Sign on as a Nevada Northern Railway diesel locomotive engineer for a day. You
(and a friend, if you like) will climb on board and experience what railroading
is really like from the cab of one of our diesel locomotives. The locomotives we use for these runs are our original
road diesels that have decades of real revenue experience here on our mainline hauling ore.
To operate one of our steam locomotives click here.
What to Expect
Begin your 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
locomotive. With two blasts from the horn your mentor
engineer moves the locomotive out of the engine house and onto the 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
Once the basics are under your belt, the moment comes for you
to notch out the throttle and head
on the mainline
up toward the mines. You will be going through
two tunnels and have the opportunity to notch out the throttle further as we climb over 2.5% grades. Up toward the end of the line there is a wye. We
will turn the locomotive and then you will head back down to Ely, gaining hands-on experience
with controlling a locomotive descending a mountain grade. This is real standard-gauge
railroading on America's best-preserved railroad.
As with the steam program there are several options available
with the diesels. 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
with the diesel's dynamic brakes. Early in your trip you will begin to appreciate the genius of the Westinghouse Air Brake system,
and its complexities and limitations for mountain grades. 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
So what are you waiting for? You can have a hands-on experience with
main-line mountain railroading.
Make your appointment with your dreams. 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 run a diesel locomotive on the main-line of an American railroad!
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.
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 has oxygen, is possible. You must
be over 18 years old and have a valid driver's license to operate
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 rare, but possible,
that circumstances may require delays, substitutions, or rescheduling. Please contact us for details.
Prices and Discounts
Prices below are for the Engineer Experience. That can be one person, or two people sharing the experience.
These prices represent our best estimate for the long-term
sustainability of the locomotives, right-of-way, and maintenance facilities.
We are an independent foundation that relies on your continued patronage to
sustain the programs here.
A portion of the program cost may be tax deductible. Hover over the
prices below to determine the amount that you can speak to your tax advisor
about. We will provide a receipt when you purchase an event.
Members receive discounts. Memberships start at only $30. No other discounts apply to this experience.
Be the Engineer Options
Diesel Locomotive Only - mainline 14 mile round trip
Steam Locomotive Only - mainline 14 mile round trip