Nevada Northern 'Star Train' sells out a year in advance

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EAST ELY, Nevada – Nevada Northern Railway President Mark Bassett says he’s “never seen anything like this.”

A year before the railroad’s Great Basin Star Trains are expected to pull out of the depot, all 15 runs planned for 2020 have sold out and the final two runs this year, on Aug. 16 and Sept. 6, sold out months ago. The trains are run in partnership with the nearby Great Basin National Park and take passengers on a trip into the darkness toward McGill where park rangers hold an astronomy party out in the sagebrush with telescopes and other tools to take in the night sky.

Great Basin National Park and the surrounding area has an incredibly dark night sky that makes it perfect to see the stars. Because of light pollution, nearly two-thirds of people in the continental United States cannot see the Milky Way from where they live.

Although the star trains have been running for five years, Bassett says it’s become especially popular in the past few seasons. The star trains have been the subject of a number of stories from national media outlets, including most recently CBS News and the Los Angeles Times.

Bassett says he hopes to add additional dates for the 2020 season, but that it depends on the availability of resources at both the railroad and national park. Those interested in riding the train in 2020 are encouraged to keep an eye on the railroad’s website to see when there are cancelations or when new dates are available. The trips are usually capped at 90 passengers.

While the star trains have been selling out, there are still plenty of seats about the railroad’s daily diesel or steam-powered excursions. For more information, go to
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