Boulder City - The Magazine is a monthly publication full of information about Boulder City and Southern Nevada. Boulder City - The Magazine features the Boulder City Home Guide, a real estate guide to Boulder City and Southern Nevada.
Boulder City - The Magazine® March, 2004 Issue

North Thru Nevada
Porter Update
Boulder City History

Cover Story

Boulder City Trains, Trains, Trains
A Chat with Greg Corbin
by Ev Chase

Ten years ago when the railroad "rolling stock" began building up on the railroad tracks paralleling Nevada Highway it was called "Forbes' Folly," but no more. City Manager George Forbes had a vision. "Tourism," said Forbes. "That's what its all about."

It was shortly after December of 1985 when the Union Pacific Railroad transferred the Boulder City branch rail line to the State of Nevada Department of Museums, that the rolling stock began accumulating. In 1988 when Greg Corbin became the State's Assistant Administrator for Railroad Operations things began to happen -- and they still are.

"I'm now a Museum Director," Corbin says. "This is a fabulous job. Sometimes I take it for granted - the fun I have."

Corbin has been having "fun" in Boulder City since he relocated his office from Carson City to Boulder City in 1998. But he didn't come here as a newcomer to his job.

The conception of the project came about in the 1980's, during the term of Governor Richard Bryan who helped get it going, according to Corbin. It was after that beginning, the "Forbes Folly" came about.

"George had the foresight to think that this was good for Boulder City and tourism." Says Corbin. "This is one more piece of the pie that can be offered to the City. The train is a good fit.

"Boulder City has a lot of history, not only tied to the dam, but the railroad was an important part of what went on here. The dam could not have been built without the railroad."

The original plan for the tourist train concept was to extend the ride from Boulder City to the Clark County Heritage Museum, but there were a lot of reasons that didn't happen according to Corbin.

"There was about five miles of planned track there, but a lot of obstacles in the way prevented it from happening." Corbin says. "Then in 1996 we developed a plan to construct a two and one half mile loop in the area of Railroad Pass."

Corbin says they went through the process of withdrawing 158 acres of public land that was required to construct the 2 1/2 mile loop. Unfortunately, he says, the tight state budgets makes it hard to get projects through the legislature and that one is on the back burner.

Not all is lost, however, according to Corbin. While the Boulder City Bypass has created a problem for some Boulder City residents and happy tidings for others, it may be a new avenue for the progress of the tourist train.

"When the bypass is developed," says Corbin," the highway grade is intended to go under the existing railroad at Railroad Pass. When that happens, the railroad crossing at the Pass, which is currently covered over, will be able to be put back into use."

"Be able" are the key words here and Corbin is exhibiting patience. Instead of wasting his bullets on the legislature, he's waiting for the bypass project to be completed to regain the access beyond Railroad Pass. Remember the back burner?

"We have identified a spot in Henderson near Wagon Wheel Drive where we would like to extend the ride."

Corbin is planning to add an additional 2 1/2 miles to the train ride. The main objective has always been, he says, to take the tourist excursion over the summit at Railroad Pass so people could get the views of Las Vegas Valley.

"I think, in the long run, with a little bit of patience, we will get the very best options. The best part of it is, we won't have to go to the legislature to get money. There are a lot of opportunities we can have with night time operation, especially with that view."

Corbin understands the impatience of people when it comes to bureaucracy. In Nevada with the legislature meeting every two years, money for reconditioning old railroad cars comes in small doses.

George Forbes had a vision for the trains, so does Greg Corbin. He says, "for the people who come here to visit, that view (of Las Vegas Valley) can be pretty spectacular. At night there is nothing like it."

On a train ride, of course.

Nevada Southern Railway 2004 Train Schedule

Excursion train departs from the Nevada Southern Railway station (off Yucca Street) traveling 3.5 miles west along the historic Boulder Branch Line to Railroad Pass located within the River Mountain Range. The round trip (7 miles) lasts approximately forty-five minutes. The passengers will ride in newly refurbished (air conditioned) Pullman Coaches dating back to 1911.


Each Saturday of 2004 beginning March 13, with additional days as indicated below.
Sunday, May 2,
(Sping Jamboree)
Sunday, July 4, (Damboree Activities)
Sunday, Oct. 3, (Art in the Park)
Sunday, Dec. 5, (Santa Train)*

Trains will depart from Boulder City each sceduled day at:
09:00 am | 10:30 am | 12 Noon | 1:30 am
* Note: Call for schedule during "Santa Train: event.
Fares: Adults $5, Seniors (65 and older) $4, Child (ages 6-11) $3, 5yrs and under FREE.

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