The Nevada State Railroad Museum in Boulder City operates a heritage railroad which offers train excursions, and railroad history and exhibits. The passenger excursion train is a 45-minute round trip from the Museum station. The historic railroad line was known as the Boulder Branch and was used by the Union Pacific Railroad to transport equipment and supplies for the Boulder Dam Project in 1931.
In 2002, the state of Nevada opened the Nevada State Railroad Museum in
Boulder City, which operates excursion trains along the Boulder Branch line for visitors, as well as a railroad museum. The museum operates vintage trains on tracks laid for construction of the Boulder Dam. The
attraction is operated by the Nevada State Railroad Museum, part of the
Nevada Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs.
In 1985, the historic Union Pacific Railroad's Boulder Branch line that had served Boulder City during the Boulder Dam Project was severed at Railroad Pass during a highway widening project. Today, train lovers can board a train at the Museum station in Boulder City and ride the 4 ½ miles to Railroad Pass. The Railroad Museum now sees over 50,000 visitors annually and is planning an expansion.
Just to the South of the train platform are "Live Steamers," a 7.5" gauge 1.5" scale operating steam engine railroad with over 2,000 feet of track laid. Free rides
are provided on public "run" days, which are currently the 2nd and 4th
Saturday of each month (except January, July and August).
The Museum also offers rail explorers during cooler months, a pedal-powered handcar that rides on the railroad tracks on steel wheels, with riders seated in the open air, no steering required. The downhill handcar ride is four miles, with views of the Mojave desert,
the red rock River Mountains, Bootleg Pass, and the Eldorado Valley. The return trip is on one of the historic trains from the collection at the Nevada State Railroad Museum.
The Nevada State Railroad Museum and the Nevada Southern Railway are
wheelchair accessible. Trains and train cars are available for charter, events and field trips. The "Engineer for an Hour" program provides operating
instructions for those 18-years and up from a Federal Railroad Administration-licensed engineer, before putting the guest at the controls of a real-life diesel locomotive as it runs the Boulder Branch track from Boulder City to Railroad Pass.
The Museum recently added two locomotives to its collection, marking a milestone as the locomotives were the first pieces of equipment to arrive at the museum on
their own wheels since 1993, made possible by a new bridge
over Interstate 11. Formerly owned by Amtrak, one of the locomotives was used by Amtrak for the Desert Wind run between Las Vegas
and Los Angeles.
The original Boulder Branch line was built by the Union Pacific Railroad in 1930 and completed in 1931. The rail line was continued from Boulder
City to the dam site through Hemenway Wash, requiring the blasting of five tunnels through hard rock. The railway right-of-way is now a hiking trail operated by the National Park Service as the Historic Railroad Trail. The Historic Railroad Trail begins just east
of the Alan Bible Visitor's Center in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area and passes through the train tunnels, with panoramic views of Lake Mead.
The Union Pacific Railroad's Boulder Branch was decommissioned in 1961 after the last generator was delivered to Boulder Dam. The Nevada State Railroad Museum and Southern Nevada Railway recreate part of Boulder City's early 20th Century railroad history.
Welcome to the Nevada State Railroad Museum Boulder City & The Nevada Southern Railway. Friends of Nevada Southern Railway. . Accessed June 16, 2019. http://www.nevadasouthern.com/.
Rail Explorers. . Accessed June 16, 2019. https://www.railexplorers.net/.
Nevada Southern Railroad Museum. Wikipedia. . Accessed June 16, 2019. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nevada_Southern_Railroad_Museum.
"Funding sought to expand Boulder City railroad museum." Las Vegas Sun(Las Vegas)March 09, 2019. . https://lasvegassun.com/news/2019/mar/09/funding-sought-to-expand-boulder-city-railroad-mus/
Goodyear, Celia Shortt. "City gets grant to help fund train museum expansion." Boulder City Review(Boulder City)June 27, 2018. .
Jones, Jay. "Las Vegas' past, from a classic chapel to vintage railroad cars, on display at little-known museum." Los Angeles Times(Las Angeles)July 05, 2018. . https://www.latimes.com/travel/lasvegas/la-tr-las-vegas-clark-county-history-museum-20180703-story.html
Saylor, Hali Bernstein. "Train museum gets new engines." Boulder City Review(Boulder City)January 16, 2019. . https://bouldercityreview.com/news/train-museum-gets-new-engines-50258/
Velotta, Richard N.. "Boulder Branch line to run again." Boulder City Review(Boulder City)October 01, 2014. . https://bouldercityreview.com/news/boulder-branch-line-to-run-again/