Nevada has never really been known as a important state to railroads,
save for the main lines which passed through it once owned by the
Western Pacific, Union Pacific, and Southern Pacific. From a freight
traffic standpoint the state has provided railroads with (in general)
ore, minerals, and years ago, silver. This is where the legend of the
Virginia & Truckee was born, as the famed Comstock Lode hit Nevada
in 1859 (the first discover of Silver in the country). If you are
interested in steam, you can catch both at the V&T and the Nevada
Northern Railway, the former of which is growing its fleet as money
becomes available for restorations. Finally, there is the Nevada
Southern which has a nice little operation near Boulder City that is
very reasonably priced with special events hosted at different times of
the year. Also, if you are interested in Nevada train rides that pertain to specific events, such as "The Polar Express," Halloween, Thomas the Tank Engine excursions, or fall foliage events please click on the corresponding image found in the right hand-column of this page.
Nevada Northern Railway/Nevada State Railroad Museum - Carson City
The Nevada Northern Railway looks to generally preserve the history of the state's once profitable copper industry. The railroad has been in operation on and off since 1905 although it has not hauled freight since 1986 when the Kennecott Minerals Company turned over much of the property to the White Pine Historical Railroad, which today operates it as the Nevada Northern Railway Museum. They offer several different special train rides including BBQ trains, wine trains, charters, the Chocolate Express, and holiday specials. Also, between the Nevada Northern and the museum they own nine steam locomotives, five of which are operational (and two of those are original Nevada Northern locomotives). Finally, be sure to check out their many pieces of rolling stock and locomotives on display, including several steam locomotives.
Nevada Southern Railway/Nevada State Railroad Museum - Boulder City
The Nevada Southern Railway is based in Boulder City, Nevada in the southern region of the state. It operates on trackage once owned by a railroad known as the Nevada Southern Railway, a government sponsored operation built to help construct the now-Hoover Dam in the late 1920s through the 1930s. Today the railroad offers a number of special train rides and events throughout the year and their coaches are fully climate controlled. The organization also houses a collection of rolling stock and locomotives, including three steam locomotives all of which sit on display.
Virginia & Truckee Railway
The Virginia and Truckee Railway began when it was chartered in 1869
and meant to provide transportation services to the Reno and Carson City
areas. While the V&T provided a means of moving
out the vast quantities of silver ore being mined it also offered a way
to ship in lumber, men, and other materials needed to extract the ore.
The railroad ceased to exist as a freight line by 1950, long after the
silver mines had dried up (much of which was due to the Sherman Act of
1893). It gained a new purpose soon after its closing to shoot
countless Hollywood western
films, and it was then that the railroad earned its popularity.
However, this too played out by the 1960s at which point most of the
rails were taken up. They began to be relaid by the 1970s although the
railroad's true rebirth began in the early 1990s when a major push began
to rebuild much of the line as a tourist attraction. Today, about
fifteen miles of the line are operable although rebuilding of the route
is not yet complete along with additional restorations of locomotives
More On Nevada Train Rides
If you are interested in learning more about Nevada train rides, Kalmbach Publishing/Trains Magazine releases their Tourist Trains Guidebook each year, which highlights most such destinations throughout the U.S. and Canada.
Tourist Train Information