Nevada Southern Railroad Museum facts for kids
The Nevada Southern Railroad Museum (Nevada Southern Railway Museum) is a railroad museum in Boulder City, Nevada operated by the Nevada State Railroad Museum which is an agency of the Nevada Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs. The railway is operated by the Nevada State Railroad Museum and is located on the tracks that were installed to support construction activities at the Hoover Dam. The state obtained the tracks and right of way from the Union Pacific Railroad in 1985.
The museum operates a heritage railroad which offers passenger excursion trains using historic railroad equipment on a 7-mile, 45 minute round trip. Operations began in 2002, and the museum also offers the opportunity for passengers to ride in the locomotive cab, the caboose and to operate trains (subject to reservations and availability).
This ride features a preserved former Union Pacific EMD GP30, No 844, which necessitated the renumbering of steam locomotive 844 to 8444 from 1962 to 1989. It weighs approximately 125 tons and has a turbocharged V16 engine that develops 2250 hp. It was donated to the museum and refurbished in Union Pacific colors.
As part of the Interstate 11 project NDOT has replaced the bridge over US Route 93 that was taken out of service in 1998 during the widening of Highway 93 into Interstate 515. Nevada Southern is now in talks with Union Pacific and the city of Henderson to construct a railyard and station so the train can turn around without making any backup moves making trips 14 miles instead of 7. In April 2018, a grade separation was put in place at the former grade crossing near Railroad Pass Casino, effectively linking Boulder City and Henderson together.
|Number||Description||Build Date||Photo||Original Operator||Gauge||Notes|
|#264||Baldwin-built Harriman Standard Consolidation||1907||UPRR||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)||
Ex Union Pacific #264 (later renumbered #6264) is a 2-8-0 (Consolidation) type steam locomotive, which was built for the Union Pacific Railroad by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1907. It was one of the last steam locomotives used in the UPRR system and was eventually taken out of service in early 1950 and stored in La Salle, Colorado until it was donated to the Sons of the Utah Pioneers in 1959. Later the locomotive was relocated to Heber City, Utah in 1981. The Nevada State Railroad Museum purchased it and moved it to its current location in 1993. With its 57 inches (1,448 mm) drivers it was one of the four types of steam engines developed by the Associated Railroads in the first year of its locomotive program. The Associated Railroads consisted of the Southern Pacific, Chicago & Alton, Union Pacific and its affiliates Oregon Short Line and the Oregon-Washington RR & Navigation Co and were combined under one management in 1902 by E. H. Harriman. The group was later dissolved in 1913 by a court order, but many bridges, cars and locomotives were built to a Common Standard for all five railroad companies during this period. The Consolidation locomotives with a weight of 150,000 pounds (68 t) to 300,000 pounds (140 t) pounds were designed for hauling heavy trains over steep grades and were generally used as a mainline freight engine within the Union Pacific system.
