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Celebrating Nevada Day on Sat. Oct. 27, the Nevada State Railroad Museum’s historic 1910 McKeen motor car will ride the rails from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Carson City.  The rare piece of United States railroad history was named Nevada’s newest National Historic Landmark Oct. 17, one of only eight Nevada resources to be recognized nationally in such a way, among them the Nevada Northern Railway and the Comstock Historic District.

Now a stellar attraction that runs only four times a year, the McKeen motor car operated from 1910 to 1945 racking up more than a half-million miles between Reno and Minden on the Virginia & Truckee Railway.  The prestigious car later became a diner and an office before it was donated to the museum in 1995. After remarkable restoration, the car went back into service and carried passengers under its own power in 2010 to mark its centennial.

“Getting a chance to experience this kind of history is a rare treat for anyone who loves trains.  We couldn’t be more proud now that it is a National Historic Landmark,” said Peter Barton, administrator of the Nevada Division of Museums and History. “This latest honor recognizes and helps protect its significance to the whole country.  It is a great opportunity to attract tourists to our great state.”

The McKeen motor car is important as a rare example of internal combustion engines for rail travel, which previously relied primarily on steam propulsion. McKeen experimented with streamlining and lightweight metals to lower costs. The savings helped preserve passenger and express service on lightly-populated railroads across the United States, Barton said.  With its new status, it is in the company of the San Francisco Cable Car system and the Cumbres & Toltec Railroad in Colorado and New Mexico.

The museum also operates steam trains with historic V&T Railroad equipment and outdoor exhibits on selected weekends throughout the year. Inside, the facility offers the recently renovated Jacobsen Interpretive Center and a glimpse at how Nevada’s railroads contributed to the state’s history and Western development.

The Nevada State Railroad Museum is at 2180 S. Carson Street.   McKeen motor car rides for Nevada Day are $10 for those 12 and up, $5 for those 4-11.  Children 3 and under are free.  Museum admission is $6 for ages 18 and up, and free for those 17 and under.   The museum is open Friday through Monday from 9 to 5 to allow passengers to spend time at the exhibits before or after their trips and to visit the museum store.  For more information visit museums.nevadaculture.org .