arrival of first train drew people from their dwellings as a magnet. The people stood on the platform of the station and sang merrily as the train approached. It was a clean, shiny, new piece of wonderful equipment that brought hope and excitement into the hearts of the people of the area. The iron horse had a large funnel smokestack that belched forth great quantities of black smoke that bespoke its power. It brought with it some ten or fifteen passengers and a promise that many more would follow. The town expected a boom from the advantages the railroad offered and the expectations were upheld for a time. Hertofore it had been a seven-day trip to Cheyenne with a team, a 17-day trip if you trailed cattle. There followed in the wake of the railroad a time made popular by modern moving pictures of the wild and wooly west. Lusk became a wild town. Homesteaders moved in and the town was on its way.

The last passenger train to leave Lusk carried only four passengers. The train was not an example of up-to-date railroad equipment, like the first one, nor did it stir the imagination of the people of Lusk as the first train had done. Its leaving marked only the end of an era and was merely a point in the ever-changing panorama of modern transportation.

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