|#35||Baldwin Mikado||1923||PALCO, HVRX||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)||Pacific Lumber #35 was built in October 1923 by Baldwin Locomotive Works in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the Pacific Lumber Company in Scotia, California near Eureka, California. With its 2-8-2 (Mikado) wheel arrangement and a weight of 179,000 pounds (81 t) this classic heavy-logging steam locomotive served its entire working career with the Pacific Lumber Company hauling redwood logs to the sawmill in Scotia. After retirement in the mid 1960s, it was sold to private individuals, who kept it stored at its old home of Scotia, California. The locomotive was eventually sold in 1971 to the Promontory Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society and moved to Heber City, Utah. In 1972 it was transferred to the Wasatch Railroad & Museum Foundation and operated on the Heber Creeper Scenic Railroad during the 1970. During the early 1980s, the #35 was taken out of service and stayed in storage until 1993, when it was sold to the Nevada State Railroad Museum/Boulder City and moved to its current location.|
|Davenport 30-ton||1936||United States Bureau of Reclamation||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)||In 1936 the 30-ton 250 hp gas-mechanical locomotive was purchased by the United States Bureau of Reclamation from Davenport Locomotive Works. It was used from 1936 to 1962 on the ten-mile railroad from Boulder City to the rim of Black Canyon overlooking Hoover Dam. It was used periodically to haul supplies and material to the dam site and remained in service until the railroad was abandoned in the early 1960s.|
|#1855||Fairbanks-Morse Model H12-44||1953||U.S. Army Transportation Corps||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)||The model H12-44 diesel locomotive with 1200 hp was built by Fairbanks-Morse & Company, also known as F-M, in 1953 as one of 20 locomotives built for the U.S. Army Transportation Corps for being used in several Army depots. It was delivered new to the Sierra Ordnance Depot in Herlong, California. It is nearly 50 feet (15 m) long and weighs approximately 249,000 pounds (113 t). The company had been set-up in 1832 and diversified at a later stage into pumps, engines, and other supplies. From 1939 to 1958 it built railway locomotives with an opposed-piston engine, which had been originally been designed for ships and submarines.|
|L-2||GE 25-ton||Jackass & Western||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)||The General Electric 25-ton diesel locomotive was used at the Nevada Test Site in the 1960s for hauling nuclear powered rocket engines. After the program had been finished, the locomotive was mothballed. Once the radiation contamination reduced to safe levels, the locomotive was made available to the Museum. On 11 November 2010, the locomotive was delivered to the Museum on a lowboy trailer. It derailed on 8 March 1968 in cold and misty weather conditions. The operator and brakeman began moving a flatcar from the Reactor Maintenance/Assembly Disassembly (R-MAD) facility to the Engine Maintenance/Assembly Disassembly (E-MAD) facility. The flatcar contained two shipping casks and a lifting fixture. Each cask weighed almost 43,000 pounds (20 t) and the lifting fixture added an additional 3,500 pounds (1.6 t) of weight. After travelling approximately 3.5 miles (5.6 km), the locomotive operator initiated the final brake check prior to beginning his descent to the E-MAD facility. As the engine continued down the track, the brakeman manually applied the emergency mechanical brake, to no avail. The brakeman looked outside at the wheels and saw sparks. Instead of slowing down, the locomotive continued to gain speed. The locomotive operator radioed an alert to E-MAD. After several failed attempts, a worker in the E-MAD Master Control Room heard the alert and directed the locomotive's occupants to jump. The locomotive operator made one last radio transmission to the E-MAD, instructing them to "close the big door and get all personnel out of the way, because we are coming through." The operator and the brakeman then jumped off the runaway train. The locomotive continued to travel at an excessive speed toward the E-MAD facility. At the same time another locomotive began exiting the E-MAD facility on the same track, setting the stage for a head-on collision. The crew on the locomotive exiting the E-MAD facility was told to abandon the train. E-MAD Master Control Room personnel then deliberately attempted to derail the runaway train by throwing a spur switch a few hundred yards from the E-MAD building. When the runaway train encountered the switch, it cart-wheeled and landed 180° from the direction of travel. The flatcar derailed, scattering its contents over the immediate area, but did not turn over. Careful examination of the runaway train's wheels found that all four of them had flat spots on one side as a result of brake locking. Approximately 200 feet of track required replacement, but the two casks exhibited only superficial external damage, leading one investigator to state: "All in all, this looks more like a test of railroad track than of shipping casks." The final investigation report concluded that the accident was caused by too great a load for the locomotive. Grease and moisture on the tracks, lack of sanding equipment on the locomotive, and no brakes on the flatcar contributed to the accident. The operator had no significant injuries and the brakeman suffered from a minor cerebral concussion with abrasions to his arms and right hand. The brakeman was transported to Southern Nevada Memorial Hospital for further examination and the operator was released for normal work that afternoon. The brakeman was returned to normal duty the next workday.|
