Nevada Northern & Railroads of White Pine County
   

 

Salt Lake City 2002 XIX Olympic Winter Games
Steam Team

 

 

Olympic Railroading A Success
For 18 days antique steam locomotives filled the Heber Valley with plumes of steam as trains carried excited passengers to the Olympic events taking place at Soldier Hollow. Steam whistles echoed across farmlands as the historic engines made their way from the Heber depot to the station platform near Soldier Hollow. During the 20 minute excursion a continental breakfast was served aboard the train. At the Soldier Hollow station passengers boarded horse drawn sleighs for the final 10 minute ride to the entrance of Cross Country, Biathlon and Nordic Combined skiing events.

Triple-Headed Steam Action

Heber Valley Railroad UP No. 618, Nevada Northern No. 93 & Great Western No. 75 in action with the Olympic Torch Relay on 07 Feb 2002 between Soldier Hollow and Heber, Utah.

Beverly Cornutt / Nevada Northern Railway Museum; used with permission..

The Heber Valley Railroad was an integral part of the transportation plan for Soldier Hollow, carrying thousands of smiling visitors to one of the most popular events of the Olympic Games.

The celebration began February 7th when the train carried the Olympic Flame from Soldier Hollow to Heber City where, after a brief ceremony, continued it journey into Salt Lake City for the opening ceremony the following day.

"We've had great success," said Craig Lacey, Executive Director for the Heber Valley Railroad. "We put together our 2002 Winter Steam Team and they have done a great job. Our operation has gone very smoothly."

Over the 18 days of train operation trains carried over 6,000 visitors to the Soldier Hollow venue. The three steam engines used for the Olympics consumed 135 tons of coal and converted 270,000 gallons of water into steam. The trains traveled a total of over 1,500 miles between Heber City and Soldier Hollow and nearly 2000 total hours were spent by crew members in train operations.

The combined effort between the Heber Valley Railroad and the Nevada Northern Railway (NNRy) from Ely, Nevada represents the first time in tourist railroad history that a project of this magnitude has ever been accomplished. "This sets a new standard for the tourist industry," said John Rimmasch, Chief Mechanical Office for the Heber Valley Railroad. "We did what has never been done before in the history of the Olympics or the tourist railroad industry, carried over 6,000 passengers to the Olympic Winter games by steam train."

Lance Hunt, Chief Mechanical Office for the NNRy echoed the same sentiment. "We spent months preparing for this event. The two railroads have worked very closely together to make this happen. We're really proud of what we've accomplished. This has been a great team effort."

The Nevada Northern Railway brought their steam engine #93, along with two passenger cars, from Ely, Nevada to Heber City to help with the transportation needs of Soldier Hollow. "We far exceeded our expectations," said Scott Lindsay, Interim Director for the NNRy. "I think this project was a huge success for both railroads. The fire within is going to burn in all of us for a long time."

Engine #93 and the two coaches will begin their journey back to Ely, Nevada mid March aboard heavy haul trucks.

— Heber Valley Railroad Press Release

     

 

Nevada Departure    

Nevada Northern 2-8-0 No. 93 (above, left & middle), its tender (above right) and passenger coach 07 Ely (left) are prepared at East Ely, NV for their truck caravan to Heber City, UT and the 2002 Olympic Games. Photographed 22 Jan 2002.

Beverly Cornutt / Nevada Northern Ry Museum; used with permission..

 

 

 

 

Utah Arrival

 

Ken McConnell / Heber Valley Railroad; used with permission.

Matt Smith / Provo Daily Herald;
used with permission.

Project manager Chris Johnson (left) directs workers as they unload Nevada Northern's steam locomotive No. 93 at Vivian Park in Provo Canyon on Thursday 24 Jan 2002. The engine joined two Heber Valley Railroad steamers to help in the transportation needs of the 2002 Winter Games at Soldier Hollow.

Matt Smith / Provo Daily Herald;
used with permission.

     

 

     


Olympic Torch Relay Steam Triple-Header

07 February 2002

 
Beverly Cornutt / Nevada Northern Ry Museum; used with permission..

The Heber Creeper puffs out loads of steam as it carries the Olympic torch into Heber City Thursday, 07 Feb 2002.

Rick Egan / The Salt Lake Tribune; used with permission.

The Olympic flame is carried to the Heber City depot on the Steam Team's flat car on 07 Feb 2002. Only slightly less flashy than the Union Pacific Railroad's specially designed Olympic Flame Cauldron Car.

Beverly Cornutt / Nevada Northern Ry Museum; used with permission..

The Heber Creeper carries the Olympic flame into Heber City Thursday, 07 Feb 2002.

Rick Egan / The Salt Lake Tribune; used with permission.

Onlookers at the entrance to Soldier Hollow celebrate the passing of the 2002 Winter Olympic Torch Thursday, 07 Feb 2002 as it makes its way from the Deer Creek Depot to the depot in Heber City, Utah.

