As it has happened to numerous themed casinos in recent years, the greatest railroad-themed casino in Las Vegas, Palace Station, is underway to lose its unique appearance. Two years ago, the company officials announced a multimillion renovation project and the works are expected to be finished this year.
History of Palace Station
Palace Station has undergone many changes and expansions since it was opened in 1976 by Frank Fertitta Jr. Initially, it was named The Casino and it was a small place with 100 slot machines and a snack bar. The original idea was to provide a place for local residents to enjoy playing slots away from the Strip. The Casino quickly became popular and, just a year later, it expanded for the first time. It got a bingo room, a buffet and a new name – Bingo Palace.
As the casino continued expanding and attracting more and more customers, Fertitta Jr. decided to give it a makeover in 1983. He looked for a theme that would make his growing establishment different from the western-themed casinos popular at that time so he chose trains. Since he was not satisfied with how the name Bingo Palace fitted in with the new look of the casino, he organized a naming contest and picked the name Palace Station among 26,000 entries.
What made Palace Station such a unique venue was a railroad-theme façade, a 126-foot-tall by 126-foot-wide train-themed marquee sign, and 8 trains that were 8 feet wide and 17 feet tall weighing about 1,800 pounds. For 35 years, the railroad-themed casino kept attracting Las Vegas natives but also tourists and train enthusiasts. It is safe to assume that the company officials’ decision to “detrain” the casino did not sit well with train fans and buffs, but there are certainly those casino-goers who prefer seeing the place get bigger and more modern.
The multimillion transformation and renovation of Palace Station began in 2016. The iconic pieces of train-themed artwork that adorned the façade of the casino were taken down and the locomotives and train cars were removed. As a way to honor and celebrate the casino’s history, the 50-foot long Palace Station neon sign and the “Nevada Southern No. 9” train were donated to the Neon Museum in downtown Las Vegas.
As stated by the company, the renovation includes a new casino section on the eastern end which will provide space for additional 500 slot machines and 43 tables in total. There will be a new exterior façade, porte-cochere, two new restaurants and two new bars, a new bingo room and more parking areas. Visitors will also have an opportunity to enjoy a resort-style pool, movie theaters, a rooftop lounge, and a meeting and convention space.
It is sure that the renovated casino will not disappoint casino-goers, but train enthusiasts will certainly miss the old look. When nostalgia kicks in, you can visit the Neon Museum and see the legendary Palace Station neon sign and a train.