|L-3||GE 80-ton||1953||Jackass & Western||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)||
The diesel electric locomotive with 500 hp and 161,000 lb was built in 1953 by the General Electric Company. It served initially at a U.S. Naval facility before it was overhauled and relocated to the Nevada Test Site in 1964. There, it was routinely used to transport nuclear powered rocket engines to various test stations. The nuclear rocket engine program commenced in 1955, when the Atomic Energy Commission and the U.S. Air Force began various thermal reactor studies for the first assembly of a prototype rocket engine. During the 1960s and 70s the U.S. Government constructed several rocket development stations at Area 25 and connected them with their own series of railroad tracks, thus allowing easy movement of the rocket engines from one test station to the next throughout the sprawling site. The unique name Jackass and Western shown on the side of the locomotive comes from the geographic location of Area 25. The Jackass Flats are some of several flats at the Nevada Test Site, such as Frenchman Flats and Yucca Flats, where most of the actual atomic testing took place during the mid to late 20th century. The Jackass and Western Railroad operated as a chartered common carrier until the U.S. Government suspended the nuclear rocket engine program in the mid 1980s, so that the locomotive sat idle and was put into storage. It was acquired by the Nevada State Railroad Museum in 2006. At the National Atomic Testing Museum in 755 E Flamingo Rd, Las Vegas is a model layout of the "Jackass and Western" Railroad. It was just a few spurs leading from the assembly building. The short length of the spurs and the short program duration both contributed to the mere 8 miles of operation accumulated after the locomotive was modified for use at the Nevada Test Site.
|#1000||Type NW-2||1939||UPRR||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)||The well-traveled locomotive #1000 (originally numbered #889) was built by the Electro-Motive Corporation in 1939. It was originally a demonstrator for the Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR) as a new class of yard switching locomotives. The new 1,000 hp demonstrator served for six months and was a great success. This led the UPRR to purchase the locomotive and re-number it to #1000. It was the first diesel-electric locomotive purchased by the Union Pacific. Over the subsequent two years, the UPRR ordered 44 new type NW-2. It worked throughout the UPRR system until 1966, at which time the UPRR started retiring the first units of the NW-2 locomotives. Shortly after it was sold to the Stockton Terminal and Eastern Railroad (ST&E) in Stockton, California, where it kept its original UPRR number. Then in 1968, the ST&E traded it to the Western Pacific Railroad, where it was completely overhauled, upgraded to 1200 hp with an EMC 567 12-cylinder engine, and renumbered #607 with a new operating weight of 251,000 pounds (114 t). It has a length of 44 feet 5 inches (13.54 m) and a maximum speed of 60 miles per hour (97 km/h). After being re-commissioned by the WPRR in 1969, the #607 was transferred in 1973 to the Sacramento Northern, a subsidiary of WPRR, and primarily worked within WPRR's Stockton yard. Ironically, the locomotive was returned to the UPRR roster during the 1982 merger between WPRR and UPRR, where it was renumbered back to #1000. Finally, in 1984 the UPRR donated it to the Deer Creek Scenic Railway in Heber City, Utah. It was eventually acquired by the Nevada State Railroad Museum and moved to its current location in 1993. This engine is used as a yard "hostler" and as a substitute on the excursions when needed. Long-term plans are to repaint the locomotive from its current blue color scheme to its original UPRR black color scheme.|
|#2314||Baggage and postal car||1911||Oregon Short Line (OSL)||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)||
The baggage and postal car #2314 was built by the Pullman Car Company in 1911 and operated on the Oregon Short Line (OSL), which was a subsidiary of the Union Pacific Railroad. In 1941 it was updated to its current configuration and ran in service until the late 1950s. It was then retired and donated to the Sons of the Utah Pioneers. It was relocated to Heber City, Utah in 1981. Finally, it was acquired by the Nevada State Railroad Museum and move to its current location in 1993. On its side it has a mail on-the-fly device, a hook which could be used to catch mail bags without stopping the train from a mail crane. As the train approached a station, a clerk prepared the catcher arm, which would then snatch the incoming mailbag, while the train was in motion. The clerk then booted out the outgoing mailbag. Experienced clerks spoke with pride of making the switch at night with nothing but the curves and the feel of the track to warn them of an upcoming catch.
