Riding a train is a wonderful way to travel, especially when you can do it under the rare beauty of an unobstructed starry night. Taking you to the middle of nowhere, this train in Nevada, United States of America lets you bask under the glory of stars without the need of telescopes. By Bayar Jain
Considering the pollution levels in the world today, it’s almost impossible to imagine a clear starry night sky. Outside of Nevada, United States of America, however, it is a nightly occurrence. One can simply hop on to the historic Great Basin Star train to enjoy this astronomical marvel.
Departing on select Fridays at 7:30 pm from a tiny town called Ely, this train travels approximately 17 kilometers east and climbs 800 feet along a mountain ridge to catch the setting sun at the Steptoe Valley. Another stop is then made to stargaze. At this stargazing spot, passengers can set up telescopes available on board to get a closer look, although they aren’t required. To make the journey more enjoyable, the Great Basin’s onboard dark rangers also conduct quizzes and give out prizes. Astronomy guides are also present to point out major constellations. On lucky days, one can sneak a peek of Saturn and Jupiter.
After around two-and-a-half hours of stargazing, the train heads back to Ely. Here, travellers can settle in the railway bunkhouse, or even a working train caboose, if available. This vintage diesel locomotive also has onboard snacks and beverages to make your dreams of a starry dinner date come true.
The train usually runs every year between May and September, but getting tickets is a gamble. While the tours for 2019 are already sold out with no hint of a wait list, the tickets for next year are already available on their website. An adult ticket costs $41 (INR 2,819), while a child can accompany for $20 (INR 1,375). To book a night at the bunkhouse or caboose, extra charges apply. Group discounts are available on request. So, what are you waiting for? Book yourself a starry adventure!