Nevada/Railroads

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Like highways, railroad tracks have been imported from TIGER data and they share the same problems like unconnected segments, wrong tagging, missing bridges and railroad crossings and positions that are frequently off quite a lot. So a TIGER Review is necessary as it is for highways.

Introduction

This is an early wiki for railroads in Nevada, both freight and passenger. Structure may be incomplete or need adjustments, has minor errors...it is under construction. Please bear with OSM as it continues to achieve completion.

Active lines

Lines that see regular rail traffic. Nevada State Rail Plan displays a wider-zoomed rail map by Nevada's Department of Transportation. Try this Overpass Turbo query, noting that OT queries are easy to edit. For example, you could change "main" to "branch" or "industrial" and run the query again.

There may be additional minor spurs (especially usage=industrial) which are not entered in this wiki. Please endeavor to both correctly tag these in OSM (completing TIGER Review) and document them here.

Union Pacific (UP)

UP, a Class I railroad, is the dominant and largest freight and passenger rail carrier in Nevada and owns all 1,085 main line route miles in the state (1,023 miles of single- and 62 miles of double-track).

Main

UP’s "Overland Route" is what SP (predecessor to UP) called what UP now calls Northern Transcon(tinental), a principle cross-country line connecting Chicago, Illinois to Emeryville/Oakland, California. It operates predominantly as a single-track mainline with only 53 miles (12%) of Nevada's 446 mile segment operating as a double–track mainline. Double-tracked segments include: Reno to Vista (11 miles); Alazon to Moor (14 miles); and Valley Pass to Tecoma near the Utah border (28 miles). Automatic block signals (ABS) are used to control traffic along the eastern part of the route between Verdi and Reno, Winnemucca and Moor, and Valley Pass and the Utah border. ~180 miles between Winnemucca and Wells, where both run within the same geographic valley and share similar alignments. All eastbound traffic operates on the Central Corridor and westbound trains operate on Overland Route. Overland Route connects to Feather River Corridor in Winnemucca and to Fallon, Mina, and Thorne branch lines in Hazen.

UP’s "Central Corridor" travels across northern Nevada, a distance of 273 miles, linking Winnemucca and northwestern Nevada with Salt Lake City and Denver. The Central Corridor runs through West Wendover, Shafter, Wells, Elko, and Carlin. The Central Corridor parallels Overland Route between Wells and Winnemucca, a distance of ~180 miles where both are situated within the same geographic valley and operate with all eastbound traffic on the Central Corridor track and westbound trains on Overland Route. The Central Corridor diverges from Overland Route at Wells and travels southeast to Salt Lake City.

UP’s "Feather River Corridor" is 154 miles, connecting Winnemucca to Sacramento. This follows Feather River through Ronda, Gerlach, and Flanigan west of Winnemucca and through Portola, Keddie, and Oroville in eastern California before reaching Sacramento. Connects Sacramento to the I-5 Corridor with service to Oregon and Washington to the north, the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California to the south and the San Francisco Bay area via Overland Route. Connections can be made in Winnemucca to both Central Corridor (Salt Lake City and Denver) and Overland Route (Chicago).

UP’s "South Central Route" is the combination of Caliente and Cima Subdivisions, 212 total route miles, utilizing Centralized Traffic Control (CTC) signaling. BNSF has no trackage rights on these subdivisions.