|#3505||Pre-Harriman Non-Common Standard Class caboose||1882||Oregon Washington Railroad & Navigation Company (OWR&N)||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)||The pre-Harriman Non-Common Standard Class caboose was originally built in August 1882 in the work shops of the Oregon Railroad & Navigation Company in The Dalles, Oregon. It operated on the Oregon Washington Railroad & Navigation Company (OWR&N) railway after being consolidated in 1910 with the Oregon Railroad & Navigation Company, which was a subsidiary of the Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR). The #3505 (originally numbered #206 until 1918) was built prior to the Harriman era and prior to the Union Pacific's adoption of the Associated Lines Common CA class design. It is a classic example of wooden body cabooses that were commonly seen throughout North America up until the 1930s, when all steel body cabooses were first being phased in. After being retired from the Union Pacific Railroad in January 1962, this caboose was donated to the Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. In 1970 it was relocated to the Wasatch Railway Museum & Foundation in Heber City, Utah, Finally, in 1993, it was acquired by the Nevada State Railroad Museum and move to its present location.|
|Baldwin narrow gauge steam locomotive||1896||Eureka & Palisade Railroad||3 ft (914 mm)||This Baldwin locomotive of the narrow gauge Eureka & Palisade Railroad was a static exhibit at one of the casinos in Nevada. On its left side (fireman's side), it has the slogan "Good Luck! Inn & Casino." It was given to the Nevada Southern Railroad Museum when its outer appearance had already deteriorated. However, the boiler is in a surprisingly good condition, so that an overhaul into working order seems in principle possible. This narrow gauge engine was originally built for the Florence and Cripple Creek Railroad (F&CC) in the Colorado Mineral Belt region. The engine was originally numbered #10 and named "Independence", serving the road until the F&CC closed in 1915. Last surviving locomotive of the Uintah Railway.|
|Elsa.||Replica narrow gauge combine passenger car||Soon||3 ft (914 mm)||The replica combine passenger car is being built by Dan Markoff, who is best known for his restoration of the 4-4-0 narrow-gauge Eureka Locomotive No 4 of the Eureka and Palisade Railroad. However, after finishing the restoration in 1991, he set to work building a flat car and then in 1994 a recreation of the Palisade, a combine passenger car. Other than the wheels, the entire car has been built from the ground up.|
|Replica narrow gauge flat car||3 ft (914 mm)||The replica flat car was also built by Dan Markoff, to transport passengers, when he demonstrated his refurbished Eureka Locomotive on the 3 ft (914 mm) track of the Museum.|
|Wooden car bodies of narrow gauge carriages||1876||Eureka & Palisade Railroad||3 ft (914 mm)||Two wooden car bodies of narrow gauge carriages of the Eureka & Palisade Railroad were formerly exhibited at a casino in Nevada and are now stored in the bone yard adjacent to the museum at one of the ends of the wye. One of them is the raw model of Dan Markoff's replica narrow gauge combine passenger car of 1876. It is planned to clean their insides and reinforce them by installing new wooden boards. In the long term they will be exhibited in a planned new museum building in line with the replica.|
|Speeder||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)||Speeder to transport visitors to the bone yard adjacent to the Nevada Southern Railroad Museum.|
|Speeder||mid-1950s||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)||Fairmont Speeder. Used for track inspection and other yard work. This equipment was built by the Fairmont Railway Motors Company in the mid-1950s.|
|Ford F 250 Custom||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)||Ford F 250 Custom road-rail vehicle|
|Hard Top Open Air Car||1914||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)||The Open Air Passenger Car is of heavyweight design. It has three axles with six wheels on each truck (bogey) instead of the two axles per truck used for the enclosed passenger cars. To give the car a smooth ride when it was in passenger service, the floor is several inches of poured concrete. This coach was built in 1914 as a passenger coach and later modified as a maintenance of way work car that served on the Union Pacific. The car was converted to its fully open configuration when it entered excursion train service. The seating is bench style. The large openings provide views along the route and are the preferred seating for photographers. Further conversions are planned, because this type of vehicle proved to be attractive to the tourists.|
