Trains - Tourist Trains
Nevada Tourist Trains - Ride The Historic Trains
Nevada boasts four operating trains where visitors can get the sense of the world of rail travel during the 19th and the 20 th centuries.
The Nevada State Railroad Museum in Carson City has a number of Virginia & Truckee (V&T) Railway locomotives and cars once used in the movies. Shoot-’em-up Westerns depicted huffing and chuffing steam locomotives beginning in the 1930s. Hollywood saved many of Nevada’s 19th -century trains from being scrapped during World War II.
Museum visitors can ride behind a V&T steam engine in a renovated antique rail car or inside an electric motorcar from the early 1900s. The locomotives and motorcar alternate on certain weekends from May through September, with special steam-ups on Nevada Day (October 31), Thanksgiving and the Santa Train in December.
Passengers may purchase tickets and board the train at the restored Wabuska Station. The ride makes several turns around the museum, over a crossing with a clanging signal and flashing light, and along a short run banked by trees. On the way, passengers learn about the V&T from a uniformed conductor.
The 1870s-era Virginia &Truckee Railway, dubbed the Queen of the Short Lines, operates two excursions during the summer: the Historic Route, a short ride from Virginia City to Gold Hill, where an original V&T depot stands, and the new route, Sisters in History, from Virginia City to the outskirts of Carson City. The longer run is expected to roll all the way to Carson City by 2012.
The four-mile Historic Route lasts 35 minutes and departs eight times a day in the summer season (seven in October). The conductor tells the story of the Comstock Lode’s mining boom, which made Virginia City the richest city on earth. Along the way visitors will see mine tailings and railroad equipment and pass through Tunnel No. 4.
The Sisters in History round trip is 1.5 hours each way in cars pulled by steam-powered or diesel-powered locomotives. Passengers can opt for one-way trips, steam or diesel. This trip goes over U.S. Highway 50 on a bridge installed during the multimillion-dollar reconstruction of the V&T’s Carson City-Virginia City track. Visitors will see mines, silver ore veins and even wild mustangs as they make the 28-mile trip. Coming from Carson City, visitors can have lunch in Virginia City and stroll the streets of this National Historic District.
The Nevada State Railroad Museum in Boulder City operates the Nevada Southern Railway excursion train on tracks completed by the Union Pacific in 1931. It runs on part of the Boulder Branch Line, which originally hauled equipment and materials to the construction site for Hoover Dam.
The seven-mile round-trip route takes passengers on a 45-minute ride inside full-sized, air-conditioned 1911 Pullman coaches. There is also an open-air coach, perfect for taking photos of the area’s scenic desert and mountains. The cars are usually pulled by No. 844, a bright yellow- and red-painted Union Pacific diesel engine, and the whistle blows as the train pulls out of the Yucca Street station. The train departs four times a day on the weekends, except in January when the museum is closed for maintenance.
Visitors to the Nevada Northern Railway Museum in Ely can ride on a steam-powered or diesel-powered passenger train and experience what rail transportation was like in America in the early 1900s. Passengers buy their tickets at the original ticket window in the classically designed East Ely Depot. The railway, established in 1906, hauled copper ore from Ruth to the smelters at McGill until the mines closed in 1983.
The excursion trains travel on the Keystone Route west from Ely toward Ruth through an old tunnel or on the McGill Junction Route east, the old mainline route. McGill is always diesel-powered; Keystone is either steam or diesel.The train ride schedule varies but typically, a century-old steam locomotive runs Friday through Monday, April through September. The railway is on a limited schedule the rest of the year (closed in February and March). Specialty trains are also offered, such as the Polar Express in December.