Vintage Train Cars at Downtown’s Main Street Station Find New Home

Two curiosities in downtown Las Vegas, vintage train cars used by the likes of Teddy
Roosevelt, Annie Oakley and Buffalo Bill, have been relocated to Ely, Nevada.

The train cars, named The Blackhawk and The Cascade, were included in the sale of a parcel
of land located between Main Street Station and the Plaza. The land was purchased by Derek
and Greg Stevens (owners of The D and Golden Gate) from Boyd Gaming for $7.5 million. Learn more.

Main Street Station train cars

We were surprised to see the trains sat on tracks below street level. We were even more surprised we got up this early to take photos of train cars.

We chatted up our friend and V.P. of Operations for The D Las Vegas, Jeff Victor, to find
out more about the sale and relocation of the trains. Mainly because we have no life and
consider such things wildly fascinating.

Victor says the company was initially surprised to learn the trains had been included in
the land sale. The Stevens brothers asked Boyd (owners of the Main Street Station casino)
when the trains would be moved, and only then were they informed the trains were part of
what they’d acquired.

The train cars had originally come from Colorado, and were restored by John Small at the behest of Florida developer Bob Snow. Snow estimated the value of the train cars at $250,000 each.

Main Street Station train cars

Buffalo Bill Cody used The Blackhawk to travel with his Wild West Show from 1906 until his death in 1917.

The announcement the classic train cars were for sale set off a bidding war. Snow showed
interest in the cars, and the town of Caliente, Nevada was also in the running for
possession of the rolling pieces of Americana.

Some bidders were deterred by the cost of transporting the cars, estimated to be about
$100,000.

Main Street Station classic trains

That’s “Colorado Midland Private Car #100” for the train nerds. You know who you are.

Ultimately, the cars were sold to a waste and recycling firm, Western Elite. The company
is expected to feature the vintage train cars in its annual Christmas Express (also called
the Western Elite Polar Express).

Christmas Express is a community outreach event where guests ride train cars towed by
diesel trucks. You know, the rural version of a thrill ride.

Main Street Station trains

The vintage trains at Main Street Station have found a new home in Ely, Nevada. All’s weld that ends weld.

So, while it’s sad to see the train cars go, there’s some consolation in the fact they’ll
be back in action and enjoyed by families in Ely. It’s pronounced “EE-lee,” by the way.

Yes, we asked how much the train cars sold for, but the answer isn’t straightforward. It
wasn’t a completely cash transaction. The deal included trade for waste disposal services,
which makes sense given the fact the Stevens brothers will be in construction mode on
their new resort, currently called 18 Fremont (formerly the Las Vegas Club).

Downtown Las Vegas trains

Roof parts. We trust these made their way to a big-ass recycle bin.

We’ve learned exclusively that before the trains were taken to Ely, they served as a location for an upcoming episode of “Pawn Stars.” Derek Stevens will presumably be shown haggling over the train cars with experts from the Las Vegas-based reality show. No deal could be struck, hence the sale to the company in Ely.

Here’s a look at the parcel of land in question, as well as the trains before their move.

We’ve been asked how the nearby casino can be called Main Street Station if there are no longer trains involved. Well, there are two train cars at Main Street Station, the Louisa May Alcott Pullman car and another called Orlando Dawn. Feel free to use that information to win a bar bet someday.

Enjoy more photos of the vintage train cars being removed from downtown’s Main Street Station, and thanks to Jeff Victor for keeping our story on track.

We’ll wait.

Main Street Station Trains

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  • NHBill603

    Sad to see them go.

  • Bouldersteve

    Trains being moved by a truck.First time I’ve seen that.Too bad when the trains were on display they didn’t let people inside to check them out. Bob Snow put a lot money into building the MSS although when he owned it I think it was called Rosie O Grady’s. Too bad he had no clue on how to run a hotel/casino.

    • Falcon Falcone

      Happens all the time in Boston. Thats how new train delivery’s are made to the MBTA and how they move old trains to the trolley museums (or they are scrapped on site)

  • Rooster

    I realize this is semi off-topic, but I’m stoked to see what DS does with the old Las Vegas Club.

  • RustyHammer

    I need to know more about these other rail cars allegedly at MSS.

  • Falcon Falcone

    Bummer to see them go. Always liked stopping in and looking at them.

  • Steven Brown

    I was hoping that they’d get donated to the Nevada State Railway Museum down in Boulder City (Which runs excursions along part of the rail line that carried supplies to Hoover Dam when it was under construction.).