Take a trip back in time aboard one of our regularly scheduled passenger train trips. Excursions operate throughout the year:
Join railfans who come from around the world for a first-hand adventure on the "Best-preserved short-line in America":
Getting here can be a great adventure. Check out some of the options:
Yes, you can spend a night or two here in the museum.
Celebrate Long Steel Rails
This festival will explore the impact railroads had in the building of America. These parallel long steel rails changed America. Nowadays, not much is given a second thought. Like so many things in modern life we expect results with minimal effort; throw a switch and you have lights. Need groceries, hop in your car and head to the store, where there's fresh meat, fresh vegetables, and fresh dairy products. Of course it wasn't always like this and especially out west, where great distances and horses made for slow going.
The railroad tracks that conquered the west were built one stick of rail at a time. Across the high desert of Nevada ties were placed one at a time, then the rail came forward. Thirty feet of steel weighing hundreds of pounds was lifted by four men and placed on the ties. Then the spikers moved in and started driving the spikes two per tie. As the spikers started their work the rail carriers went back for another stick of rail to place on the ties opposite their first one. The second rail was placed 4 feet 8 1/2 inches from the first and then another team of spikers came forward driving in two spikes per tie. A different crew came forward and bolted the rails together joining the new rails to the new track that stretched on until it disappeared over the horizon. This ballet played out, over and over, again and again, covering immense distances, tying the country together.
The railroads were the catalyst that led to the lifestyle that we now enjoy. Once upon a time in America every town of substance had a rail connection. If the railroad missed the town, then the town picked up and moved to the railroad. It was the railroads that allowed for the development of the interior of the country. The railroads touched just about everyone. Today that is still true but it is not as obivious as it once was.
There is a place where this connection is still very oblivious: Ely Nevada. Ely is the home of the Nevada Northern Railway, a place frozen in time. The two-story sandstone depot stands at the end of a broad street. Looming above the depot is the original coaling tower and water tank. The yard is unique; it consists of fifty buildings and structures with the majority of them constructed shortly after the arrival of the railroad.
On June 11, 12 and 13 the complex comes alive as the Nevada Northern Railway celebrates the fifth Long Steel Rails Festival. The three-day event will illustrate the influence that railroads exerted on everyday life in America using songs, stories, and pictures.
To demonstrate this influence there will be photography displays that graphically illustrate the connection between people and railroads.
To show how track building was done a track building demonstrationSteel Rails, Steel Hammers and Steel Menwill be ongoing in the yard. Opportunities to swing a spike maul and drive a spike will be available.
To tell the story will be a series of singers, speakers and artists. They are:
In addition to the speakers, the public is invited to record their railroad experiences for future generations. The White Pine Public Museum will be hosting an Oral History Program. This is designed to capture the remembrances of what it was like to work for the railroad. This program will concentrate on recording the experiences of the people who worked for the Nevada Northern Railway.
Not all of the people who rode the trains paid for the privilege. Some rode the freight trains as hobos. A Hobo Camp will be set-up, for the public to listen, to what it was like jumping trains and traveling the country.
For a remembrance of the Long Steel Rails Festival, children will be able to assemble a whistle made out of wood.
To experience railroading up close, guided walking tours of the rail yards and buildings that show the machinery and skills necessary to keep the iron horse running will be available. There will also be speeder rides. Before the days of cars and trucks gandy dancers (track workers) used lightweight gasoline powered track carts to travel the track to inspect it. Of course the ultimate opportunity will be to ride in the cab of a Diesel Locomotive. This will be an opportunity for the public to experience what its like to be in a diesel locomotive going down the rails.
Come join us for what promises to be an exciting weekend exploring the connection of the railroading and people.