RAILFANING LAS VEGAS

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Las Vegas Amtrak depot taken from U.P. dome car City of Portland, awaiting departure to Ontario, Ca. behind U.P. steam engine 3985 and the 'E' units, Sunday, May 15, 1994.  This excursion, a recreation of the "City of Los Angeles," was sponsored by the Pacific Limited Group, to coincide with the Union Pacific Historical Society convention in Ontario that week. 

 

           All photos 2000-2009. All rights reserved.

As a Las Vegas resident and railfan I have fielded numerous questions about railfaning in the area.  In this site I will attempt to provide information to help you find some good train-watching spots and get some good photos.  I have listed the easily accessible spots from about 25 miles north to 100 miles south of Las Vegas.   Also included are some pages that are not relevant to Las Vegas but hopefully you will find them interesting.

Many of the pictures I have posted are not current.  They remain here because they cannot be duplicated today.  We don't see Amtrak's Desert Wind, or the Talgo train, or the Flexliner train, or C&NW units in Las Vegas anymore.  Amtrak discontinued passenger service in May, 1997. The much anticipated re-start of a daily train between Las Vegas and Los Angeles is now a dead issue.  Las Vegas, one of the fastest growing cities in America, with a population of over one million, remains without passenger service!

Comments, corrections, requests for additional information and constructive criticism are always welcome at: chuck  @ rrchuck.com.

OVERVIEW

This part of the Union Pacific's California Sub-Division is mostly single track CTC with numerous passing sidings. There is a second "running" track from downtown Las Vegas (mp334) to mp326 south of Tropicana Avenue.  Incidentally, milepost locations indicate the miles from Los Angeles.

The line runs generally north to south and I will use geographical directions to aid in finding streets and photo locations. However, to the UP railroad north is eastbound (to Milford and Salt Lake City) and south is westbound (to Yermo and Los Angeles).

Frequency of trains is usually 15 to 20  7 to 10 per day. Traffic has dropped off considerably in the past two years.

A scanner is quite helpful as there is quite a bit of chatter with the dispatcher back in Omaha. Frequency is 160.515

Due to the position of the sun in the southern Nevada sky the light mostly favors shots of westbounds. Afternoons are short in the wintertime - the sun drops behind the mountains shortly after 4pm.  From May till September it's HOT, over 100F (38C) so bring along some bottled drinking water and a hat.

All information is provided without any guarantee of accuracy.  

Further information such as stations, mileposts, speeds, siding lengths, etc. can be found in the California Region and Rocky Mountain Region railfan timetables published by Altamont Press.  Another good source for railroad maps is Sonrisa Publications

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