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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

 


Projects Three — Machine Shop & Engine House
12 October 2002


There are three major projects that the Nevada Northern Railway Museum is investigating funding sources for. The projects are the McGill Depot, the East Ely Machine Shop and Engine House Building, and of course Locomotive 40. The three projects share similar characteristics: they will cost about $500,000 apiece; they are all in need of immediate help; and they are vital to the Museum. This week will review the East Ely Machine Shop and Engine House Building.

 

Built in 1907, the Nevada Northern Engine House and Machine Shop building needs stabilization work
to tie together the masonry walls and roof.

 

The Engine House and Machine Shop building houses and maintains the historic collection of the Nevada Northern Railway Museum and needs an immediate and complete seismic and structural retrofit, or the structure will be forced to become non-operational. The Engine House and Machine Shop building is at the very heart of the Nevada Northern Railway's East Ely Yards. Without the immediate seismic and structural retrofit of the building, it could be lost, at the price of living history to future generations.

The Engine House and Machine Shop building was originally constructed in 1908, altered again in 1917 and again after 1941. However, while alterations were made to the interior, nothing was done to the building's more critical 1908 masonry exterior walls. They still exist in their original unreinforced form and, consistent with construction of that day, the roof was not attached in any manner. Without retrofit, the structure will virtually certainly be lost in the near future to characteristic local seismic activity or high winds, taking with it the machinery inside and the historic Nevada Northern Railway Collection. Since the building is used for the restoration and storage of unique historic railroad equipment and is open to the public as a museum, the structures must be retrofit immediately to achieve compliance with the Uniform Code for Building Conservation (UCBC). Without a complete load resisting system in place, the building cannot be considered safe to occupy or house irreplaceable historic objects, as substantial seismic activity or high winds could cause immediate and catastrophic collapse.

   

With the proper reinforcement, without altering the exterior of the Engine House and Machine Shop building, the 1908 Engine House and Machine Shop Building will be properly retrofit and should be structurally sound for years to come. In addition to attaching the roof, reinforcing the walls and linking the project elements into the foundation, the threat of damage due to future seismic activity is greatly diminished, therefore the threat of losing the building, and the historic railroad collection stored there is eliminated.

The engine house and machine shop building is used to store and maintain the historic Nevada Northern Railway collection. Various pieces of the collection are the last remaining examples of their type in the world. In addition to storage the complex is still used to maintain the collection. Heavy repairs to Locomotive 93 were accomplished in the machine shop to bring the locomotive up to Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) requirements in 2001.

In addition to providing maintenance and storage space, the machine shop and engine house building is also included in walking tours for the general public to showcase the historic collection.

Cracking on the north wall is just one of the signs that work needs to be completed on the structure for stabilization.

   

Over the past three weeks, I've tried to showcase the three critical projects facing the museum. The McGill Depot, Locomotive 40 and Engine House and Machine Shop Building are vital to the survival of the museum. The McGill Depot will provide a destination to the northbound runs. Locomotive 40 will help increase our ridership and hence our revenues for the museum. And the Engine House and Machine Shop building provides a place to maintain the collection and restore it. These are just the major projects, along with the big three; we have countless smaller ones that need to be addressed. You're welcome to join us.

 

 


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