Leah Hogsten / The Salt Lake Tribune; used with permission.

     
     

 

1st Day of Competition
   

Left: Nevada Northern 2-8-0 No. 93 returns to Heber with the first load of passengers from Soldier Hollow after the initial day of competition on 09 Feb 2002.

Above left:    Interior of Nevada Northern coach 07 Ely.
Above right: Interior of Nevada Northern coach 08 Nevada.

Beverly Cornutt / Nevada Northern Ry Museum; used with permission.

     

 

 

NBC Filming

 

Heber Valley's UP No. 618 and NN No. 93 were double-headed to videotape a segment for later airing on the NBC "Today" Show.

Ken McConnell / Heber Valley Railroad; used with permission.

 

 

Heber City
Station

Beverly Cornutt / Nevada Northern Ry Museum; used with permission.
 

 

 

Volunteers
   

NN Engineer Tony Bond from Las Vegas, NV waits at Charleston Siding on February 19th. After dropping passengers at the Soldiers Hollow station, the train was pulled forward into the siding. This location was very close to the bus route for the shuttle buses to Soldiers Hollow (there was no parking for spectators at Soldiers Hollow) and thus the train was poised to attract as much attention from bus passengers as possible. There seemed to always be people stopping by with cameras to take pictures, and more than once on this day, a shuttle bus was stopped, while passengers hopped off to photograph the train.

John A. Stewart photograph; used with permission.

Canadian volunteer John Stewart, designated fireman for the day on #93, waits at Charleston Siding on February 19th. All passengers have been dropped off at the Soldiers Hollow platform, and the train pulled forward to the siding to leave the main line clear.

John A. Stewart photograph; used with permission.

NN Engineer Tony Bond waits at Charleston Siding. HVRR Dispatcher Mike Lewis walks forward from throwing the switch at the Soldiers Hollow end of the siding. 19 February 2002.

The steam locomotive is coupled to the rear of the train, and backs from Heber City to Soldiers Hollow. The train is then pushed forward to Charleston Siding, where the locomotive is run around the train and coupled onto the head end. After the venue, the train is backed to the Soldiers Hollow platform, and passengers loaded.

John A. Stewart photograph; used with permission.

 

 

 

Olympics Week Two
 

22 Feb 2002


22 Feb 2002

21 Feb 2002

Ridership was increasing every day, and then exploded after NBC's "Today" Show aired the segment about the steam trains on Fri 15 Feb 2002. Tickets began selling out and there was "24/7 steam on all three engines". The pace of operations quickened with two trains operating on tight schedules over the few miles of track between Soldier Hollow and Heber.

All photos Beverly Cornutt / Nevada Northern Ry Museum except as noted;
used with permission.

18 Feb 2002


Ken McConnell / Heber Valley Railroad; used with permission.

22 Feb 2002

 

 

 
     

22 Feb 2002. All three locomotives at Heber while Olympic competition at the Soldiers Hollow venue is underway. No. 618 was the light engine for the day; No. 75 and No. 93 returned from Charleston Siding just for this photo shoot.

John A. Stewart photograph; used with permission.

Heber Valley Railroad chief mechanical officer John Rimmasch alligns the switch for the station platforms. 22 Feb 2002; first movements in the morning.

John A. Stewart photograph; used with permission.

     

 

Finale
 
On Saturday, 23 Feb 2002, a photo run was held with all three engines and the entire complement of rolling stock.
Heber Valley Railroad No. 618 is on the point, Nevada Northern Railway No. 93 is cut in mid-train, and Heber Valley No. 75 is the rear pusher.
 

Top, HVRR No. 618.
Middle two, NN No. 93.
Bottom, HVRR No. 75.

 



 

All photos Beverly Cornutt / Nevada Northern Ry Museum; used with permission.

 

 

Reno Gazette-Journal
Tim Dunn Photo Special
 

With the temperature hovering around zero, the Nevada Northern Railway Museum's Engine 93 makes its way across the Heber Valley with a cargo of Olympic spectators bound for Soldier Hollow, site of cross country, biathlon and nordic combined events.

Photo by Tim Dunn / Reno Gazette-Journal; used with permission.

Lou Bergandi, of Minden, is a volunteer on the 93, making the trip to Ely about five times a year. Here, he takes a break from shoveling coal in the cab.

Photo by Tim Dunn / Reno Gazette-Journal; used with permission.

On a frozen Olympic morning, John Rimmasch, chief mechanical officer for the Heber Valley Railroad, left, and Lance Hunt, chief mechanical officer for the Nevada Northern Railway, struggle to free a frozen switch on the railway to Soldier Hollow, which is the Olympic venue for the biathlon and cross country and Nordic combined events. Soldier Hollow is located about 30 miles southeast of Park City, Utah, on the east side of the Wasatch Mountains.

Photo by Tim Dunn / Reno Gazette-Journal; used with permission.

     

 

 

 

Last modified 17 March, 2002 by Keith Albrandt