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Design for new train museum unveiled

Updated November 3, 2022 - 12:18 pm

Boulder City residents are getting a preview of what the expanded Nevada State Railroad Museum will look like after the state Division of Museums and History unveiled its three-phase plan for a new visitor center, linear park and railroad exhibit display area.

Working in conjunction with State Public Works, LGA Architecture provided renderings of the museum’s expansion.

“We will finally have a building for people to visit,” said museum Director Christopher MacMahon, who said he was looking forward to the expansion.

The new building will have a consolidated area for ticket sales, a museum store, a theater, a multipurpose room that can hold 50 people, passenger loading and unloading and a solid educational space.

“Education is at the heart of our mission,” MacMahon said.

The first phase of the expansion project will be constructing a new visitor center at the corner of Boulder City Parkway and Buchanan Boulevard. A new passenger loading platform for the museum’s interpretive excursion trains will be constructed adjacent to the visitor’s center with access to standard and narrow gauge tracks. Guest parking is included in this construction phase, along with an unloading zone for school buses and group tours.

The city of Boulder City, in conjunction with the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada, will construct an access road with additional parking that will connect the visitor center to Yucca Street and provide access to businesses near the museum.

“The expansion is more than just about the museum, it’s about the way railroads really connect communities together,” MacMahon said. “We are using this as a way to connect to the local community as well.”

The second phase of the museum’s expansion project will be the development of a linear park that runs the length of the museum campus along the lower level adjacent to the new access road. This park will incorporate the museum’s current live-stream interpretative railroad and will add an outdoor amphitheater, a railroad-themed children’s playground, leisure areas and additional restroom facilities.

This phase will also see the construction of the Boulder City Railroad Trail that will connect to the River Mountains Loop Trail near Veterans Memorial Parkway.

“The goal is to create a regional area for all the hikers, bikers and people coming to do outdoor recreation to have,” MacMahon said.

The final phase of the museum expansion will see the construction of an exhibit hall on the east side of the campus adjacent to the visitor center and passenger loading platform. The exhibit hall will contain a standard gauge and narrow gauge track for the indoor display of historic pieces within the museum’s collection.

“We are excited about the addition of an archival storage space which will include a reading room for guests and scholars to review the material,” MacMahon said.

“This gives us the ability to be a truly functional museum in the way that we need to be,” he added. “It will allow us to bring in curatorial staff and educational staff in a way that we can’t currently do.”

The project is slated to be funded through the sale of conservation bonds. The final authorization comes from the Legislature during its next session in February.

“If that authorization comes, we anticipate construction starting sometime in 2024 and opening to the public in early 2026,” MacMahon said.

Contact reporter Anisa Buttar at abuttar@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9401.

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