Sunday, March 24, 2013

Nevada Southern Railway -- Boulder City

Several trip reports from the Southwest will be coming along soon.  I'll start with the Nevada Southern, located in Boulder City, Nev.  This is one of several sites, all part of state-funded Nevada State Railroad Museum.  It operates excursion trains on several miles of what's left of the railroad built in 1931 to enable construction of Hoover Dam.

In Boulder City itself are the static displays, many of which are under a ramada which provides adequate protection in this arid climate.

There are two standard gauge locomotives here.  UP 264 is a Baldwin Consol built in 1907.  It is thus a later model than our #428 but has similar dimensions, such as 57" drivers. The one labeled NS Ry #35 was built for the Pacific Lumber Company; it's a 1923 Baldwin Mike, 48" drivers.  After retirement it passed through a couple of private owners before coming to the museum.  Both are in good condition cosmetically.  There's also a narrow gauge locomotive and other equipment in a fenced-in area down the line which I didn't have time to see.

There are several passenger cars, including an RPO that is open to the public, and this nice wooden waycar from the UP.

And most of the equipment on display has very detailed signs with interesting information.  Several are included here as examples. 

And probably everybody has mailed a letter at some time, so RPO's are always a subject of general interest.



 The most unusual item is this homemade inspection car which seats about six people on the rear platform.  It is used for special trips or when ridership is low.

The museum is a state facility and has several full-time employees, but volunteers do much of the work, including operating the trains.  On the day we were there the entire crew of the passenger train were volunteers.  I spoke with the conductor, Bill Thornhill, who gave us a lot of information and allowed us to visit the shop building (below).

The line does not normally operate on weekdays, but there was a school charter while we were there, so this was the operating train. 

In the main workshop across the street, this replica of a Billmeyer and Small narrow-gauge combine is under construction, and nearing completion. This is being privately funded, as I understand.  The side panels will be finished with batten board strips; this method of construction predates the adoption of vertical tongue and groove siding, which is familiar from later wooden passenger cars.

The wheelsets came from a freight car, but everything else in the trucks was built new.  That in itself is a huge accomplishment!

So Boulder City is certainly a good place to stop if you're on your way to visit Hoover Dam (recommended) or even Vegas (where you're taking a risk, of course....). 


Anonymous said...

are you sure it is a replica? That museum has had a couple of Billmeyer & Small passenger cars that came from the Gold Spike Casino where they were displayed for decades.

It may be that they were so far gone that they will be replicas of the cars when the repairs are done.

They do need new trucks as they were sittig on freight car trucks.

Ted Miles

Charles Brown said...

Gee whiz, didn't you see the UP 844 there?

Ted may be right, there are a couple of ex Eureka & Palisades car bodies there in poor condition. There is a photo of them on their website at:

Sadly, there were several other cars along with them at the casino that are no longer around.

Charles Brown

Randall Hicks said...

As I mentioned, the narrow-gauge cars and the Uintah locomotive are stored in a fenced-in lot; I wasn't able to get close enough to photograph them. Anyway, it's obvious that the wooden structure of the car under construction is all new, although some metal parts may be reused, such as the link and pin coupler pockets.

I missed the 844? Nobody never tells me nothin'!

Anonymous said...

They are talking about a number 844 Diesel locomotive not the famous steam loco.

The 844 Diesel was the reason that that steamer was re-numbered 8444 during the Diesel's period of operation.

Ted Miles

Anonymous said...

I believe that the narrow gauge car under construction is the replica combine that Dan Markoff is building to pull behind his Baldwin 4-4-0 "Eureka"

Jason Midyette

Randy Hees said...

Coming in late...

The car under construction is a replica of a carbody we have... It is by, owned by and funded by Dan Markoff, for use with his 1875 Baldwin 4-4-0, Eureka.

We have the carbody of the 1875 Billmeyer and Smalls coach which he replicates along with a 1880's California built coach and baggage. All three carbodies are in poor condition but not beyond restoration.

The Uintah locomotive (later sold to Eureka-Nevada RR in Nevada) is in good mechanical shape and is a candidate for restoration to operation.

Our operational diesels are:
UP 844, EMD GP-30
UP 1000, EMC NW-2 (EMC demonstrator, first UP conventional diesel)
USATC 1855 F-M H12-44
Department of Energy, L-3, Nevada Test Site, GE 80 ton center cab

We also have UP 264, a Baldwin 2-8-0 and a Baldwin 90 ton logging Makado.

We are in the process of creating a new museum complex at the other end of our property...

Randy Hees
Director, NSRM-Boulder City