WHAT: You will be in control of one of our vintage diesel locomotives out on our original main-line. For the steam locomotive program click here.
WHEN: By reservation, so make plans in advance.
WHO: You can share the experience with another person. Both of you will be in the cab and can take turns controlling the locomotive.
BRING: Work gloves, boots or sturdy shoes, long sleeve shirt and pants.
Yes, you can drive a Diesel locomotive. 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.
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 airbrakes. 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 main-line mountain 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 grade.
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.
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 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.
|Be the Engineer Options||Member||Non-Member|
|Diesel Locomotive Only - mainline 14 mile round trip||$676||$795|
|Diesel Locomotive freight train - mainline 14 mile round trip||$1,675||$1,970|
|ALCO and EMD Diesel Locomotives - 2 trips||$995||$1,170|
|Steam Locomotive Only - mainline 14 mile round trip||$897||$1,055|
|Steam Locomotive freight train - mainline 14 mile round trip||$2,397||$2,820|
|Ultimate Package - Steam & Diesel - Locomotives Only - 2 trips||$1,458||$1,715|
|Supreme Package - Steam & Diesel - Locomotives with trains - 2 trips||$3,668||$4,315|
If you're ready to book your Be The Engineer - DIESEL experience then hover any available date below to book!
Click here if you still have a question about this program.