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"At The Throttle"
by Mark Bassett, Executive Director

A weekly series of columns originally published in the Saturday edition of the Ely Times 
Mark Bassett is the Executive Director of the White Pine Historical Railroad Foundation, operator of the Nevada Northern Railway Museum. He can be reached at the museum (775) 289-2085 ext. 7 or e-mail: director@nnry.com

 


Who Rides and How Do They Find Out?
26 April 2003

 

Last season was the largest season the Museum has ever had; we carried over 7,000 passengers. I thought I would share with you where our passengers come from.

As you might expect, Nevada leads the list; almost 56% of our ridership is from our home state. The breakdown within Nevada is interesting also; 46% of the ridership is from Las Vegas, followed by White Pine County at 29%, the Reno area at 18% and the rest of the state contributes 7%.

Riders came to Ely from forty-four states. Number two is California, 14% of our ridership is from the Golden state. Then it's the Beehive state, Utah, that provides 13% of our ridership. At this point the percentages drop off to single digits. Oddly enough, the top single digit is our foreign visitors; 2.5% of the ridership are visitors to the United States. The top country is England, followed by Canada, Germany, Denmark, Ukraine, Switzerland, Italy, New Zealand, Japan and then China.

Last year 93 carried a record number of passengers and those passengers came from around the world. With the new six day a week schedule starting in June, the museum should have a banner year.

 

Idaho and Arizona are next on the list, both posting 2% of the ridership last year. Next up are Washington, Colorado, Oregon and Texas rounding out the top ten. We even had five riders from Maine and Alaska each, about as far from Ely as you can get.

So how did these people hear about us? Well, in this electronic age it should be no surprise but the Internet rules. About 28% of our ridership hears about us on the Internet. I need to take a moment here and acknowledge our webmaster. Keith Albrandt maintains and upgrades our Web site from San Diego. Thanks Keith for a job well done. Next up is the newspaper, 15% of our ridership came as a result of newspaper advertising. Following very close behind is the help we receive from our local residents, 14% of our ridership is due to the citizens of White Pine County suggesting a ride on the Nevada Northern. Thank you and keep it up. Remember, the train will be operating six days a week from June through September.

Then Nevada magazine is responsible for 12% of our ridership. And the Class Reunion rounds out the top five; the reunion is responsible for 8% of the ridership. This gives you an overview on who rode last year and how they heard about us. So what we are doing about this year?

 

Source
%
Internet
28
Newspaper Advertising
15
Local Recommendations
14
Nevada Magazine
12
Class Reunion
8

 

The year opened with the Museum getting the inside cover and facing page in the 2003 Tourist Railroad Directory. This is the bible for railfans across the country and around the world. This started our 2003 campaign, "Still Steaming." The focus of this campaign is the Joel Jensen photograph of locomotives 40 and 93 in the East Ely yard captured in the early morning light. This is a timeless scene that could have been taken any time from 1910 until today.

The Nevada Northern also received great press on the community's trip to Carson City to explain the need for the railroad bills pending in this legislative session. Bills AB 180 and AB 181 address the immediate needs of the railroad and community. (In fact, if you haven't done it yet, drop a note to our state legislators indicating your support.) Our appearance before the Assembly's Way's and Mean's committee generated an Associated Press story that ran in both the Reno Gazette Journal and the Las Vegas Sun.

Last February we hosted a special weekend for rail photographers that traveled to Ely from around the country. This paid off dividends for the museum; we were a feature article in the June, 2002 issue of Railfan and Railroad magazine. The article was a great four-page spread with seven fabulous pictures of 93 pulling an ore train in the snow. Also, I should mention the Museum had a great ad on the back cover of the magazine. Maybe they should change their name to Nevada Northern Railfan and Railroad.

Then our luck continued with Trains magazine. The Museum was featured on the cover of their "2003 Guide to Recreational Railroading," a supplement to their May, issue. Of course, we had an ad in their directory also.

Then in the May/June issue of Nevada magazine, guess what? There is a great story on the Nevada Northern Railway. Of course, we had to share some of the limelight with other railroad museums in the state, but we got three photos and a great story. It gets even better, because, the story is in the Nevada Events & Shows section, which is given out to hundreds of thousands of people. And of course we have an ad in this section inviting people to come to Ely to ride the train.

Then in the May issue of Sunset magazine, they did a story on the Loneliest Road in America, US 50. That included a blip on the Nevada Northern Railway Museum.

So what does all of this mean? Well with the war over and gas prices dropping, factor in that the Railroad is running excursions six days a week from June until September, we are in a great position to have a record season. Will we? Stay tuned; I'll keep you posted.

State
Riders
%
Alabama
25
0.4
Alaska
5
0.1
Arizona
105
1.7
Arkansas
10
0.2
California
885
14.0
Colorado
64
1.0
Connecticut
7
0.1
Delaware
0
0.0
District of Columbia
0
0.0
Florida
21
0.3
Georgia
7
0.1
Hawaii
0
0.0
Idaho
117
1.9
Illinois
29
0.5
Indiana
9
0.1
Iowa
8
0.1
Kansas
18
0.3
Kentucky
6
0.1
Louisiana
11
0.2
Maine
5
0.1
Maryland
13
0.2
Massachusetts
15
0.2
Michigan
8
0.1
Minnesota
7
0.1
Mississippi
0
0.0
Missouri
16
0.3
Montana
14
0.2
Nebraska
9
0.1
Nevada
3518
55.7
New Hampshire
0
0.0
New Jersey
15
0.2
New Mexico
19
0.2
New York
16
0.3
North Carolina
9
0.1
North Dakota
9
0.1
Ohio
17
0.3
Oklahoma
17
0.3
Oregon
64
1.0
Pennsylvania
18
0.3
Rhode Island
0
0.0
South Carolina
10
0.2
South Dakota
12
0.2
Tennessee
13
0.2
Texas
48
0.8
Utah
824
13.1
Vermont
0
0.0
Virginia
7
0.1
Washington
97
1.5
West Virginia
8
0.1
Wisconsin
10
0.2
Wyoming
11
0.2
Other Countries
156
2.5

 

 

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All Rights Reserved - Page Last Updated 24 April 2003
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