Jackass & Western Railroad
In the mid-1950s, Nuclear Rocket Development Station (NRDS) was created at Jackass Flats within Area 25 of the Nevada Test Site. Administered by the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) as part of Project Rover and Project Orion, the Jackass and Western Railroad was constructed to connect the expansive network of test cells and assembly buildings.
With over 9 miles of track, the railroad’s primary purpose was to transport reactors and nuclear rocket motors from an assembly building to one of three test stands, and then back to an assembly building for deconstruction and evaluation. At its height, the Jackass & Western Railroad had four locomotives, a track inspection speeder, four special purpose cars, ten flatcars, two dump cars, multiple engine test cars, and maintenance-of-way equipment.
The museum currently houses three artifacts from the Nevada Test Site:
- Jackass & Western locomotive L-2 (General Electric 25-ton diesel-electric switcher)
- Jackass & Western locomotive L-3 (General Electric 80-ton diesel-electric center cab)
- Track Inspection Speeder (Fairmont)