Nevada Passenger Rail
The vision for passenger rail in Nevada is to develop a passenger rail system that provides the traveling public with an attractive, energy-efficient, cost-effective, and reliable alternative choice to auto, bus, and air transportation, with intermodal connectivity that enhances economic and environmentally sustainable travel within, to, and through the state.
Amtrak is the nation’s intercity passenger rail operator with 21,000 route miles in 46 states, the District of Columbia and three Canadian provinces. Amtrak operates more than 300 trains each day to more than 500 destinations. Amtrak operates one long distance train through Nevada, the California Zephyr (Chicago-Denver-Salt Lake City-Reno-San Francisco Bay Area), and operates California-supported corridor trains that provide motorcoach connections to Reno. Additionally, Amtrak operates special, seasonal trains between the San Francisco Bay Area and Reno.
“Excursion trains” refers to those chartered to run for fun or tourism.
Virginia and Truckee (V&T) Railroad
The famous V&T Railroad was organized on March 5, 1868 and connected Reno to Carson City, Virginia City and Minden. It set out to carry valuable Comstock ore to quartz reduction mills along the Carson River and bring back lumber, mining timbers and cord wood for fuel. The V&T Railroad contributed greatly to the growth of western Nevada. With revenue from the twentieth century Tonopah boom, a new V&T Railway Company was incorporated on June 24, 1905 with the purchase of the previous company and the extension of the rail line. After 80 years of continuous operation and due to competition from truck traffic on the highway, the V&T ceased revenue train operations on May 31, 1950. Today, visitors to Virginia City from all over the world can ride over three miles of the original line on the historic route from Virginia City to Gold Hill along with additional trains now departing from Carson City to Virginia City.
Carson City Convention & Visitors Bureau
Historic V&T Railroad
1900 S. Carson St. Suite #100
Carson City, NV 89701
775 - 847 - 0380
1 - 800 - NEVADA-1
Boulder City Railroad
The current Nevada Southern Railway excursion train in Boulder City, Nevada is the third by this name. The initial purpose of what is now Nevada Southern Railway was to bring people, supplies, and equipment to the site of what is now the Hoover Dam. A railroad was needed to take supplies directly to the dam construction site. In 1931, the Union Pacific constructed the rail line requiring the construction of five tunnels through the rock hills.
Dam construction began in 1930 and was completed in 1935. Shortly after completion of the dam, the Six Companies, Inc. Railroad branch was decommissioned and the rails removed. The railroad beds and trestle bridge were covered as the lake filled. The U.S. Government Construction Railroad was used until 1961 when the last generator was installed. The Union Pacific abandoned the portion of the line from Boulder City to Henderson in 1985 and donated the land and track to the State of Nevada for the Nevada State Railroad Museum.
The excursion train runs on the same tracks installed in 1931. The first public run was the "Santa Train" in December 2002. The name "Nevada Southern Railway" was chosen as a complement to the "Nevada Northern Railway" excursion line that runs in Ely.
Southern Nevada Railroad Museum
600 Yucca Street
Boulder City, NV 89005
Nevada Northern Railway
The restored Nevada Northern Railway, now a National Historic Landmark, takes passengers from the old depot in East Ely on excursions west to Ruth and northeast to McGill from April through January. The East Ely yard is a national historical landmark whose entire complex covers 56 acres with 70 original buildings and structures.
Built in 1906, the Nevada Northern connected the enormous copper pit mines at Ruth with the smelter on the old McGill Ranch, and then with the main line at Cobre for an overall run of nearly 150 miles. After considerable repair and restoration, the Nevada Northern began carrying passengers again in 1986.
A link between the interchange with the transcontinental railroads at Shafter, Nevada to Curry, Nevada has been opened and officials are working to open lines to once again haul ore in Northern Nevada.