The Virginia and Truckee Railroad (V & T) is beginning its 2019 operating season.

Regularly scheduled steam train round trips between the Carson City Eastgate Depot and Virginia City will start running on Saturday, May 25, 2019 and continue on Saturdays and Sundays until October 13, 2019. There are also Friday trips during some weekends in June, July and August.

Trains depart Carson City at 10 a.m. There is a layover of a couple of hours in Virginia City, giving you time for lunch and some exploration of the historic Comstock. You’ll re-board the train and head back to the Eastgate Depot at 3 p.m.

V & T train rides are a popular activity and the excursions frequently sell out. To ensure a seat on the date you would like, it is highly recommended that you buy tickets in advance.

Steam locomotive engineers on the Virginia and Truckee Railroad

Engineers keep the steam locomotives running on the Virginia & Truckee Railroad. Photo © Stan White

There is a shorter (and less expensive) V & T excursion train that runs several daily round trips between Virginia City and Gold Hill. This 35 minute ride includes historic narration from the conductor. No reservations are required and its schedule is daily from Memorial Day weekend through October.

Refer to my “All aboard the Virginia & Truckee Railroad” article for information about tickets and times.


Getting aboard a Santa train is one of the fun family things to do during the Christmas holiday season. Fortunately, we have three such trains in the Reno area and more not too far away (except for Ely, which is a long way from Reno).

The big train attraction is the Polar Express, taking passengers from the Eastgate Depot in Carson City to the North Pole (there’s also a Polar Express in Ely). This one requires getting tickets in advance, which tend to sell out every year. Two other Santa trains, one at the Nevada State Railroad Museum in Carson City and the Candy Cane Express in Virginia City, are easier to get on board. The Candy Cane Express, however, is quite popular and getting advance tickets is usually a good idea.

Learn about these train rides and more from “Christmas Holiday Santa Train Rides.” For lots of ideas for fun things to do during the December holiday season, refer to “2018 Christmas Events and Activities around Reno and Sparks.”

Bring the family to Virginia City for a ride with Thomas the Tank Engine. Meet Sir Topham Hatt, have fun in the Imagination Station, see real engines, and enjoy lots of other activities like temporary tattoos, face painting, story telling, Thomas videos and train play tables.

“Day Out With Thomas in Virginia City” will be at the Virginia & Truckee Railroad 1870 Depot, 166 F Street in Virginia City. Thomas will welcome guests on October 19, 20, 21, 26, 27, 28, 2018. Thomas train rides last about 25 minutes and there will be several trips each day starting at 10 a.m. Tickets are $19 and can be purchased online, at the Virginia City Depot, or by calling 866-468-7630. Kids 2 and under are free if sitting on a lap. No dogs (except certified service animals).

You are invited to come an hour before your departure and stay for a while after the train ride. The activities at “Day Out With Thomas in Virginia City” are for you and your children to enjoy for several hours. For more information, call the Virginia & Truckee Railroad at (775) 847-0380.