Meet The New Nevada State Railroad Museum Director – Christopher MacMahon, Ph.D.

New Museum Director Boulder City, Nevada

We’re super thrilled to share that our much loved local Railroad Museum has a new Director, Christopher MacMahon. The former Director Randy Hees moved to Little Rock, AR so we’ve been watching and waiting to see who would take the lead and we’re glad to get to meet him, as it’s a really exciting time for this museum given the pending expansion project.

Christopher tells us he has long been a fan of Southern Nevada in particular, and has wanted to come out this way since he graduated with his Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara. He’s also a US Navy Veteran and comes to us from his most recent work at the Las Cruces Railroad Museum in Las Cruses, New Mexico.

Some of you know and others may not, but these tracks and trains that we all have the privilege to ride on at the Nevada Southern Railway really are quite special. The tracks are the same originals that served Hoover Dam as it was being built. Not only that, but many of the cars we get to ride on are unique because of their age and the frequency that they run, most every weekend. That’s a huge part of what makes a visit to our little Railroad Museum so special.

Education is a key component for Christopher, and he addresses the membership with the following goals:

“The importance of railroads in constructing Hoover Dam, the little-known railroad operations at the Nevada Test Site, and a broader history of railroading in southern Nevada. Some of this education can be achieved through the display and operation of artifacts, but other pieces of these stories are better told through recreations in model railroad displays, and through a carefully planned live steam exhibition. No matter what role we play here at the museum, we should remember there is always an educational opportunity.”

Also important at the museum is the crucial role that the 100 or so active volunteers provide in giving us, the general public, a much more authentic and educational experience than we might otherwise have. These men and women help restore the old cars, do maintenance work, run the ticketing booths and show up completely without pay, just because they love the museum and want to help keep it running smoothly for all of us.

Christopher says that he is also working to see if they can expand the train rides into Henderson, since as you know the track was indeed laid as an overpass of I-11 when that was built.

Next month, will be the next appearance up in Carson City before the legislature about the extensive expansion project, which is rolling along smoothly. The architectural drawings are being worked on as we speak, with the goal the the project will be ‘shovel ready’ come July 2023. Next time you’re out at the Railway, or if you just happen to run into Christopher, be sure to give him a warm Boulder City welcome!

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