Railroad buffs can find both steam and diesel locomotives pulling excursion trains in Nevada. Right here in the Reno / Tahoe area you can ride the Virginia & Truckee Railroad, one of the most famous lines in the country. Elsewhere, look for more historic steam locomotives as well as ultra-modern transport with the Las Vegas Monorail. For fun family outings, we have small rail operations in parks in both Reno and Carson City.
Virginia & Truckee Railroad
Today's Virginia & Truckee Railroad (V&T) is a restoration of the original line that began during the Comstock era and hauled ore and passengers between Virginia City and Carson City. It has quickly become a popular attraction and runs both steam and diesel locomotives. Buying tickets in advance is highly recommended. Get information about times and fares from All Aboard! Ride the Virginia & Truckee Railroad.
Another excursion train running part of the V&T route makes a much shorter trip, between Virginia City and Gold Hill. This train makes the run several times a day and reservations are not required.
Nevada State Railroad Museum
The Nevada State Railroad Museum has two locations. Excursion train rides are available at both locations, but steam locomotives only run in Carson City. These trains are made up of historic engines and rolling stock from the Virginia & Truckee Railroad (V&T).
In addition to train rides, the Carson City Museum offers a variety of activities, events, and exhibits. Check the website for more information. There are currently no indoor exhibits or displays in Boulder City. Pets are not allowed.
Nevada State Railroad Museum, Carson City
2180 S. Carson Street, Carson City, NV 89701
Hours: Friday - Monday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Museum admission: Adults $6.
Museum members and children under 18 are free.
Check the website for details about excursion train rides and fares.
Nevada State Railroad Museum, Boulder City 601 Yucca Street, Boulder City, NV 89005
Excursion trains run on Saturdays and Sundays at 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m., and 2:30 p.m. Fares are $10 adults (12 and older), $5 for children 4 to 11, and free for kids under 4. Check the website for more details and information about group rates. Trains do not run in January
Comstock History Center
The Comstock History Center in Virginia City is not specifically a railroad museum, but it's centerpiece is the restored Virginia & Truckee Railroad locomotive #18 - The Dayton. Since the V&T is a big part of Comstock history, you'll find lots of railroad information here in addition to a trove of Virginia City history.
20 North E Street, Virginia City, NV 89440
Hours: Thursday - Sunday, 11 a.m to 4 p.m.
Museum admission: Free. Donationations accepted.
East Ely Railroad Depot Museum
The East Ely Railroad Depot Museum doesn't offer train rides, but it does offer a trove of historic railroad transportation and copper mining information for both train buffs and researchers.
It is located in the historic Nevada Northern Railroad Depot building.
1100 Avenue A, Ely, NV 89301
Hours: Wednesday - Saturday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Museum admission: Adults $2. Museum members and children under 18 are free.
Nevada Northern Railway
The Nevada Northern Railway (NNR) in Ely is a designated National Historic Landmark. The NNR is a working railroad and museum that offers excursion train rides. There are both steam and diesel locomotives, so check the online train ride summary or contact the museum if you want to be sure to ride the train you desire. You can book tickets online or by calling 866-40STEAM (866-407-8326) or (775) 289-2085. In addition to excursion trains, the NNR has a number of special attractions and opportunities to participate in running the railroad.
This is a great place for hardcore train buffs. The NNR is located in the same facility as the East Ely Railroad Depot Museum, but each operates as its own entity.
1100 Avenue A, Ely, NV 89301
866-40STEAM (866-407-8326) or (775) 289-2085
Museum admission: Adults $4, children (4-12) $2, under 3 free (museum admission is included with train ride fares)
Amtrak Trains in Reno
To ride a modern train that actually goes somewhere, check out Amtrak Trains in Reno. My article has information about the Amtrak route that runs through downtown Reno (the California Zephyr), including where you can go, schedules and fares, and how to get tickets.
Idlewild Park Train Ride in Reno
Reno's Idlewild Park train is a popular attraction that operates from Memorial Day through Labor Day. The route winds through part of the park and around one of the small lakes. Tickets are $2 per person, with children two and under free if riding in an adult lap. For more information, call Reno Parks & Rec at (775) 334-2270.
Carson & Mills Park Railroad
The http://www.carson.org/index.aspx?page=2037 is a small excursion railroad running through Mills Park in Carson City. It is operated by a group of railroad enthusiasts known as the Carson City Railroad Association. Mills Park is at 1111 E. William Street (U.S. Highway 50 East) in Carson City. For a recorded message with schedule information call, (775) 887-2523.
Las Vegas Monorail
The Las Vegas Monorail system runs an elevated route along the Las Vegas Strip area and provides cheap transportation between major attractions. I've never ridden this train, but considering the crowds and parking hassles on The Strip, I think it might be worth a try. There are ticket vending machines at the stations or you can get tickets online before arriving in Sin City. Single-rides are $5 and a one day pass is $12.
Customer Service: (702) 699-8299 - Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific Time.
Monorail hours of operation: Monday - Thursday, 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday - Saturday, 7 a.m. to 3 a.m.
Ride the Rails in Northern California
Nearby northern and central California host numerous tourist railroads. Check out my Train Rides in Northern California article for more information on these excursion rail lines.