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"At The Throttle"
by Mark Bassett, Executive Director

A weekly series of columns originally published in the Friday 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

 


A Centennial Invitation
22 September 2006

The centennial of the completion of the construction of the Nevada Northern Railway from Cobre to Ely is September 29, 2006. When the Nevada Northern constructed the track to Ely one hundred years ago, the community celebrated with a Railroad Day celebration. Now a century later, the Nevada Northern Railway Museum will celebrate the completion with our own Centennial Celebration, and you're invited!

Setup starts on Thursday with the arrival of huge tents. During the first copper spike ceremony, there was not enough lodging in Ely so tents were erected for hotels. We'll be continuing that tradition only our tents won't be for lodging. The tents will be for the centennial festivities such as the BBQ, pancake breakfast, dinner, and concert. So come rain or shine the celebration continues.

The festivities kick off on Friday, September 29 at 9:15 a.m. with the departure of the first centennial train. This is your opportunity to journey back in time and ride behind steam locomotive 93 as she heads up to the hill to Ruth. For White Pine County residents, the cost is just $10 for adults and $5 for children on this special train on Friday.

Once we get back to Ely (about 11:00 a.m.), we will have welcoming speeches, the driving of the copper spike, and a free centennial BBQ. Then at 2:30 p.m., once again we head up the hill on a steam powered excursion train.

Saturday morning opens with a pancake breakfast starting at 7:00 a.m. Then at 8:00 a.m., the silent auction begins in the freight barn ending at 5:00 p.m. This is your chance to pickup on some great deals donated by local merchants. Then at 9:00 a.m., the first centennial train of the day whistles off to Keystone. Steam locomotive 93 will again do the honors for the trip up the hill. Passengers will have an opportunity to get off at the Renaissance Village or get off at the end of the line and take buses to visit the Robinson mine.

The second train of the day will be a caboose train. Locomotive 109 will haul three cabooses up the hill towards the mine. Departing at 10:30 a.m., this train is for those who have always wanted to ride in a caboose. For those who got off at the mine or Renaissance Village this train will bring them back down the hill. Trains continue to operate at 12:01 p.m., 1:30 p.m., and 3:00 p.m.

Meanwhile back in Ely, steam locomotive 40 will couple up to her historic train consisting of coach 5 and baggage/RPO 20. Locomotive 40 and train will operate between the White Pine Public Museum and the East Ely depot. She will be replicating the ping-pong trains that used to operate between East Ely and Ely. She'll spend the day going back and forth between the two museums.

Also at the railroad museum there will be tours of the engine house, more copper spike re-enactments, and velocipede rides. On the museum grounds, there will be vendor booths and music by Stuck in Reverse.
At 4:45 p.m., make sure you have a writing instrument. This is close to the end of the silent auction. Now's the time to decide how badly you want an item. As the clock heads to 5:00 p.m., there is a mad dash as people put their final bids on the bid sheet. Then it is 5:00 p.m.—the end of the auction—and people pick up their treasures.

The fun doesn't end as the sun goes down. At 6:00 p.m., we start the centennial dinner, and then right after the dinner is the Comstock Cowboys' concert. The ticket price including the dinner and concert is $30 for adults and $15 for children.

On Sunday, starting at 8:00 a.m. Stuck in Reverse performs gospel music until the train pulls out at 9:30 a.m. For those of you who want the ultimate railroad experience, the museum is offering five locomotive rentals. These rentals are a chance for individuals actually to operate a steam locomotive out on the mainline. This would be the ultimate remembrance of the centennial.

Then at 1:00 p.m., the last centennial train heads out of the East Ely depot for one more trip up the hill. This drops the curtain on the centennial weekend. After the train heads out, the big tents will come down and the weekend will become memories.

For the museum, the work will continue. We will have successfully steamed into our second century. For one hundred years, steam locomotives have headed up and down the line leaving from the East Ely depot. Now the work will begin to continue that tradition for another century.

 

 

 

 

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