Track for the Nevada Northern Railway was laid over a century ago, connecting one of the largest copper mines in North America to the transcontinental routes to the north. Today, several of the original steam locomotives that were ordered and delivered new to the railroad over a century ago are still in operation. Curators of the Smithsonian Institution have called the Nevada Northern Railway, "the most complete, most authentic, and best cared-for" railway museum in the country.
Best of all, when you come to the 2016 NSS Convention, you're going to ride it!
The ore line was built to transport the low grade porphyry copper ore from deposits located some 11 miles west of the railroad terminal at East Ely to the mill concentrator and smelter situated some 12 miles northeast at the town of McGill.
The ore line was completed in 1908. At almost 23 miles in length, the rails extended through Robinson Canyon to the mines at Copper Flat, Ruth and Veteran. Ore shipments commenced using the 90 Class 2-8-0's No.'s 90-93 to power the ore trains. The first ore was milled in May of that year.
The mine properties were originally underground developments; however, the Eureka and Liberty shafts of Nevada Consolidated's (Nevada Con) Copper Flat properties warranted the open-cut method of mining. Steam shovel operations began at the Eureka mine and at the Liberty shaft in August 1907 and 1909, respectively. The two pits were connected in 1916 to form a single, large pit known as the Liberty Pit, also called the Ruth or Copper Flat pit. By 1912, eight steam shovels worked the day shift and three shovels were employed at night, handling 9000 tons of ore per day.
During the 1958 recession, Kennecott Copper Corporation bought Consolidated Coppermines properties at Kimberly, and all of the Robinson Mining District then belonged to Kennecott's Nevada Mines Division.
After several decades of fluctuating commodity prices, a world-wide depression in the copper market and environmental issues relating to the aging smelter combined to spell the end of Kennecott's copper mining operations in the Robinson District. In September, 1978 KCC NMD mines were closed and the ore trains ceased operation. On 20 June 1983, the McGill smelter closed and the Nevada Northern Railway ceased operations.
Nevada Northern Railway
In a series of donations beginning in 1986, Kennecott transferred the entire ore line, as well as the railroad's yard and shop facilities in East Ely, to the White Pine Historical Railroad Foundation, a non-profit organization which operates the property as the Nevada Northern Railway Museum.
Today, the Nevada Northern Railway is the last of its kind - the sole survivor from a grand era of railroading in the Silver State. Now a National Historic Landmark, it is America's best preserved short-line railroad and most complete rail facility still in existence. You can walk back to a time when the iron horse ruled the rails.
The Nevada Northern Railway is a living, breathing, operating historic railroad. Sometimes it's gritty, sometimes it's dirty, and sometimes it smells of coal smoke, creosote and sweat. Locomotives whistle off, cars clang as they are coupled together and wheels squeal as the locomotive is turned on the wye. When it comes to American Railroad Heritage, this is as real as it gets.
When you come to Ely for the 2016 NSS Convention, the NNRY will be impossible to miss. It's only a few blocks from our campground and a short shuttle ride to our sessions location. During the days, the steam whistles may be heard all over town giving an ambiance to the valley you can't experience anywhere else. Located at 1100 Avenue A in Ely, the museum, depot and gift shop are open daily from 8am to 5pm.
The convention staff is organizing several excursions over the week that will allow you to personally
experience this living piece of history. If you'd like a greater in-depth experience, a pre or post option
could get you behind the throttle on one of these classic locomotives. Check our registration schedule for
more details, or visit the NNRY's website at
Elevation: 6,437 ft
District: White Pine County
Coordinates (WGS84): 39.259318, -114.869091
Nearest town: Ely, NV
Distance from the convention: 1/2 mile
Mainly clear. Lows overnight in the upper teens.
Mainly clear. Low 17F. Winds SSE at 5 to 10 mph.
Sunny, along with a few afternoon clouds. High near 50F. Winds E at 5 to 10 mph.
Last updated on
Mon, 1-Jan 7:45 pm
The Spirit Cave mummy is the oldest human mummy found in North America. It was discovered in 1940 in Spirit Cave, 13 miles east of Fallon, Nevada by the husband-and-wife archaeological team of Sydney and Georgia Wheeler.
The Wheelers, working for the Nevada State Parks Commission, were surveying possible archaeological sites to prevent their loss due to guano mining. Upon entering Spirit Cave they discovered the remains of two people wrapped in tule matting. One set of remains, buried deeper than the other, had been partially mummified (the head and right shoulder). The Wheelers, with the assistance of local residents, recovered a total of sixty-seven artifacts from the cave.
With more than 120 mines, Nevada is one of the country's major producers of turquoise. Most is found as nuggets, fracture fillings and in breccias as the cement filling interstices between fragments. Some of this unusually coloured turquoise may contain significant zinc and iron, which is the cause of the beautiful bright green to yellow-green shades.
Major turquoise deposits in Nevada occur along a wide belt of tectonic activity that coincides with the state's zone of thrust faulting. It strikes about N15°E and extends from the northern part of Elko County, southward down to the California border southwest of Tonopah.