Subdivision Operator Relation Route TIGER Review Notes
Caliente Subdivision UP relation 7415677 Las Vegas - Moapa - Caliente - Utah Line - Modena, Utah - Lund, Utah - Milford, Utah (Lynndyl Subdivision) Done Tagged usage=main. Nevada DOT calls this "South Central Route (with Cima Subdivision).
Cima Subdivision UP relation 4503826 Las Vegas - Enterprise - Jean - Primm - California Line - Mojave Wilderness (California / USFS Region 5) - E of Barstow, California (Needles Subdivision) Done Tagged usage=main. Nevada DOT calls this "South Central Route" (with Caliente Subdivision). Relation may need to be double-tracked where true.
Elko Subdivision UP relation 1521601 Winnemucca - Battle Mountain - Carlin - Elko Nearly completely TIGER Reviewed (one segment near Elko remains) Tagged usage=main. Nevada DOT calls this part of both "Central Corridor" and "Overland Route." Not simply double-tracked but has directional traffic on both sides of the Humboldt River on portions between Winnemucca and Elko with tracks separated by several kilometers. Supports Amtrak California Zephyr℠ passenger=national route=trains.
Lakeside Subdivision UP relation 1521602 Wells - Montello - Utah Line - Lucin Cutoff (Utah) Partially TIGER Reviewed Tagged usage=main. Part of the "Overland Route" (with Elko, Nevada, Roseville and Shafter Subdivisions). Not simply double-tracked but has directional traffic on both sides of the Humboldt River on portions between Winnemucca and Elko with tracks separated by several kilometers. Supports Amtrak California Zephyr℠ passenger=national route=trains.
Nevada Subdivision UP relation 4766671 Reno - Fernley - Lovelock - Winnemucca Largely TIGER Reviewed Tagged usage=main. Part of the "Overland Route" (with Elko, Lakeside, Roseville and Shafter Subdivisions). BNSF has trackage rights. Supports Amtrak California Zephyr℠ passenger=national route=trains.
Roseville Subdivision UP relation 4766671 Reno - Fernley - Lovelock - Winnemucca Partially TIGER Reviewed Tagged usage=main. Part of the "Overland Route" (with Elko, Nevada, Lakeside and Shafter Subdivisions). BNSF has trackage rights. Supports Amtrak California Zephyr℠ passenger=national route=trains.
Shafter Subdivision UP relation 4766672 Elko - Wells - West Wendover - Utah Line - Wendover, Utah - W of Salt Lake City, Utah (Lynndyl Subdivision) Done Tagged usage=main. Nevada DOT calls this part of both "Central Corridor" and "Overland Route." ABS signaling Weso to Wells, CTC signaling Wells to Utah line. 273 miles in Nevada. BNSF has trackage rights on the entire route in Nevada. Supports Amtrak California Zephyr℠ passenger=national route=trains.
Winnemucca Subdivision UP relation 4487490 Portola, California - Nevada Line - Gerlach - Winnemucca Partially TIGER Reviewed Tagged usage=main. Nevada DOT calls this part of both "Central Corridor" and "Feather River Corridor," CTC signaling. 154 miles in Nevada. BNSF has trackage rights on the entire route in Nevada.

Branch

Subdivision Operator Relation Route TIGER Review Notes
Fallon Branch UP relation 7920104 Hazen (Nevada Subdivision) - Fallon Done Tagged usage=branch. 16 route miles. FRA Excepted track: maximum 10 MPH maximum speed, freight only, no passengers. TWC signaling/control.
Mina Branch UP relation 9069061 Hazen (Nevada Subdivision) - Silver Springs - Fort Churchill Partially TIGER Reviewed Tagged usage=branch. 43 route miles. FRA Class 2 track: maximum 25 MPH maximum speed. TWC signaling/control.
North Valmy Branch UP The single way is in OSM North Valmy Generating Station Done Tagged usage=branch. 5 miles of single-track, linking the westbound and eastbound Elko Subdivision segments and serving the North Valmy Generating Station.

Industrial

Three different owners control the 22-mile-long BMI Branch. The Nevada State Railroad Museum owns the most easterly 4.6 miles of the BMI Branch, operating excursion trains on trackage from Boulder City Depot. The city of Henderson owns the middle seven miles of the BMI Branch that includes a spur to serve the Henderson Industrial Park. The primary commodities shipped on the line are consumer goods, plastics and chemicals for companies such as Kerr-McGee, Ocean Spray and Pioneer Chemical. The city of Henderson added new crossties, replaced rail, and added ballast to the line in 2009. Union Pacific (UP) owns and operates the nearly 11-mile-long single-track western segment from Boulder Highway and Railroad Pass crossing in the city of Henderson to Boulder Junction.

