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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

 


Steam & Cinders 2005
03 December 2004

 

These are exciting times at the Museum; we have a multitude of projects underway with more waiting in the wings. During the past summer, our operating schedule was six days a week with four of those days being steam. Next year, the schedule calls for seven days a week operation with daily steam operations in July and August. Your Museum is working hard to accomplish its mission: "The Nevada Northern Railway Museum is dedicated to the restoration, preservation, interpretation and operation of the Nevada Northern Railway historic facilities, yards, and rail collection. This evolving museum gives people the opportunity to experience a world class historic working railroad."

To accomplish this mission, your museum has implemented and accomplished a wide-ranging set of critical projects. These projects are core to accomplishing the mission of the Museum. The costs of these projects range from just a few hundred dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars each. These projects stabilized our Museum and allow for its continued growth. Recent completed projects include:

1. First Class Coach 5, a rare 122 year-old car, is out of the shops and is back in service for the first time in nine years.

2. Baggage/Railway Post Office Car 20 has had its inside washed, scrapped and painted. The diesel generator was removed last summer. It now looks like a completely different car.

3. Restored three of the boxcars to operating condition; these cars are a critical part of our photo freight trains.

4. Continuing the restoration of our engine house and machine shop complex. Previous grants covered windows repairs and restoring the doors to operation. New grants will pay for building stabilization and upgrades to essential utilities and a heating system.

5. Completed emergency stabilization of the McGill depot.

6. Wrote a $497,076.00 grant to restore the track from Adverse to McGill.

7. The Chief Engineer's building received a new roof and will under go renovation as volunteer quarters.

8. Repaired all of the windows in the RIP building.

9. Kept diesel locomotives 105,109, 204, and 310 in operation and kept steam locomotive 93 steaming.

10. Worked to prepare our entire complex for our rapidly approaching Centennial Celebration (2005-2006), including a complete cleaning of the grounds, painting of structures, development of walking trails, and seeking National Landmark Status for the complex.


In addition to accomplishing the above projects, we carried over 11,000 passengers as well as another 15,000 visitors who came by this year. And we still have seven Polar Express Trains to go. By the end of the year, over five hundred trains will have been dispatched from East Ely. Thousands of hours of work and thousands of dollars have been invested in the museum this past year.

Our schedule for 2005 is a seven days a week during the summer with steam operating daily in July and August. The Nevada Northern has not witnessed this much steam operation in over sixty years!

Why the aggressive schedule? The more trains we operate, the more passengers we carry; the more passengers, the more revenue generated from ticket sales, gift shop sales, and locomotive rentals. This year our revenue is up 62% over last year, which is invested right back into the facility. But we are behind the eight ball.

The two biggest challenges that the museum faces as we approach our Centennial is to get locomotive 40 back in service and to get the ashpit back in service. For the museum to continue to prosper it needs locomotive 40 in service and the ashpit reconstructed! I invite you to participate in Steam and Cinders 2005, our fund raising program whose goal is to do just that.


Locomotive 40 with her tubes removed. (Gordon Osmundson photo)

The museum is caught is in a classic squeeze play. The money raised this year was spent to overcome the worst problems facing the museum. We have overcome the challenges of the past year, but we don't have the financial resources to position ourselves for the banner year we need as we approach our Centennial. To get out from behind the eight ball, I am appealing to the friends of the museum to make a contribution to Steam and Cinders 2005 so that locomotive 40 can steam in 2005 and have a place to dump the ashes. The combine cost of these two projects is $80,000. The museum has already raised $33,000 towards these projects.

The aggressive schedule in 2005 can only be accomplished by having two steam locomotives available. The shop crew has worked hard in getting locomotive 40 ready to go back into steam. We are past the halfway mark and are heading for the home stretch. Your contribution will put the fire back in the firebox and put locomotive 40 back in service for another fifteen years.

 

Our current method of handling the ashes leaves a lot to be desired. We dump the ashes on the ground in front of the enginehouse and then remove them from between the rails with the backhoe. To say this is a dreadful method is an understatement.

