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NEVADA STATE RAILROAD MUSEUM - CARSON CITY
Railroad History and Movie Trains

Steam Engine Display at NSRM Carson City photoThe story of northern Nevada is tied to western railroading history, first from the Trans-Continental railroad through Reno to California, then the result of silver found in the Comstock Lode, turning Nevada into the "Silver State". The Virginia & Truckee Railroad was built to carry goods, passengers and oar from Reno to Carson City, the state capital, then branch lines to Minden and to Virginia City, the heart of the Comstock. The line not used for long haul routes remained with older steam engines for a good time longer than the main line across the mountains. Many of the engines for the Nevada rail line were bought by the Hollywood movie studios for the popular westerns of the 30’s to the 50’s. Many were later acquired by other railroad musuem and some have returned to Nevada.

4-4-) Baldwin Inyo Crson City photoThe Nevada State Railroad Museum in Carson City, located just off Highway 395 south of the city preserves the historic railroad heritage of the past. The collection of 65 locomotives and rail cars are found in a main display building and the round house. Almost half of the collection is from the Virginia & Truckee Railroad and many were built before 1900. The museum is not large compared to some others, but the museum’s signiture piece is the Inyo, a 4-4-0 Baldwin engine from 1875, one of the most beautiful and oldest classic American steam locomotives from the golden age of the Old West still operating. The Inyo has been featured in 29 motion pictures and television shows, and serving as the “hero” engine in the 1960’s Wild Wild West Television series (trains of the Sierra Railroad in Jamestown California were also used on the series see Jamestown Railtown 1890). The Inyo is brought out for rides on the 4th of July every year, the rest of the time other locomotives serve ride duty.

Coach 4 and Locomotive Lamps photoThe other hero of the state museum in Carson City is Coach No 4, built in San Francisco in 1872, one of the most expensive of the original V&T passenger cars, bougtht by Paramount in 1937 and was seen in movies including Union Pacific, Duel in the Sun and Raintree County. In 1971, the studio sold it back to the state and it was restored to its 1890 appearance, now roped off with a conductor mannequin inside.

Scale Model Train Locomotives Virginia & Truckee photoAside from the static disply of full sized rail cars and engines and some original engine lanterns,, the museum has a collection of scale models of various exambles of engines and cars from logging lines of the Sierra mountains to passenger trains. An HO-scale model railroad featuring hundreds of passenger and freight and passenger cars, along the steam and diesel-electric engines of the Union Pacific, Western Pacific, Southern Pacific and Nevada Copperbelt depicting the railroad operations of Nevada in the 20th Century has recently been added.

Coach Number 4 Interior Conductor photoTrain rides are offered on weekends from the beginning of May to the end of September, with rides on Nevada Day in October and Thanksgiving weekend, as well as a Santa Train in December. The train rides alternate between steam engines and a self contained 1926 Edwards Motor Car. The trains depart from the period train station moved from Wabuska, Nevada to the state railroad museum grounds. Aside from the weeked train rides, activities at the museum include rides on handcar, lectures, an annual railroad history symposium and a variety of special events and lectures.

The Nevada State Railroad Museum in Carson City is open from Friday to Monday, 8:30 to 4:30 pm. Admission to the museum is $5 for adults. Children under 18 are free. The train rides are an additional $5 (kids 4-11 $3) for the steam trains and $4 for the Motor Car. The Santa Trains are $3 for all. There are other branches on the Nevada State Railroad Museum in Boulder City near Las Vegas in the southern part of the state and the Ely Depot near the Utah border.
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