|604||ADA Wheelchair Accessible Car||1916||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)||The Harriman style coach was built in 1916. It was modified at the Nevada Southern Railroad Museum to have side loading doors for use with a lift so that it can accommodate wheelchairs and passengers who cannot climb stairs into the cars. A half-bath (sink and toilet) was also added to the car.|
|Head End Power (HEP) Car||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)||The Head End Power Car is a generator car. It was built because the locomotives of the Nevada Southern Railroad were designed to operate as yard switchers or with freight trains. They cannot generate enough electricity for lighting, air conditioning and public announcement systems. The Head End Power car was originally a boxcar car that was fitted with two diesel engines and generators, each capable of providing approximately 200 kW of three-phase power at 480 volts.|
|Soft Top Open Air Car||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)||Soft top summer excursion car.|
|Ballast spreader||early 1900's||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)||Jordan spreader. A piece of maintenance-of-way equipment used to shape ditches, spread ballast along the tracks, and as a snowplow; built by the Jordan Spreader Co., in the early 1900s.|
|Ellsmere||Private Business Car||1899||Wagner Palace Car Company||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)||Built by the Wagner Palace Car Company of Buffalo, N.Y., in 1899, for the then president of the company, Dr. William Seward Webb, son-in-law to William Vanderbilt. This was the last passenger car built by the Wagner company as it became a part of the Pullman Car Company on January 1, 1900. The car was considered one of the finest examples of private railway passenger cars of that era. This is an all-wood car with a partial steel underframe added in a major rebuild in ca 1915. The car traveled extensively to the west coast of the United States while used by Dr. Webb, normally traveling the Sante Fe Railroad route to the west from Chicago, IL., to Los Angeles and the West Coast. The interior prim paneling is of fine hardwoods including English oak, primavera, laurel, and mahogany. Ellsmere was purchased from the Pullman Company in approximately 1920 by the Missouri Pacific Railroad and used on its subsidiary the Texas & Pacific Railroad until 1960. The car was later acquired by museums in the central Texas area. The car was purchased by a Las Vegas casino owner and remained in his care for several years, being donated to the Nevada Southern Railway in 2002. The car is currently (2020) receiving an exterior restoration and interior work, with a planned re-exhibition by 2022.|
|WP 449||Steel body caboose||Union Pacific||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)||Steel body caboose. It had been re-painted very poorly into its yellow livery after it had been acquired by Union Pacific.|
|Crane||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)||Old steam crane nicknamed 'The Crab,' formerly operated on the Wasatch Mountain Railway (modern day Heber Valley Railroad). Originally from the Tooele Valley Railway or the International Smelting and Refining Company in Tooele, Utah.|
|Track maintenance car||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)||Former Union Pacific passenger car became a maintenance of way car and was a part of the collection obtained from Heber City, UT.|
|Track maintenance cars||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)||Former Union Pacific passenger car became maintenance of way car and was a part of the collection obtained from Heber City, UT.|
|Open-air excursion||1916||Western Pacific||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)||Originally built as a boxcar for the Western Pacific Railroad in 1916, was later modified for use as a stock car. Became a part of an excursion railroad in Utah, then sold to the Nevada State RailwayMuseum in 1993. The car was refurbished in 2020 and will be used as another open-air excursion car in the future.|
|Nobleman||1844||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)||Boarded-up passenger car of the Red Carpet Line in open-air storage.|
7½ inch miniature railway
The museum hosts a dedicated group of approximately 15 volunteers who on the second and fourth Saturdays, July and August excepted, provide free rides on the 7 1⁄2 in (190.5 mm) gauge railroad. The miniatures are 1/8th full size and accommodate children and adults easily. The layout is in a constant state of progressive evolution.
Nevada Southern Railroad Museum Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.