Nevada Northern Railway
National Historic Landmark      Ely, NV


That can be you, climging up into the cab to take control of Locomotive 40
Have you ever wondered about that view from the engineer's seat?<br>Come, experience it this year.
Locomotive 40 and you - together today as you head up the mountain
The time has come! The student engineer is ready to head up the hill<br>toward Keystone under the supervision of our instructor engineer.
Heading up the mountain with you at the throttle.<br>It's nice up here, isn't it?
Two can share the Engineer experience
Make no mistake about it - Girls can operate steam locomotives too! <br><a href='http://youtube.com/watch?v=F2MCkLvj9YU&list=PL8jQ3mEYwLF8GXhn3Ux5-ncCHya-OwCvy' target='_blank' <em>Click here to see the interview with Engineer April</em>
This couple drove from California to share the engineer experience together
		<br><a href='https://youtu.be/sqU5u23cZTQ' target='_blank' <em>Click here to view the complete interview</em>
Just returning from their run, a big thumbs up on this experience!
		<br><a href='http://youtube.com/watch?v=7R7pG5qRGpU&list=PL8jQ3mEYwLF8GXhn3Ux5-ncCHya-OwCvy&index=87' target='_blank' <em>Click here to view the complete interview</em>
Another couple returning from their run.
		<br><a href='http://youtube.com/watch?v=wQhQemWzlDg&list=PL8jQ3mEYwLF8GXhn3Ux5-ncCHya-OwCvy&index=86' target='_blank' <em>Click here to view the complete interview</em>
Back from the trip. A renter from Germany (center)<br>surounded by the fireman(left) and instructor(right)
You are here, at the throttle of a real freight train
Whistle for that grade crossing           —  —  º  —
<br>From now on, it will always be more than just a dream...you will have done it!
Pulling ore cars up and out of East Ely toward the Ruth Mine

Be the Engineer - Your hand on the Throttle

Run a Locomotive - Hands-On History
This is something you are going to remember forever


Fast Facts

WHAT: You will be in control of one of the original Nevada Northern Railway locomotives, running it on the original mainline.

WHEN: By reservation, so make plans in advance. Generally weekends from May thru October

WHO: You can share the experience with another person. Both of you will be in the cab and take turns controlling the locomotive.

BRING: Work gloves, boots or sturdy shoes, long sleeve shirt. and pants made from 100% cotton or wool. 

HOW:
Book the STEAM experience
Book the DIESEL experience

Buy STEAM Gift Certificate
Buy DIESEL Gift Certificate

Sign on as a Nevada Northern Railway engineer for your own trip "Up the hill" through Robinson Canyon, up toward the old Ruth Mining District.  You (and a friend, if you like) will climb on board and experience what railroading was like in the last century - at the throttle of one of the original Nevada Northern STEAM locomotives.  Diesel experiences are also available.  Click here for details.

What to Expect

Begin your engineer experience by studying the safety training materials that our regular and volunteer crews learn from (download here).  There will be a test on the basics, but we are there to help you all the way through.  It is then time to head down to the century-old Enginehouse and help prepare your locomotive for the day. Climb into the cab, and learn how to operate the iron horse. Your mentor engineer will show you the ropes as we move the locomotive out of the engine house, through the yard, and onto the original NNRY mainline.

It's then your turn!  Climb up into the engineer's seat and receive personal instructions from your mentor engineer on controlling the throttle and brake.  Once the basics are under your belt, the moment comes for you to sound the whistle, have your hand on the throttle, and head up the mainline toward the mines.  You will be going through two tunnels and climb over 2.5% grades.  Up toward the end of the line there is a wye.  We will turn the locomotive they head back down to Ely, gaining hands-on experience with controlling a locomotive on a mountain grade.  This is real standard-gauge main-line mountain railroading on America's best-preserved railroad.  You are at the throttle.  You are the engineer.  You are running a steam locomotive.

Options

There are several options available.  You can take control of one of the vintage steam locomotives, or one of the vintage diesel locomotives, or operate both.  Most people come and take the locomotive out without a train attached.   It is an easier way to start, and requires less training.   Taking the locomotive out with a complete train adds the additional skill of controlling a train on our mountain grades.  You may find that it is easier to get the train up a grade than to bring it safely back down.  Early in your trip you will begin to appreciate the genius of the Westinghouse Air Brake system, its complexities and limitations for mountain grades - especially on steam locomotives since they do not have dynamic brakes.   You will also learn the "technical" term for using up all of your braking capacity by applying and releasing your train brakes too often coming down the mountain grade.    

