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Nevada State Railroad Museum

Railroad History and Heritage in Carson City

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The Nevada State Railroad Museum in Carson City covers the history of railroad building and operation in northern Nevada. There are two main stories - the Virginia & Truckee Railroad built during the Comstock mining boom in Virginia City and the construction of the transcontinental railroad that passes through Reno and crosses the entire Silver State.

Things To Do at the Nevada State Railroad Museum in Carson City

The indoor part of the Nevada State Railroad Museum houses interpretive displays about the building of the transcontinental railroad, the history of the V & T Railroad, and other displays and artifacts about railroading in northern Nevada. Here you will find the beautiful "Inyo," a restored Baldwin steam locomotive built in 1875. The engine is operational and steamed up each year for the 4th of July. Inyo and other rolling stock from the museum have appeared in numerous Hollywood movies and TV shows over the years.

Steam train rides at the Nevada State Railroad Museum, Carson City
All aboard for steam train rides at the Nevada State Railroad Museum in Carson City. Photo © Stan White

Outside, you can visit Wabuska Station where train rides board, check out the restoration building with projects in progress, and view numerous cars and equipment from the heyday of the V & T Railroad. Sometimes a handcar is available for you to try your hand at pumping along a short section of track. Volunteers are always on hand to explain things and help you make the most of your visit to the Nevada State Railroad Museum.

Unique to the museum is the McKeen Motor Car, the only operational unit of its kind in the world. The car is open to museum visitors and available for excursion rides on select dates during the year.

The steam locomotive "Glenbrook" became operational in 2015 after many years of restoration work. This engine is truly a historic piece of equipment, having worked the lumber and tourism industries at Lake Tahoe in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Train Rides at the Nevada State Railroad Museum

Train rides from Wabuska Station run from May to December. The operating timetable gives you fares, times, and dates. The timetable also shows the equipment involved, be it steam locomotive, the McKeen Motor Car, or the Edward's Motor Car. For more information, call (775) 687-6953.

Fares and Hours

The Nevada State Railroad Museum is open Thursday through Monday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. It is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day. Admission is $6 for adults, free for museum members and children under 18. Regular and special event train rides are extra.

  • Steam Train - Age 12 and up, $8. Children 4 to 11, $4. Under 4 free. Museum members half price. Cab rides $25 when available.
  • Edward's Motor Car - Age 12 and up, $4. Children 4 to 11, $2. Under 4 free.
  • McKeen Motor Car - Age 12 and up, $8. Children 4 to 11, $4. Under 4 free. Museum members half price.
  • Santa Train - $5. Under 3 free.

Getting to the Nevada State Railroad Museum

The Nevada State Railroad Museum is located at 2180 S. Carson Street, Carson City, NV 89701. To get there from Reno, take I580 / U.S. 395 south to it's current end (as of July, 2016) at Fairview Drive (Exit 38). Turn right and stay in the right lane. After a few blocks, go straight through the intersection with S. Carson Street, then turn left into the free museum parking area. It's about 33 miles from Reno.

Friends of the Nevada State Railroad Museum (FNSRM)

FNSRM is a volunteer organization providing "resources and services for the Museum, including fund raising, advocacy, and volunteer work ranging from visitor service to restoration and operation of the equipment in its collection." Visit the website if you are interested in volunteering and/or supporting this organization.

More Nevada Railroad Museums and Train Rides

Sources: Nevada Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Friends of the Nevada State Railroad Museum.

McKeen Motor Car at the Nevada State Railroad Museum, Carson City, NV
McKeen Motor Car at the Nevada State Railroad Museum, Carson City. Photo © Stan White

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