Restored rail line reconnects Southern Nevada cities

Updated April 13, 2018 - 6:33 pm

For the first time in 20 years, passengers boarded a train Friday connecting Boulder City to Henderson.

Gov. Brian Sandoval squatted down and took a few whacks at a chrome spike on a stretch of track that finally bridges a gap created two decades ago between the Southern Nevada cities.

“We’re talking about a day where we’re making history, but we’re also restoring history,” Sandoval said as gusty winds whipped around a crowd of 200 people gathered for a dedication ceremony.

“I think about the people coming to Southern Nevada, and they want a legitimate quality experience and adventure,” Sandoval said. “Now they’re going to be able to have that and share that as a family.”

An art deco-style steel truss bridge spanning nearly 364 feet helped restore service on the Boulder Branch rail line, a spur that curves away from the main Union Pacific line in Las Vegas, runs through Henderson and — once again — connects to Boulder City.

The rail bridge, and an accompanying pedestrian bridge connecting Henderson and River Mountains hiking trails, were built by the Nevada Department of Transportation as part of a 2.5-mile concrete segment of Interstate 11 that’s scheduled to open in May.

A 12.5-mile asphalt freeway segment headed to the Colorado River is scheduled to open to traffic by October, according to the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada. Construction on the $318 million freeway project, known as the Boulder City bypass, is split between NDOT and the RTC.

“Frankly, I was a doubter. I didn’t think the bridge would be included” in the freeway project, said Peter Barton, administrator of the state Division of Museums and History, which operates the Railroad Museum Center in Boulder City.

Union Pacific Railroad opened the Boulder Branch line in 1931 to ferry people, supplies and equipment to the construction site for what would become Hoover Dam.

Segments of the rail line were decommissioned over time, but the original tracks stayed in place until 1985, when Union Pacific donated part of the land to the state for a museum and another piece of land to be maintained by the city of Henderson.

The line was severed in 1998 when NDOT paved over a high-speed, at-grade section of the track that was considered dangerous due to a sharp turn at U.S. Highway 93 near the Railroad Pass casino. Since then the Nevada Southern Railroad Museum has operated train tours on the closed-off spur.

Now that the historic rail line is reconnected, Henderson Public Works Director Robert Herr said the city is examining what should be built along the route while restoring sections of track that haven’t been updated since the 1930s.

“Anyone who knows the history of Southern Nevada knows that we started as a railroad whistle stop, so we’re reconnecting to our history by reconnecting this rail line,” Henderson Mayor Debra March said.

“We also know that trains continue to excite and fascinate fans of all ages around the globe,” March said. “So we know this is also important in terms of tourism and family fun.”

Contact Art Marroquin at amarroquin@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0336. Follow @AMarroquin_LV on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Local
Downtown Summerlin hosts its annual Festival of Arts
People crowd to Downtown Summerlin for the 23rd annual Summerlin Festival of Arts in Las Vegas, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Clark County educators debate alternative grading systems
Spring Valley High School principal Tam Larnerd, Spring Valley High School IB coordinator Tony Gebbia and retired high school teacher Joyce O'Day discuss alternative grading systems. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Grandparents on the fire that killed three family members
Charles and Doris Smith talk about the night an apartment fire took the lives of three of their family members. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
New York artist Bobby Jacobs donated a sculpture to the Las Vegas Healing Garden
Bobby Jacobs, an artist from upstate New York, has spent much of the past year creating a sculpture of two separate angel wings. He donated the sculpture to the Las Vegas Healing Garden. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Weather will cool slightly through the end of the week
The weather will cool slightly through the end of the week., but highs are still expected to be slightly above normal for this year. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Mayor announces new public-private partnership
Mayor Carolyn Goodman announced the creation of the Mayor’s Fund for Las Vegas LIFE, a public-private partnership that will allocate money to the city’s neediest.
Fremont9 opens downtown
Fremont9 apartment complex has opened in downtown Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Fall fairytale gets cozy at Bellagio Conservatory
Bellagio Conservatory introduces its fall-themed garden titled "Falling Asleep." (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
What the house that Ted Binion died in looks like today
Casino heir Ted Binion died in this Las Vegas home in 1998. Current home owner Jane Popple spent over $600,000 to restore and modernize the home. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Rescue Mission employees terminated
Don James, a former employee for the Las Vegas Rescue Mission, talks about the day his team was terminated. (Erik Verduzco/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Raiders Cupcakes at Freed's Bakery
Freed's Bakery will have Raiders-themed cupcakes available in store and for order during football season. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
51s fans say goodbye to Cashman Field
Las Vegas 51s fans said goodbye to Cashman Field in Las Vegas, Monday September, 3, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
51s owner Don Logan's last weekend at Cashman Field
Don Logan, owner of the Las Vegas 51s, gives a tour of Cashman Field before the team's final weekend using the field. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Metro Asst. Sheriff Brett Zimmerman on Aug. 8 officer-involved shooting
Metropolitan Police Department Assistant Sheriff Brett Zimmerman met with media Monday to discuss the details of the 14th officer-involved shooting of the year. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Matt Kelly Elementary School hosted its third annual Back-to-School Red Carpet Program
Matt Kelly Elementary School hosted its third annual Back-to-School Red Carpet Program where community and business leaders joined to welcome students back with an inspirational welcome. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Star Trek fans on show’s enduring popularity
Star Trek fans at the Star Trek Convention 2018 talk about why they think the show has stayed popular across the years Thursday, August 2, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Nonprofit provides clothing for homeless
Sydney Grover of Can You Spare A Story?, talks about how she founded the non-profit organization. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Family remembers deceased mother
Family members of Adriann Gallegos remember her. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like