Nevada Northern Railway
Home Links Contact Us

 

Mark Bassett is the Executive Director of the White Pine Historical 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

 


Poetry in Motion
18 June 2004


 

I was standing in front of the East Ely Depot on Sunday morning and it had already been a hectic morning. I had just come off a caboose hop with a film location crew. It was 10:55 a.m. and locomotive 109 had just arrived back to East Ely with the caboose.

The morning started with the film location crew wanting to see a place where the train would slow down. A scene in the script needed a place where an actor could jump the train at a logical place where the train would slow down. The Nevada Northern slows all trains for the tunnel. Since locomotive 93 was on the way back from a 7:00 a.m. rental we headed for the tunnel. The film crew was impressed seeing 93 coming through the tunnel. There are not many places in the world where you can stand next to the track and see a 1909 built steam locomotive come through a tunnel that was built at about the same time. They were impressed, but they did not want to commit themselves. They wanted to know if there was another place where the train would have to slow down. There is a second location, the cut on the highline. The cut was a tunnel that was day lighted many years ago. The cut is narrow and subject to having rocks fall onto the track. Because of the narrowness and the danger of rock falls; all trains also slow down entering the cut.

I explained this to the film crew and they wanted to see the cut. This was going to prove to be a bit difficult. They had nine people in their party. There is no easy way of driving to the cut. The easiest way is taking a train. Let's see. It is 8:09 a.m. now. The first train for Adverse is 11:00 a.m.; if we leave right now we can take a caboose to the cut and be back before 11:00 a.m. I had a hasty conference with the film crew. I said to meet me at the depot and I would have a caboose and locomotive ready to go up the line by 8:30.

At the enginehouse, I found one of the volunteer engineers getting ready for the day. I told him what I had in mind and we went to get locomotive 109 ready. As we were leaving the enginehouse, locomotive 93 was entering the East Ely yard. We took the bypass track from the enginehouse and went to the mainline by the Master Mechanic's office. From there we headed east to go pick up caboose 22 and the film crew. At the same time locomotive 93 need to go to the Master Mechanic's office to remove a firebrick that had dropped out. The train was on the mainline, locomotive 93 was on passing track 2 heading west, locomotive 109 went on to passing track 3 heading east. Opposite the depot locomotive 109 passed locomotive 93 as both locomotives passed the excursion train. 109 picked up caboose 22, the film crew, and headed to the cut.

At the cut the film crew got out of the caboose and wandered around checking film angles, lighting. and scenery. They were impressed. Then it was time to leave and head back to East Ely to clear the track for the 11:00 a.m. train to Adverse.

After locomotive 109 tied up in the yard at 11:00 a.m., locomotive 105 left East Ely heading for Adverse. After 105 cleared the East Ely yard, Locomotive 93 arrived with the morning excursion train. With 109 on passing track three, 93 pushed her train down to the depot. After unloading the passengers, 93 cut off, headed for the wye to turn around and then to the enginehouse for water in preparation for the 1:30 p.m. rental.

Meanwhile 109 moved from the passing track to the east end of the train in preparation for getting ready for the 1:00 p.m. train to Adverse. At 12:59 p.m., locomotive 105 returned to East Ely and headed to the freight house track to clear the mainline for locomotive 109. At 1:00 p.m., locomotive 109 left East Ely heading for Adverse with the afternoon train. At 1:15 p.m. locomotive 93 backed down to the depot from the Master Mechanics office to pick up its student engineer to get ready for a 1:30 p.m. departure to Keystone.

At 1:30 p.m. locomotive 93 left. At 2:54 p.m. locomotive 109 returned with its train, and after discharging the passengers, 109 went to the enginehouse. At 3:00 p.m. locomotive 105 left to go to Adverse with another rental. At about 3:30 p.m. locomotive 93 returned from Keystone and headed for the house. Locomotive 105 arrived back at about 5:00 p.m.

All told, on Sunday, we had eight train movements going from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. For the Union Pacific eight movements is nothing to crow about. For a small tourist railroad in east central Nevada it was a record. And I did not include the speeder trips to the White Pine Public Museum that shared the mainline with locomotives 93, 105, and 109. And oh, did I mention that all of these trains operated with volunteer crews? All movements operated on time and safely, it truly was poetry in motion.