Battle Born Express
BY MEGG MUELLER
A journey through history
Dining cars with linens tablecloths and napkins, and food that would rival any fancy restaurant. Business cars with sleeping quarters and lushly appointed seating areas. Lounge cars with domed seating complete with rotating club chairs for optimal viewing. Let’s not forget the unparalleled views of Nevada that accompany every step of the trip from West Wendover to Sparks.
This is how travel used to be, before there was the need to rush and squeeze every last second from the day. And this is how travel was for the Battle Born Express Heritage Train Ride, which took place at the end of August as part of Nevada’s sesquicentennial celebration.
A joint effort from the Union Pacific and the NV 150 Commission, the ride blended history and luxury, as the train whisked Governor Sandoval, Lieutenant Governor Krolicki across Nevada. The journey took three days; remember, this was leisurely travel.
The trip covered the width of the state, and included whistlestops in Wells, Battle Mountain, and Lovelock. The train overnighted in Elko and Winnemucca, with celebrations in each city, all in honor of our 150th anniversary of statehood.
During the trip, I sat down with our Lt. Governor, Brian K. Krolicki and asked him about this unique experience, and how, as chairman of the Nevada 150 Commission, this year has been for him. He answered in typical fashion; warm, engaging, and full of excitement about this very special project.
THE PAST YEAR
“This year has been chaotic and full, on top of a role that is already fully challenging. I’ve been in public service for 24 years, and I adore every inch of this state and her people, and to be able to spend my last year as part of a celebration for the 150th birthday it’s perfect.
“I’m just thrilled Gov. Sandoval asked me to chair, it’s just given me an opportunity to reacquaint myself with some parts of Nevada I haven’t visited in some time, and to say hello to new friends. It’s been delightful.
“We made a pledge we would not use any taxpayers dollars for this celebration, and we’re $1.6 million dollars into this and we’ve kept that promise. Not only has the generosity of Nevada been a big part of this, but people have gone out of their way to buy logo-wear, buy a license plate to put on their cars…all of Nevada has embraced this.
“Now we’re in this final push… the final few months and we have had more than 400 quality events to celebrate the sesquicentennial. Still so much work happening but now we’re staring to enjoy some of the work that’s gone into it, like this Union Pacific train ride. This took months to coordinate but now it’s not autopilot but we can really enjoy this crescendo. “
UNION PACIFIC AND THE BATTLE BORN EXPRESS
“This train ride isn’t just a journey through Nevada; this is a journey through time. This is a throwback to the 1850s, how people traveled. To be able to spend time on it is certainly a treat, but it’s also appropriate. The railroads have been part of the fabric of Nevada since before statehood. We helped them (Union Pacific) celebrate their 150th in 2012, because we recognized how important they were to our state.
“They couldn’t have been more hospitable. To have this train available to us, to see how many students we touched…it was just exquisite. “
THE SESQUICENTENIAL CELEBRATIONS
“People have chosen to partake in Nevada’s birthday in some special way, that’s why they were recognized and I wouldn’t belittle the efforts in any way. They’ve been charming, and different, and disparate, and all delivered with joy. Other states have recognized their birthdays, but I think Nevada has done this in a most appropriate and very large way.
“It’s been a tough time last half a dozen years. We needed something we could all wrap our arms around, just to remind ourselves that Nevada’s resilient, we’re unique, and we’re a hardy bunch. We like to play and celebrate.”