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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
Main Street Station Trains