Some people of a certain age were raised on railroads. I was fortunate enough to have experienced them towards the end of the era and have fond memories of riding the Milwaukee Road or Burlington Northern passenger trains to visit the relatives. When an opportunity to relive those memories comes around, I grab it.
So this past weekend, Sazzy, myself and about 100 other Las Vegas photographers headed off to Boulder City to shoot some trains. Boulder City is that lovely little town just outside Las Vegas that was built during the Great Depression to house the workers for the Hoover Dam / Boulder Dam Project.
It’s home to The Nevada Southern Railway. Part of the Nevada Railroad Museum. This short rail line and collection of antique passenger cars, steam/diesel locomotives, as well as other vintage train items, sits on what was part of the original Union Pacific line that ran from Las Vegas to Boulder City, with two other lines that served the Dam and the building of the dam.
Saturday was “photographers’ day”. They invited anyone with a passion for photography out to ride the rails, see the sites and snap a few hundred pictures. Hoping that some of us would get an amazing shot that they would use in their 2011 calendar. The day was picture perfect, to steal a much-used phrase.
On one run, they even stopped at a crossing, allowed us camera freaks out, then did a slow drive-by so we could get some up close and personal shots of a moving locomotive and it’s passenger cars.
We could only imagine what the engineer must have been thinking as he slowly passed by people in every conceivable position, posed alongside the tracks holding cameras! Photographers will do the darndest things to get “the picture.”
Even if you are not there for the photography, riding the train is a great way to spend a beautiful morning or afternoon. The experience is relaxing, the views awesome and the people you meet are wonderful.
The train runs weekends and leaves the Boulder City Station at 10:00am / 11:30am / 1:00pm / 2:30pm
On that trip, you can walk from car to car, sitting where you please. The open-air cars are the most popular with photographers and families. The original enclosed Pullman cars have comfortable seats with large windows that provide views of the desert and mountains as you travel alongside busy U.S. 93.
The cool part is the volunteer crew. These guys are great resources of information and fun to talk with. You can ask these guys anything. Not that you need to ask because they love to talk and to narrate as we slowly go along the 4-mile trail.
And talk they do…. These guys know a lot about the trains, the cars, and the history of them, the city and the station. Plus the vegetation, wildlife, and mountains you are watching go by.
Dressed in vintage uniforms, they look like they stepped out of central casting or an old train movie. Complete with the chains, pocket watches, and the familiar call to action “All Aboard!”.
For those of us raised on trains, this brings back a lot of memories. For those who never lived the experience, it’s an amazing trip back in time while relaxing as the train travels down the track.
If you are looking for a reason to get out of Las Vegas and do something fun and different, this would be it. You can’t beat the adventure or the price. (Adults $10)
Check Out Nevada Southern Railway
Take a Hoover Dam Tour