Museums - Railroad

As entwined in Nevada’s rich past as mining, no discussion of the Silver State’s heritage would be complete with mention of the railroad. And with three fascinating museums dedicated exclusively to famous Nevada railroads, visitors are sure to get the whole incredible story.

Carson City’s Nevada State Railroad Museum features an intriguing collection of rail equipment, artifacts and exhibits that reveal how the railroad changed a harsh, unwelcoming region into a major contributor to the nation as a whole. The museum also does an excellent job of highlighting the importance of the famed Virginia & Truckee Railroad, a line that helped Nevada earn the nickname of the “Silver State.” Don’t miss the museum’s signature artifact, the Inyo, one of the oldest operating steam engines in the country. The engine has appeared in 29 movies and had a starring role in the Wild, Wild West television series. It also makes an annual appearance on the tracks as part of the museum’s Independence Day celebration.

To really step back into an earlier era, take a stroll through one of the most complete historic railroad yards in the country, which is also home to the East Ely Railroad Depot Museum. The Nevada Northern Railway depot has been resorted to its original 1907 appearance and visitors can tour baggage storage, waiting rooms and offices once used by one of the nation’s leading railroads. Then, hop aboard the still-in-service steam engines, #40 and #93, for an amazing journey to the tiny town of McGill along the same routes once used for hauling ore.

In Boulder City, the historic Boulder Branch Line comes to life. The Nevada State Railroad Museum, Boulder City, operates an excursion train on the original rail line laid by the Union Pacific. Visitors will travel along these famous tracks in refurbished - and air-conditioned – Pullman Coaches dating from 1911. The 45-minute journey offers views of the El Dorado Valley, both the McCullough and River mountain ranges and the Mojave Desert.