Subdivision Operator Relation Route TIGER Review Notes
BMI Branch UP relation 7919958 Las Vegas (Boulder Jct.) - Green Valley - Henderson - western edge of Boulder City (includes Nevada Southern Railway) Needs TIGER Review Tagged usage=industrial, except the eastern portion which is tagged usage=tourism. The maximum speed on UP's and the Nevada State Railroad Museum segments is 10 mph (FRA Excepted Track), the City of Henderson-owned segments (from mile post 11 to mile post 18) are Track Class 2 (25 mph). Part of UP’s BMI Subdivision, the line is single-tracked and TWC-controlled.
Mead Lake Branch UP relation 7919970 Moapa - Moapa Valley - Overton Needs TIGER Review Tagged usage=industrial. 18 miles of single-track, making two to three round trips per week between Moapa and Lake Mead, serving Simplot Cement. The maximum authorized speed on the line is 25 mph (Track Class 2).
Reno Industrial Lead UP relation 6274339 Portola, California - Nevada Line - Gerlach - Winnemucca Partially TIGER Reviewed Tagged usage=industrial. Nevada DOT calls this "Reno Branch" but it is believed UP names this "Reno Industrial Lead." Nevada DOT further states this "connects the Feather River Corridor to the Overland Route in Reno. UP serves some industries on the line and maintains the line for the redundancy that it permits when weather or other conditions require alternate routes."

Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railway (BNSF)

According to Nevada DOT, BNSF, a Class I railroad, "has trackage rights on 804 route miles or 74 percent of the freight rail line in the state; BNSF does not own any trackage in Nevada. BNSF gained its trackage rights as a result of the Surface Transportation Board’s (STB) approval of the 1996 Union Pacific merger with the Southern Pacific Transportation Company (SPTC). BNSF was granted the following access rights to maintain pre-merger competition:

  • the right to access all customers on Union Pacific and former SPTC main lines between Weso and Alazon;
  • the right to establish exclusive intermodal, automotive, and transload facilities in the Reno-Sparks area;
  • the right to interchange directly with the Nevada Northern Railway (former BHP Nevada Railroad) at Shafter; and
  • the right to access all customers who locate on the BNSF trackage rights lines after the merger."

Military (US DoD)

Subdivision Operator Relation Route TIGER Review Notes
Thorne Branch UP relation 7920105 Hazen (Nevada Subdivision) - Silver Springs - Schurz - Hawthorne Army Depot Partially TIGER Reviewed Tagged usage=military. Owned and operated by US Department of Defense (Department of the Army). 53 route miles. FRA Class 1 track: 10 MPH maximum speed. TWC signaling/control. Used "for classified military shipments."

Other Branch rail (Great Basin and Northern Railroad, NN, Pabco, S&S Shortline, UP, US DoD)

Nevada has 309 railroad route miles of track on seven branch and short lines (ownership shown), serving six Nevada counties:

  • BMI Branch (three different owners of the western, central and eastern segments, respectively: UP, City of Henderson, Nevada State Railroad Museum, see UP Industrial section)
  • Fallon Branch (UP, see UP Branch section)
  • Mead Lake Branch (UP, see UP Industrial section)
  • Mina Branch (UP, see UP Branch section)
  • Reno Branch / Reno Industrial Lead (UP, see UP Industrial section)
  • Nevada Northern Railway, NN (White Pine Historical Railroad Foundation, see table below and Historic section)
  • PABCO Gypsum (PABCO, see Pabco Gypsum Branch section)
  • Thorne Branch (US DoD / Army, see Military section)

Of the 309 route miles, 107 miles are in service, accommodating commercial freight rail operations. The Nevada Northern Railway (has out-of-service trackage?) and the US DoD (Thorne Branch) own the remaining 202 miles. The entire network of branch and short lines is single-tracked, consisting of Class 1 and 2 tracks.

Owner Operator Relation Route TIGER Review Notes
White Pine Historical Railroad Foundation S&S Shortline relation 7920028 Cobre - McGill Junction Done Tagged usage=branch + name=Nevada Northern Railway + owner=White Pine Historical Railroad Foundation. S&S Shortline is a common carrier railroad with STB authority to operate from Cobre (MP 0) to McGill Junction (MP 128.5). S&S Shortline has interchange agreements with both UP and BNSF and has interchanged trains cars with UP and BNSF at Shafter.
White Pine Historical Railroad Foundation Great Basin and Northern Railroad relation 7920028 McGill Jct. - Keystone Done Tagged usage=branch. The White Pine Historical Railroad Foundation’s wholly-owned subsidiary, the Great Basin and Northern Railroad, has authority to operate freight and switching services from McGill Junction (MP 128.5) to Keystone (MP 146.5).

