Modern and Historic Train Rides in and Near Reno

Get From Here to There on Amtrak or Ride Into Old West

V&T steam locomotive in Virginia City, Nevada, NV
••• V&T steam locomotive in Virginia City, Nevada. Photo © Stan White

If you're looking for slick, modern trains that take you to and from Reno, hop on Amtrak, with Union Station located in downtown Reno. Railroad buffs who want to ride into the Old West can find both steam and diesel locomotives pulling excursion trains in Nevada. In the Reno/Tahoe area you can ride the Virginia & Truckee Railroad, one of the most famous lines in the country. Elsewhere, look for other historic steam locomotives as well as their opposite, the ultra-modern Las Vegas Monorail.

Modern Trains

To ride a modern, for-real train that actually goes somewhere, check out Amtrak trains in Reno that leave from Union Station downtown. The California Zephyr runs through downtown Reno on its route from Chicago to San Francisco.

The Las Vegas Monorail system runs an elevated route along the Las Vegas Strip area and provides cheap transportation between major attractions. Ride this train if you'd like to avoid traffic and parking hassles on The Strip. There are ticket vending machines at the stations or you can get tickets online before arriving in Sin City.

Excursion Train Rides

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.

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.

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. 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. 

Railroad Museums

The Nevada State Railroad Museum has two locations, in Carson City and Boulder City. 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. 

The Comstock History Center in Virginia City is not specifically a railroad museum, but its centerpiece is the restored Virginia & Truckee Railroad locomotive No. 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.

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.