Be the Engineer

Climb up to the Real Thing!

Be the Engineer

So what are you waiting for?  You can have a hands-on experience with railroading in the last century.  Make your appointment with history. Use the calendar below to pick your date, or call and book your locomotive rental or train rental today at 1-866-40STEAM (1-866-407-8326).   You can operate a steam engine! You can drive a steam locomotive!

P.S. What would be a greater holiday, birthday, or special gift than being at the throttle of one of our engines for a real engineer experience?   You can buy an "open ticket" as a gift and select the exact date later.

Locomotive Rental Frequently Asked Questions.

NOTE: Participants must be able to climb up to the cab unassisted. Due to the harsh environment in locomotive cabs, no medical devices or assistance, such as oxygen, is possible.  Requires sturdy closed-toed shoes, gloves, a long sleeve shirt and pants, all made from all-natural material (cotton, wool, leather - no synthetics, vinyl, or rubber).  You must be over 18 years old and have a valid driver's  license to operate the locomotive.  One rider, 12 years or older, may ride along in the cab at no additional cost. (standing room only for rider). 

Engine availability is subject to a variety of both controlled and uncontrolled circumstances. Both steam locomotives are over a century old and even the "new" diesels are a half-century old. It is very rare, but possible, that circumstances may require delays, substitutions, or rescheduling.

Prices and Discounts

Be the Engineer OptionsMemberNon-Member
Diesel Locomotive Only - mainline 14 mile round trip$595 $700
Steam Locomotive Only - mainline 14 mile round trip$820 $960
Ultimate Package - Steam & Diesel - Locomotives Only - 2 trips$1360 $1,610
Diesel Locomotive freight train - mainline 14 mile round trip$1,368 $1,600
Steam Locomotive freight train - mainline 14 mile round trip$1,955 $2,300
Ultimate Package - Steam & Diesel - Locomotives with trains - 2 trips$2,996 $3,520

If you're ready to book your Be The Engineer - STEAM  experience then hover any available date below to book!

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Click here if you still have a question about this program.

Be the Engineer / Locomotive Rental / Train Rental / Run a Locomotive

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Comments from those who have done this (23)

Topic: engineer
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Raymond Thompson (Oliver Springs TN) says...
I did the engineer experience in September of 2017. It was amazing being able to operate the steam locomotive. Doing so was one of my bucket list items that I got to fulfill. The staff were friendly, helpful, answered all my questions about the locomotive. I was able to take my GoPro camera with me and fastened it to the rear window in the cab to document my experience. I flew into Las Vegas as it is a cheaper destination, rented a car, and drove to Ely. Spent one night in a local motel, ... Read More
11th April 2018 6:30pm
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John (Sultan) says...
This review is very late, so please excuse the 8 year tardiness!

My son and I had this experience in 2010. Both of us are die-hard steam fans so we flew to Nevada and took the VERY long drive from Carson City to Ely.  There are not enough superlatives in my vocabulary to describe the experience! If I lived closer I would probably do this weekly! it was truly the "experience of a lifetime!"
5th April 2018 2:44pm
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Matthew Liverani (Ely NV) says...
I was the student engineer in 1998 as a graduation present from my dad and it's an experience I haven't forgotten. It still feels like yesterday that I did this, and I look forward to the day I get to do it again! I highly recommend this experience to any and all who are considering a one of a kind experience!
29th December 2017 2:18pm
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Walt (US) says...
I thoroughly enjoyed my steam engineer experience on April 20.  My compliemnts to Angie, Mike and Chris, all of whom were friendly and informative.  Also, I appreciate the opportunity to hang around in the morning while 93 was steamed up and to chat with Mike and Chris then.  It added a lot to the actual throttle time.  And kudos to NN for your open access to the grounds and facilities.  I visited the NN facilites many years ago while doing some consulting work for the WPHRF and LADWP and ... Read More
23rd November 2017 1:45am
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John S Craparo (Georgetown Texas) says...
We made the trip to Ely from central Texas specifically to visit the museum. The visit was worth every penny and then some. If scheduling allowed, would have stayed longer to explore and even do one of the passenger trips. I was amazed by the hands-on access visitors have to everything in the yards and buildings. Everyone was friendly and helpful. I got a kick out of the contrasts here... for instance, the railyard was dynamic and filled with activity and sounds. Then you walk up the stairs in ... Read More
19th October 2017 1:56pm
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