Pabco Gypsum Branch (PABCO)

The Pabco Gypsum Branch (also known as the Nevada Industrial Switch), a 12 mile-long single-track line between the UP main line at Moapa and the Pabco gypsum wallboard plant north of Lake Mead, is the only private railroad operating in Nevada (it is not a Common Carrier). The maximum authorized speed on the line is 20 mph (Track Class 1) and it is TWC-controlled.

Subdivision Operator Relation Route TIGER Review Notes
Pabco Gypsum Branch Pabco Gypsum relation 7919971 Apex (Caliente Subdivision) - Pabco Gypsum Plant Needs TIGER Review Tagged usage=industrial. Owned by Pabco Gypsum.

Disused lines

There is some rail tagged railway=disused in Nevada. Try this OT query and help to better complete this table!

Subdivision Operator Relation Route TIGER Review Notes
US Gypsum Railroad US Gypsum The single way is in OSM Gerlach - Empire Done 5.4 miles of rail tagged usage=industrial and railway=disused. Owned by US Gypsum and taken out of service in January 2011 with the closure of the US Gypsum Corporation plant in Empire.

Abandoned lines

There is a substantial amount of rail tagged railway=abandoned in Nevada. Try this OT query and help to complete a table here!

Only one rail line has been abandoned in the last 15 years in Nevada, the Modoc Subdivision. The line ran for seven miles in Washoe County and an additional 21 miles into northern California, terminating in Wendel, California. The line used to serve a California power plant and lumber mill. UP reclassified the line to an Industrial Lead and sold it to the Lassen Valley Railway LLC on December 3, 2009 when the tracks were last used. STB authorized abandoning the line on August 8, 2011; the American Trails Association, Inc. consummated a trail use/rail banking agreement for the right-of-way on October 1, 2011.

Railtrails

A railtrail uses a former railroad right-of-way (ROW) for equestrian, bicycle or hiking paths, preserving the ROW for possible future re-use as a railway while providing a useful service in the meantime. These are often tagged highway=cycleway or highway=footway depending on whether they prefer or allow bicycle or pedestrian traffic. It is OK to tag both railway=abandoned and highway=cycleway if it is the case that an abandoned railway became a railtrail (for bicycle use, for example). Where a (multi-use) pathway is designated for pedestrians but also allows bicycles, tag highway=footway and bicycle=yes.

See the Abandoned section for the inevitable overlap between Abandoned and Railtrails. The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy and other organizations have helped to develop four rails-to-trails projects in Nevada: the Carson City Trail (two miles) on an abandoned segment of the V&T Railroad; the historic Railroad Tunnel trail (seven miles) near Boulder City (S of Lake Mead, which during the building of Hoover Dam used to be part of what is now Nevada Southern Railway); the River Mountains Loop Trail (35 miles) near Henderson and the Hoover Dam; and the Union Pacific Railroad Trail (five miles) near Henderson.

Passenger trains

Tracks and stations used for passenger train routes are correctly collected into route=train relations. There is an earlier (with simpler structure) "version 1" method to do this that involves simply "tracks and stations" being in the relation. There is a later "version 2" method which is more complex and requires the exact stop position of the train, platforms for passengers, full "directionality" for each aspect of the train's travel, and a super-relation to tie these together. Please see this wiki section for full details on how to "upgrade" a public_transport:version=1 route=train relation to public_transport:version=2.

Try OpenPublicTransportMap (OPTM): it displays passenger rail in route=train relations. At closer zooms, OPTM also displays route=light_rail, route=subway, route=tram, route=monorail, route=funicular, route=bus, route=trolleybus, route=aerialway and route=ferry with colors similar to ORM. Please compare and contrast ORM (rail infrastructure) and OPTM (passenger routes) with OSM's Transport layer which rather simply displays "any and all rail" (railway=*), though not disused or abandoned rail, and at closer zooms, route=bus. Here was another rail renderer which displayed rail-based passenger routes with their colour=* or color=* tag (no longer functional, it was handy on Amtrak).

