Amtrak serves Sparks with the California Zephyr , which runs daily between Emeryville (in the San Francisco Bay Area) and Chicago.
The 2010 U. S. Census Bureau population count was 90,264. It is the fifth most populous city in Nevada. It is named after the late Nevada Governor John Sparks, a member of the Silver Party. Sparks is located within the Reno–Sparks metropolitan area. The area that is now Sparks was first inhabited by the Washoe people. Euro-American settlement began in the early 1850s, and the population density remained very low until 1904 when the Southern Pacific Railroad built a switch yard and maintenance sheds there, after moving the division point from Wadsworth. In 1902, The Southern Pacific purchased a large tract of swamp-like land near its newly built railyard, and gave everyone clear deed to a 50' x 140' lot for the grand sum of $1. They also offered to pick up and move — free of charge — every house in Wadsworth and reassemble it in this new town.