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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 Foundation, operator of the Nevada Northern Railway Museum. He can be reached at the museum (775) 289-2085 or e-mail: info@nnry.com

 


There's much more to the NNRy Museum than just train rides
09 August 2002

 

Hello everybody, I would like to introduce myself, I am Mark Bassett, the new Executive Director of the White Pine Historical Railroad Foundation the agency responsible for operating the Nevada Northern Railway Museum. I may be the new Executive Director but I’m not new to the Museum. For over three years I’ve been one of the volunteers that assists in running trains during the season. Due to the assistance of the Ely Times, I have this opportunity to share with the community what is happening down at the museum every week.

In regards to the museum, I would like to give an overview of what exactly the museum is. First off, it’s more than just a couple of steam and diesel locomotives hauling four cars on the weekend. The centerpiece of the museum is the East Ely Shops and Yards National Historic District. This forty-acre facility has 49 structures of historic importance. What you might not know is that there are only three facilities like this left in the country and we are the only standard gauge facility left. In discussions with the State Historic Preservation Office it was recognized that our district is of national importance. In fact the process has started to upgrade the district to National Landmark status. National Landmark status will put us on equal footing with Gettysburg National Battlefield and George Washington’s Mt Vernon. Nice company to be in. This will also crack open the doors to funding sources that are just out of reach now.

In addition to our Historic District, there are three steam locomotives with the oldest being 93 years old, nine historic diesel locomotives, with the oldest being 59 years old and two electric locomotives. Then there is a steam crane currently under restoration and what we believe to be the last standard gauge coal fire rotary snowplow in existence in the world.

For passenger coaches we have six, with oldest being 116 years old and it to is under restoration. Then there is all of the freight equipment of which one piece is rumored to be from the Central Pacific Railroad, the original transcontinental railroad. The Museum is also responsible for about 30 miles of track. This is your museum, truly a collection of national significance.

As the Executive Director, my goals are to preserve, interpret and educate the public on the significance of the Nevada Northern Railway. In my book preserving, interpreting and educating does not mean static displays, but to maintain and operate this historic equipment in a safe manner in its historic setting. To do this we need money. How much? A lot! And where will this money come from? The answers to these questions will be the topic of next week’s column. Until then feel free to share your ideas and thoughts with me.

 

 


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