Amtrak® (passenger=national) trains serving Nevada (AMTK)

Route Trains Passenger Service Relation Status
California Zephyr℠ 5, 6 national relation 905830 Complete; public_transport v2. 2438 miles (Chicago - Emeryville, California). Underlying infrastructure route=railway relations look mostly solid, though relation is very large. Platforms and amenities around them can improve. Serving in Nevada: Reno, Winnemucca, Elko.

Color is Amtrak passenger=national route = blue. As Nevada's passenger=national Amtrak route is a lengthy overnight train (nearly all Amtrak national trains are overnight, though not all routes which pass through a single state are night trains), this is assigned a darker (web safe) blue.

Regional (passenger=regional) trains (none)

Presently, no "regional rail" exists in Nevada (medium-distances of 150 km to 1000 km; shorter than passenger=national rail but longer than passenger=suburban "commuter" trains, passenger=urban light-rail and passenger=local monorails/trams/tourist trains). Sometimes called "intercity."

Suburban / "Commuter" (passenger=suburban) trains (none)

Presently, no "commuter rail" exists in Nevada (full-sized "heavy rail" linking a large city's center with its outlying suburbs, often in other counties).

City / Light Rail (passenger=urban) trains (none)

Presently, no "city rail" exists in Nevada (urban "light rail" serving a usually dense downtown and surrounding area).

Local Rail (passenger=local) trains (????)

Local rail includes both the Las Vegas Monorail and tourism-oriented trains (in another section).

Route Trains Passenger Service Relation operator=* Status
Las Vegas Monorail 901 Monorail relation 5936155 Las Vegas Monorail Tagged public_transport:version=2, though does not appear to be. Please fix. 3.9 miles east of Las Vegas' Strip.

Historic, heritage, museum, tourism, mining (passenger=local) trains (NN, VT)

This first table contains route=railway relations.

Subdivision Operator Relation Route TIGER Review Notes
Nevada Southern Railway ???? relation 7920119 Boulder City Done Total miles: 3.5. Nevada DOT says "Nevada Southern Railway operates from the Nevada State Railroad Museum’s Yucca Street Station in Boulder City along 3.5 miles of track to Railroad Pass. The railway was originally built in the 1930s as a UP branch line to transport equipment and supplies to construct Hoover Dam. The Museum currently operates four daily 40-minute trips throughout the year on open-air and climate-controlled Pullman coaches. In addition to the excursion rail service, the museum offers an open-air display pavilion with a historic rail equipment exhibition." The elements of this relation overlap with BMI Branch, though these elements are tagged usage=tourism. The museum also operates a 1/8 scale railway=miniature railway with a 7-and-one-half-inch gauge (gauge=190.5).
Nevada Northern Railway NN relation 7920028 McGill Jct.: Cobre at Lakeside Subdivision (S of Montello) - Shafter - Ely Needs TIGER Review Total miles: 14 of active rail, on what was 149 miles of rail in Nevada to mine copper ore 1906 - 1983. Tagged usage=industrial, but usage=tourism may be correct, as there is a popular tourist train on this line. Unknown is if there is any industrial usage any longer. Owned by White Pine RR Foundation. FRA Class 2 track: maximum 25 MPH maximum speed. Track warrant controlled (TWC) signaling/control. 45 miles of line between between Shafter (MP 18.5) and Currie (MP 63) were completed to Class 2 track (maximum authorized speeds of 25 MPH). This segment is not actively used for freight service at present, although the line is well situated to provide shipments between UP's Central Corridor mainline in Shafter in the Copper mine in Currie. The southern section of track etween Currie and McGill may be rehabilitated by S&S Shortline so S&S can operate future freight service, possibly extending to the Nevada Northern Railway excursion trail in Ely. The 18.5 mile segment between Cobre and Shafter on the north end, (a link between Overland and Central) is currently disused and will require considerable upgrading to accommodate freight rail shipments.
Nevada State Railroad Museum ???? relation 9068932 Carson City No TIGER tags 1 mile railway=preserved loop at the museum
V&T Railroad VT relation 9068714 Virginia City - Gold Hill - E of Carson City Partially TIGER Reviewed Total miles: 14. Tagged usage=tourism. A former industrial railroad, now with tourism/excursion trains on sections of the original right-of-way from May to October.