The ashes are dropped hot on the creosoted ties, which cause the ties to burn and weaken. Then the ashes are removed with the bucket of the backhoe, which can cause the track to go wide gauge. And finally, do you really want smoldering ties that could burst into flames directly in front of the building where most of the historic collection is stored? Not to mention the fact the ashes between the rails caused the 93 to derail in front of the enginehouse during a photo shoot last year.

With steam locomotives operating daily for eight straight weeks our current method of handling ash will literally bury us. We have the original 1908 ashpit plans that were drawn right here in Ely. The design is rather simple: I-beams, cross braces, a walkway and that's about it. Having the ashpit back in service will solve our ash handling problems.

The winning combination of having two operating steam locomotives being able to dispose of their ashes in a historically correct and safe manner is the start in preparing for our Centennial Celebration. Your generous donation will make this a reality; I encourage you to send in your donation today.

These two projects have one thing in common: they need funding AND they are critical to the core mission of the Museum. The Museum staff is working diligently in writing grants to fund these necessary projects, but grants take time and the outcome is not always certain. Unfortunately, the Museum is running out of time as we approach the Centennial. The museum needs your financial support and the need is critical.

You can help in a number of ways and save money on your taxes at the same time…

Detail from the original 1908 plans.
(NNRy Museum collection)

Membership - If you are not already a member of the Nevada Northern Railway Museum, become one today! Membership levels start at just $15 a year. If you are already a member become a sustaining member; these are individuals that support the museum at a higher amount than the basic membership fee. Sustaining memberships can be for whatever amount you choose and can be charged to your credit card monthly or quarterly, at your choosing. A lifetime membership can be charged at just $83.33 per month for twelve months; at the end of the year you would be a lifetime member of the Museum. This type of dependable giving allows the Museum to budget and plan much more easily for its many projects.

Buy a Brick in Preservation Plaza - Already a member? Purchase a brick in Preservation Plaza to assist in the restoration of the Nevada Northern Railway National Historic District. The Museum is offering the public an opportunity to purchase and personalize Memorial Bricks that will have a permanent place in the National Historic District. A professional certificate of participation, suitable for framing, is provided with each brick purchased. Help save our national treasure-buy a brick today.

Gifts of Stock - Donations of stocks, bonds, or appreciated securities are an efficient and smart way to contribute. You take a charitable gift deduction of the full, fair market value of the stock based on the date of transfer and, in doing so, you avoid paying the capital gains on the appreciated value. (However, if you lost value on a stock, it is better to sell it first and then donate the proceeds from the sale.)

 

Inside the firebox of locomotive 40, the metal sheet with all of the holes is the rear flue sheet. The entire inside of the locomotive has been cleaned and inspected. The next step is to install the flue tubes and put the locomotive back together. Your donation will assist in putting locomotive 40 back in service.

Bequests - Your planned giving or bequest will provide continuing income to the Nevada Northern Railway Museum and provides a way for you to be remembered in perpetuity. Please remember to let us know if you have remembered the Museum in your will.

Other Gifts - Other generous gifts, such as homes, land, automobiles, antiques, and collectables are especially appreciated. Often people have land or automobiles that they no longer need or use; these make great donations. You to determine the fair market value of the item that you donate and, with your receipt from us, deduct it from your taxes.

Cash Donation - All cash donations of any size are gratefully accepted. Your check, made payable to the "Nevada Northern Railway Museum," is a fast, simple, and convenient method to support the Museum…and it's fully tax-deductible. The Museum and all its associated equipment and facilities are a designated National Historic Site.

Always consult with your accountant or CPA to find out what's best for you, but please give from the heart. The Nevada Northern Railway turns 99 years old this coming year. Your generous assistance will help insure that we will steam into our second century fulfilling the museum's mission.

 

 

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email: info@nnry.com

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All Rights Reserved - Page Last Updated 09 December 2004
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