Nevada Northern Railway
National Historic Landmark      Ely, NV


Have you ever wondered what a view from the engineer's seat looks like?<br>Come find out 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>
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:
Purchase the STEAM experience
Purchase the DIESEL experience

Purchase STEAM Gift Certificate
Purchase 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.    

2018 Schedule Summary


Details of our 2018 schedule are being finalized.  Here is a summary of what to expect:

Starting Mid-April 2018:
   Fridays     4:30pm STEAM Train
   Saturdays 1:00pm STEAM Train
   Sundays    9:30am STEAM Train

Starting Memorial Day Weekend:
   Fridays     4:30pm STEAM
   Saturdays  1:00pm and 4:30pm STEAM
   Sundays    9:30am STEAM
   Mondays   9:30am STEAM
   Wed and Thru 9:30am DIESEL

Be the Engineer STEAM:   Available most days that STEAM operates
Be the Engineer DIESEL:   Can be arranged for almost anytime


Stay tuned!  On-Line ticketing, along with the full schedule (including special trains and events) will be available by early FEBRUARY 2018

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

The calendar below only shows STEAM Be The Engineer experiences.   Click here for Diesel experiences.
Hover over any available date to book your STEAM Be the Engineer experience now.



Either there is no availability in the near future, or the event has not yet been set up that far in advance.

Please call us for more information

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 (19)

Topic: engineer
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Jeff T. (Burbank) says...
Both the steam and diesel trips were experiences I'll never forget. I had terrific on-board training by talented engineers and learned what it's really like to pull the throttle on those big machines. (You'll learn that it's really more about brakes than throttles.) I apologize to the crew for the excessive whistle blowing, but I was having too much fun! The entire Nevada Northern staff was so friendly and helpful that I'm hoping to go back again next year.
Admin:
Glad that you enjoyed the experience!  It was great to work with you on these trips.
3rd September 2015 9:58am
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Louis J Lacina Jr (Brenham Texas) says...
Operating No. 40 was fantastic, and something I dreamed of since I was about 5 years old. Everyone with the Nevada Northern was pleasant and helpful. I am really glad I was told that I could be there extra early for lighting the engine. Ely, NV was great to visit, as well. I highly recommend Be The Engineer.
Admin:
Louis, it was great to have you here.  Glad that you came up for the Engineer experience.  

For those who are part of one of the programs, please feel free to come to the engine house early and watch us bring a steam locomotive to life each day.   We are following the tradition of getting Nevada Northern locomotives ready for the day that has been going on for over 100 years in that engine house, and with those same steam engines.  

Thanks, again, Louis, for taking part in the experience.
10th August 2015 6:50pm
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Chip (Roanoke VA) says...
A fantastic place to spend a day!! Truly the experience of a lifetime. I want to point out that this isn’t just driving the train around the rail yard. This is driving it out on the open tracks – through tunnels, beside the main highway, and through road crossings. You have protocol for when it’s required to blow the whistle, but the engineer also said that I also had the ability to blow it whenever I felt it was appropriate. Very cool!!! Being able to actually drive a steam train ... Read More
25th July 2015 3:05pm
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Robert fee (San Antonio) says...
I've been a locomotive engineer for the Union Pacific Railroad for 25 years and always thought it would be fun to run a train with a steam engine but it doesn't look like the carrier has a way for me to make that dream happen...but it looks like ya'll do. I'll be headed your way in the next few years before I retire.
Admin:
Great, we look forward to it.  Yes, real standard gauge mountain railroading.
14th July 2015 7:21pm
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Steve (Grass Valley Ca) says...
A must for a true "foamer", Train crew David & John were great. One more thing off the bucket list.
Admin:
Steve, it was great to have you aboard on the run up the mountain, with you at the controls.  You did great.  Thanks for having us on your bucket list.  The good thing is that we have pleanty of buckets left around here.
19th June 2015 6:54am
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