A second table should contain route=train relations. Known destinations/stations and current online/printed schedules are useful sources as passenger rail routes and platform locations develop in OSM.

(Table goes here)

In the USA, passenger=local is sometimes tagged on historic/heritage/museum/tourism/mining route=train relations. Also, passenger=local is sometimes seen on, for example, airport-style railway=monorail or "People Mover" trains (often conductor-less / fully automated) linking airport terminals, rental car areas, long-term parking and correspondences with other transit networks.

Depending on similar Nevada rail facilities, create a new section/table for amusement park rail. California has substantial amusement park rail (and similar private rail), California/Railroads' section on Tourism rail struggles with similar categorization and tagging. Map your best, wiki your best!

Yards

It would be very kind for more OSM volunteers to continue to build up this statewide "Yards" table with status on every single Nevada rail yard. There are other industrial parks (Elko, Fernley, Tahoe/Reno) and transload facilities (Sparks) in Nevada. Let's better complete this table!

Name Railroad Area Subdivision(s) Served TIGER Review Status
Arden Yard UP Arden Cima (South Central Route) TIGER Review partially complete UP's Arden Yard has six tracks and handles rail switching for Las Vegas, as well as BMI Branch traffic. It is a non-classification facility used for rail staging and switching, serving as a crew change location for Cima Subdivision.
Carlin Yard UP Carlin Elko (Overland Route) TIGER Review partially complete The Carlin Yard has a four-track classification yard and a small repair facility.
Elko Yard UP Elko Elko, Shafter (Central Corridor) TIGER Review partially complete The Elko Yard has nine classification and three receiving/departure tracks. It serves as a key UP refueling facility and crew change location. Completed in October 2011 was increased fuel capacity and installation of a direct-to-train fueling pad, accommodating four trains with four separate fueling stations.
Las Vegas Intermodal Facility (Valley Yard) UP Las Vegas Cima (South Central Route) TIGER Review partially complete Intermodal services in the Las Vegas area, not known how "Nevada-wide" these services apply.
Sparks Intermodal Facility UP Sparks Roseville, Nevada, Reno Industrial Lead TIGER Review partially complete Placeholder. Please continue to add to this table.

Industrial leads are tracks connecting individual companies and industrial and business parks directly to main or branch rail. Industrial lead facilities are mostly used for shipping, transloading, and warehousing. Here is Nevada DOT's overview of larger industrial facilities currently in use:

  • Northeastern Nevada Regional Railport (NNRR)

NNRR opened in 2010 as part of a public-private revenue-sharing agreement between Elko County and Savage Services. This 60-acre intermodal transload facility is located on the eastern edge of Elko adjacent to the UP Elko Yard. The facility includes rail-to-truck and truck-to-rail capabilities, as well as rail car switching, storage, and warehousing. Companies located at the facility, which currently ship by rail, include Rudy Pipeline, Pacific Steel, and Liebherr Mining Equipment.

  • Fernley (potentially CERC)

Fernley has two spurs off the main line serving industrial parks in east Fernley near Nevada Pacific Parkway and Newlands Road and in west Fernley near I-80 and West Main Street. Industrial Park includes a spur line connection to the Overland Route, serving companies such as Valley Joist, Wayne, MSE, Paramont Petroleum, Qubecor, John Mansville, and Trex. The city of Fernley and Sonterra Developers have prepared initial plans for a large-scale 1,040 acre industrial site, called the Clean Energy Rail Center (CERC) in east Fernley to accommodate trucks, rail, planes, warehouses, and distribution facilities.

  • Tahoe Reno Industrial Center (TRIC)

TRIC is a 107,000-acre industrial park located in Storey County about seven miles east of Reno. The park has five miles of rail with access to BNSF and UP service on the Overland Route. The facility includes transloading and warehousing capabilities. Companies located at the facility include Alcoa, Walmart and Hardie Building Products. (Environmental documentation has begun on a USA Parkway extension southward from TRIC, which will connect I-80 with US50, benefitting TRIC truck access.)