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"At The Throttle"
by Mark Bassett, Executive Director

A weekly series of columns originally published in 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 Nevada Northern Railway Christmas
10 December 2008

 

If you are looking for a distinctive gift or a gift that is a once in a lifetime experience then look no further than the Nevada Northern Railway Gift Shop. Purchases from the gift shop support the preservation activities of the railroad and better yet, they are tax-free.

Gifts are available for every budget. For gifts under twenty dollars, you have several options. The first one and it is selling fast is the 2009 Nevada Northern Railway calendar. This beautiful, colorful calendar features photos of the railroad taken during our photo shoots. And as a bonus, you can start using it now because it includes December 2008.

For the coffee drinker on your list, we have a large array of coffee cups ranging from an elegant cup with the Safety First logo on it to cups that capture timeless images of the railroad. My favorite is the blue stoneware mug. I can just imagine myself in the caboose between East Ely and Cobre on a cold winter's day warming up with a cup of coffee from the coffeepot kept on the caboose stove.

The ultimate rail fan gift is a locomotive rental—your hand on the throttle.


Commemorating the Centennial of steam locomotive 93, we have a new ball cap that features the current number plate on locomotive 93. Available in either black or tan this classy cap celebrates the railroad's oldest steam locomotive.

Between thirty and fifty dollars, we have some truly unique gifts. For thirty dollars, the locomotive 93 Commemorative Coin is available in copper. It's a piece of history that you can hold in your hand. Struck in Carson City and featuring the world famous 'CC' mintmark, one side of the coin shows locomotive 93 under a full head of steam. On the reverse side is 93's number plate.

To stay warm on these cold winter days, you need the locomotive 93 hooded sweatshirt. The front of the sweatshirt features locomotive 93's number plate while the back has a full color image of locomotive 93 heading up the hill.

In addition to merchandise, the gift shop is also your source for train tickets. Why not surprise someone with a ticket on one of our specialty trains? You have a choice of the Chocolate Train, the Wine Train, the BBQ Train or the Rockin' and Rollin' geology train. The 2009 schedule is complete and you can get a gift certificate to put in their Christmas stocking.

At the one hundred dollar level, we offer some unique gifts. Do you know a person who has always wanted to ride in the cab of a locomotive? You can make their dream come true. The Nevada Northern Railway offers cab rides in both our diesel and steam locomotives. In the cab, you can watch the crew get the train over the road. Also available is the one ounce .999 fine silver locomotive 93 Commemorative Coin., again featuring locomotive 93 with the 'CC' mint mark.

If there is a rail fan on your list that you have never been able to find something truly special for we have the solution—a locomotive rental. The rentals start at $495 but they are a once in a lifetime opportunity. This is a chance to operate either a steam or a diesel locomotive out on the mainline. Before their trip, they receive an orientation package on the locomotive and the railroad. Once the person shows up at East Ely, they take a written safety test and then it's out to the locomotive. The instructor engineer takes the individual around the locomotive familiarizing them with the locomotive. Then it is up into the cab of the locomotive. Again, more time is spent on familiarizing the individual with the controls of the locomotive and how they work. Once this completed, the engineer moves the locomotive to the ready track demonstrating how the controls work.

Finally, the big moment arrives. You climb up into the engineer's seat. The instructor engineer once again reviews the controls. The person puts his hand on the throttle, releases the brakes, and then the instructor engineer gives the okay to pull out the throttle, just a little. Steam is released to the cylinders. Slowly, almost imperceptibly, the steam locomotive begins to move. Before you know it, you are heading down the mainline controlling 100-tons of iron horse.

Of course operating a steam locomotive is a bit dirty, so if you're looking for something a bit cleaner and more modern, you can also take the throttle of one our diesel locomotives. Or for the ultimate rail fan gift do a combination rental—both a steam locomotive and a diesel locomotive. Four hours out on the railroad with your hand on the throttle.

These are only the highlights of the different gifts that are available from the Nevada Northern Railway Gift Shop. Come on down and visit the gift shop. For our friends out of town, give us a call or go online. And remember every purchase from the gift shop is like giving yourself a small gift too because it's tax-free. And all purchases support the railroad. Merry Christmas!

 

 

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All Rights Reserved - Page Last Updated 10 December 2008
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