The Nevada Northern Railway Museum is dedicated to the restoration, preservation, interpretation, and operation of the Nevada Northern Railway historic facilities, yards, and rail collection. This evolving museum gives people the opportunity to experience a world-class, historic, working railroad.
The railway owns steam and diesel engines and runs tourist trains on a regular basis through warmer months and for specialty activities even in the winter. The Railroad is a National Historic Landmark.
The historic district, which comprises structures, tracks, switches, locomotives, and cars represents the main yard, office and shop facility. With a period of significance encompassing the beginning of construction in 1905 to the dieselization of motive power on the railroad in 1952, it is a complex which includes 39 contributing buildings, and 75 contributing structures, including the tracks of the yards, and locomotives, passenger, freight and maintenance-of-way cars which are original to the railroad in this era, and except when in service, are housed in the buildings or spotted outside on the tracks of these yards.
The District is located on the north side of East Ely, Nevada, originally a separate (but contiguous) town site from the City of Ely. The two towns merged in the 1970s to form one.
Visually, the historic district has changed very little in appearance since around 1915 or 1920.
By 1902 extensive copper deposits were found in the area east of Ely. Mark Requa, son of a wealthy Comstock silver magnate, owned the Eureka & Palisade Railroad, a narrow gauge in Eureka, Nevada. Requa was interested in bolstering the sagging economy of the E&P and explored the local copper properties at Ely. He organized the White Pine Copper Company - constructing a route that would require 140 miles of track construction. In 1904 White Pine Copper Co. merged into other mining properties and organized as the Nevada Consolidated Copper Co. ( NCCCo)
1905-1906 - Construction at Cobre began and tracks reached Ely and a gala "Railroad Days" celebration took place. The branch line was completed from McGill Junction to McGill.
1907-1908 - Construction of the McGill smelter began. NN tracks reached Lane City, Keystone mining district, Veteran Mine and Kimberly. Passenger & express service begins to McGill. The Hiline is completed.
1920 - Regular Pullman passenger service discontinued.
1941 - Local passenger and express trains discontinued.
1948 - Dieselization of ore trains began and most Kennecott (successor to NCCCo.) steam engines retired.
1978 - Ruth district mines are closed & ore trains to McGill are discontinued.
1983 - Last NNR freight operated in East Ely to Cobre.
In 1983, the White Pine Historical Railroad Foundation was organized to receive, administer, and develop an operating railroad museum. Kennecott made substantial donations consisting of: over 32 miles of track, East Ely Complex of machine shops, roundhouse, yards, and rolling stock as well as the McGill Depot.
In September of 1986, Engine #40 was steamed up for the first time since 1964 and pronounced to be in perfect mechanical condition. A new era thus was born as the newly dubbed "Ghost Train of Old Ely" began chugging along once familiar rails to thrill generations. Here is your invitation to come to Ely and experience the nostalgia of an era gone by.
More information can be found at: http://nevadanorthernrailway.net/nnry_history.htm
Nevada Northern Railway Museum
P.O. Box 150040 East Ely, Nevada 89315-0400