I’ve Been Workin’ on the Railroad

Rotary snowplow, photo by John GaffneyOriginally powered by steam, this rotary snow plow was built in 1937.

Converted to diesel 20 years later, it’s too huge to use after most snowstorms and it’s only brought out after monster blizzards like those of this almost-past winter. So it’s rare that a photographer has the opportunity for a photo like this one by John Gaffney. The video below shows the big machine in action.

Last ride for the West’s iconic trains?

by Forrest Whitman

If you see a train, better get on it. The California Zephyr, the Coast Starlight, the Empire Builder, the Texas Eagle and my favorite, the Southwest Chief, may soon be heading West for one last ride. Read More


 Sing Along with the Hobos

Engineers, firemen, brakemen — who else rode those freights? HOBOS!

"The Hobo in Country Music" vol. 1"

And while we might not care to emulate them, it’s a treat to hear their music — here are some samples of two albums produced in support of the Black Butte Center for Railroad Culture.

Check them out here.

Sand Mountain Blues

I Let the Freight Train Carry Me On

Nevada Northern Railway | V&T in Virginia City | V&T in Carson City
Nevada Southern Railway | Nevada Railroad Museum | Railfanning

Sparks: A Town of Two Times

Sparks: A Town of Two Times

by Wendell Huffman Sparks was created in the early 20th century as part of the Union Pacific Railroad’s modernization of the Central Pacific line across Nevada. The old division point at Wadsworth, where trains were dispatched, crews changed, and locomotives were serviced, was being bypassed by a significant realignment of the railroad, and a new ...
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The Nevada Company’s cannonball safe with the door closed and its combination-lock’s dial in place.

Berlin and the Cannonball Safe

by Adam Michalski Transporting valuables in modern times is relatively easy.  Armored vehicles, utilizing reinforced bodies and bullet-resistant windshields while traveling on paved roads, deliver cash between banks or jewels to jewelry stores.  In the 1890s, however, transporting cash, gold, and silver was much more difficult, especially in remote Central Nevada.  There were few railroads ...
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Locomotive Glenbrook at Nevada State Railroad Museum, Carson City

Locomotive Glenbrook Under Steam at Nevada State Railroad Museum, Carson City

by Wendell Huffman After slumbering for 90 years, the locomotive Glenbrook is once again under steam, blasting its whistle just a few miles from where it ran in 1875. The Glenbrook is a narrow gauge 2-6-0 locomotive which first operated on the railroad of the Carson & Tahoe Lumber & Fluming Company, a company ...
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Look familiar? Locomotive 204 is at the load out being filled with ballast. Once the cars are loaded, they are moved down the line and the ballast is dumped on the track. The ballast regulator follows along profiling the fresh ballast on the track and the roadbed.

Working on the Railroad

by Mark Bassett Working on the railroad all the live-long day. If you have driven from Ely to Ruth, you might have noticed that is just what we’re doing. Track equipment is out on the railroad replacing ties and tamping the track. Ballast trains are dumping ballast. And more track equipment follows the ballast trains spreading the ballast. When all of this done, the track is smooth and looks great. The railroad will be investing over $1,300,000 in the track. The Nevada Congressional Delegation was able to secure these funds for the railroad. The funds ...
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1956 Pontiac Chieftain Hy-Rail, modified by Fairmont Motor Co.

One Unusual Project: Nevada Northern Railway HY-RAIL #18

by Mark Bassett As with most things in life, it started with a simple comment. “Hey that’s a cool 1956 Pontiac Chieftain Station Wagon.” Paul Mickelson, one of the museum members was reviewing a book Joan and I had done on the Nevada Northern Railway. In the book was a photo of Nevada Northern Railway HY-RAIL 18. A HY-RAIL vehicle is a car or truck that can either go either on the highway or on the railroad tracks. Another friend had forwarded the picture of HY-RAIL 18 that he had found at a swap meet ...
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The V & T Railroad Chugs Into the New Year With Exciting Events

The V & T Railroad Chugs Into the New Year With Exciting Events

All aboard the V&T Railroad to create happy memories Attention individuals looking for adventurous opportunities to enter the enchanted world of vintage railroads — mark your calendar for the Virginia & Truckee Railroad’s 2016 season. The V&T Railroad kicks off its season on Memorial Day, Saturday, May 28, 2016, with seven daily train rides beginning at 10:30 ...
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Virginia & Truckee Railroad locomotive No. 28 at Virginia City, near the V & T passenger depot, in 1976

V&T No. 28 had a brief but important role in Nevada

by Peter Barton Railfans know Virginia & Truckee Railway locomotive No. 27 as the last new engine bought by the famous Comstock railroad company. It pulled the V&T’s last regular train in 1950, was a fixture in Virginia City for over two decades, and now restored, resides at the Nevada State Railroad Museum in Carson ...
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The Dam Railroad, or how the railroad that built Hoover Dam became a railroad museum

The Dam Railroad, or how the railroad that built Hoover Dam became a railroad museum

by Peter Barton In late December 1928 the United States Congress authorized construction of the Boulder Dam Project, the largest single civil engineering project conceived up to that date. To build the dam, they first built a railroad, or more accurately three railroads; the Union Pacific Boulder City Branch, the U.S. Government Railroad and the ...
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The Virginia Trckee Railroad on the way to Gold Hill

V&T Railroad’s Summer Season Opens Memorial Day Weekend

Authentic period train retraces Old West from Carson to Virginia Cities The 2016 Virginia & Truckee Railroad season chugs full steam ahead starting Memorial Day weekend, May 28-29. Authentic period steam trains ride through the heart of Nevada’s 1860s silver boom towns where legends of the Wild West were born and live on today along ...
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Johnny Bartholomew: Hero on the V&T Railroad

Johnny Bartholomew: Hero on the V&T Railroad

by Mark McLaughlin A In its heyday during the 1870s, Virginia City rivaled cosmopolitan San Francisco and the Barbary Coast as the most exciting and wildly indulgent city in the Far West. An important key to Virginia City’s reputation as a bustling metropolis teeming with millionaires and high society was the glamorous, but hard-working Virginia ...
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Photo for under header of Railfanning May 2016

Railfanning – April 2016

Railfanning Clearing the way - Union Pacific "Snow Fighters" keep the trains moving in Winter Trains keep America running. They carry bulk commodities like grain, coal, and petroleum, along with finished products like automobiles, other manufactured items, and imported merchandise. If the trains shut down, America shuts down too. No other form of transportation can ...
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