UPDATE: Dozens of people climbed aboard Nevada Northern Railway's Solar Eclipse Express Train on Sunday in Ely.
Excited passengers traveled to the small historic town, approximately four hours northeast of Las Vegas, from California, Utah, Arizona and various parts of Nevada, including many people from Las Vegas itself.
The train ride lasted approximately 3 hours, leaving the station shortly after 9 a.m. and returning around noon. Passengers were able to get off the train at a special viewing area just in time to watch the solar eclipse while wearing glasses provided by the railway for the event.
During the ride to and from the viewing area, passengers chatted with each other and enjoyed the sights while listening to facts about the solar eclipse and the area the train passed through. After the train ride, they were invited to explore the engine house or check out the museum and gift shop.
The Nevada Northern Railway hauled copper ore several decades ago but now it offers rides for history, train and photography buffs. It is a designated National Historic Landmark and has been featured on the shows "Modern Marvels" and "American Restorations." It has also won numerous awards such as "Best Place to Take the Kids" from the readers of Nevada Magazine.
Since the railway was originally a working railroad and not just a museum, all of the equipment is authentic. It is home to well-preserved steam locomotives plus passenger and freight cars, an engine house and water tower. The original depot houses a museum, gift shop and offices.
In addition to its regular train rides, the railway offers several special rides throughout the year, especially during the holiday season. Every year, the railway decorates its train cars and passengers are able to share stories and hot chocolate with Santa and Mrs. Claus during its Polar Express rides.
The Haunted Train Ride, Rockin' & Rollin' Geology Train and Wild West Limited are also a very popular rides. In addition, Railroad Reality Week offers attendees a chance to find out exactly what it was like to work on a railroad.
The regular excursion trains run several times each week from April to October.
And if you need a place to stay while visiting the railway, they have that covered too. You can choose to stay in a historic caboose or bunkhouse.
For more information about the Northern Nevada Railway, just click here.
If you have always wanted to visit Ely, this weekend is the time to go.
One of the most authentic western celebrations in the United States is happening Aug. 17 through 20.
The White Pine Horse Races are the biggest event in the county – a tradition that attracts thousands of people from around the region, country and world. Featuring thoroughbreds and quarter horses, the races run August 18-20 with parimutuel betting. This will mark the 82nd year of this long-time tradition that originated in 1934.
In addition, there will be a fair.
Dating back 70 years, the White Pine County Fair is put on by Beta Sigma Phi, showcasing local artists and 4H participants. Vendors, great food and entertainment makes this an event that brings everyone together Aug. 19 and 20.
And a rodeo.
White Pine County’s Ranch Rodeo on Aug. 18 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. is born out of the day-to-day work of ranchers of the region – making it stand out from other rodeos across the west. Free to spectators, the rodeo will also be at the fairgrounds.
But, what makes this year's festivities really unique is the partial solar eclipse on Aug. 21.
The moon will cover 83 percent of the sun in Ely. In honor of the event, the Nevada Northern Railway has added the special Eclipse Express Train Ride, which will depart from their museum at 9:15 a.m.
The eclipse will be at its maximum effect by the train reaches the end of the line. Special glasses will be provided to all passengers. Tickets are $39 for adults and $20 for children ages 4 to 12. Children under the age of 4 ride for free.
Other fun events include the Dinosaur Races on Aug. 17 from 5 to 9 p.m. at the Elks Lodge, the 4-H Livestock Show and Auction Aug. 19 and 20, and the Team Roping Event Aug. 19 after the races.