Las Vegas Sun

October 13, 2019

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Funding sought to expand Boulder City railroad museum

Nevada Southern Railroad Museum

Justin M. Bowen

A look at the Nevada Southern Railroad Museum in Boulder City Saturday, June 11, 2011.

Boulder City officials are pushing the state to provide some $35 million to expand the Nevada Southern Railroad Museum and build an urban park.

Leaders from the city and the Chamber of Commerce met last month with lawmakers in Carson City to urge funding for a visitors center, new boarding platforms, a linear park and links to the River Mountain Loop Trail, officials said.

The museum runs a heritage railroad that allows passengers to ride vintage trains on tracks laid for construction of the Hoover Dam. The attraction is operated by the Nevada State Railroad Museum, part of the Nevada Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs.

“We found that there was widespread support for the idea of expanding the museum,” said Boulder City spokeswoman Lisa LaPlante, who was among city officials who met with lawmakers.

The expansion is needed to accommodate the increasing number of visitors to the museum, said Peter Barton, administrator of Nevada Division of Museums and History. When it opened in 2001, the railroad had 2,000 passengers, compared with nearly 55,000 last year, he said.

The proposed expansion would include a 9,700-square-foot visitors center at Buchanan Boulevard and Boulder City Parkway, with education displays, a ticket office and retail store.

The linear park would have a children’s playground and interactive and interpretive exhibits on the history of the railroad and Nevada.

Officials hope the proposed museum improvements would help lure some of the 40 million-plus people who visit Las Vegas each year to Boulder City, LaPlante said.

“This really is an additional draw in for those tourists, to get them to come to our city and visit our businesses, learn our cultural history and become more engaged with what we’ve got going on here right now,” LaPlante said.