Nevada Northern & Railroads of White Pine County

 

NNRy Passenger Service

Brief History of Nevada Northern’s Passenger Service

 


Used with permission

 

Passenger service on the Nevada Northern Railway spanned a period of 35 years from 1906 to 1941. Over that time, in excess of 4.6 million passengers rode the Great Basin desert rails.

The first passenger train operated on 22 May 1906. A special run for Mark Requa and his guests was made over the 63 miles from Cobre to Currie, while the remaining line south of Currie was still under construction.

Regular tri-weekly passenger service was established on 02 June 1906 between Cobre and Currie. The first mixed train to Cherry Creek was on 07 July 1906.

The railroad reached Ely on Saturday, 29 September 1906. After a weekend celebrating "Railroad Day", regular train service between Cobre and Ely was inaugurated on the following Monday, 01 October 1906.

Two regularly scheduled trains operated daily between Ely and Cobre; #3 was the scheduled northbound run to Cobre and #4 the return southbound train. Normally engines No. 10 and No. 40 alternated on the daily passenger trains. Engine No. 11 was used as a "spare", but over a five-year period all three engines accrued about the same mileage.

     

Nevada Northern Railway engine No. 40 and passenger train at East Ely, Nevada, 12 July 1939. Engineer Roy Noble is in the cab; fireman Jumbo Labate is on the ground next to the baggage car.

Ted Wurm photograph
Steve Swanson collection

Used with permission

     

Both engines No. 10 and No. 40 had the engineers’ name under the cab number on the right side. Hence, you may sometimes see ten-wheeler No. 40 called the "R.O. Noble". Roy O. Noble was an employee of the Nevada Northern from the beginning, chairman of the local engineers union, and also ran the last regularly scheduled passenger train on 31 July 1941 along with Bill Young another NNRy "lifer".

Pullman service began in 1907. It operated daily at Cobre via the Southern Pacific to Ogden, UT and from there via the D&RG to Salt Lake City. Daily service also operated at Shafter via the Western Pacific to Salt Lake City. For westbound passengers, twice-weekly Pullman service operated from Cobre to Oakland, CA via the Southern Pacific.

Local service comprised a major portion of the regularly scheduled trains dispatched through East Ely at least into the 1930s.

  • "School Trains" ran between Ruth & Ely and between McGill & Ely transporting students attending White Pine High School in Ely that was opened in 1914.
  • "Shift Trains" transported miners and other employees between Ely, Ruth and McGill.
  • "Ping Pong Trains" were the interurban commuter shuttle that operated over the 1.3 miles between Ely and East Ely. This service was discontinued in September 1931.
A timetable from 1909 shows 44 regularly scheduled trains, many of them the "Ping Pong" interurbans between Ely and East Ely. In 1917, 24 daily passenger trains were dispatched through East Ely. As late as 1931, the 2 scheduled daily runs between Ely and Cobre were supplemented with 10 trains between Ely—East Ely—McGill Jct.—McGill and 2 additional trains on the mines branch East Ely—Ruth—Kimberly.

All Pullman service was discontinued on 13 November 1920. With the increasing popularity of the internal combustion engine for personal transportation, the "Ping Pong" train was discontinued in September 1931. In 1939, buses replaced the "School Trains" that had been transporting students for 25 years.

Regularly scheduled passenger trains and RPO service between Cobre and Ely were discontinued after 31 July 1941. The pride of the line, Baldwin ten-wheeler No. 40, was assigned to the last regularly scheduled passenger run just as it had handled trains #3 and #4 in regular service since 1910.

   

Last Passenger Train between Ely and Cobre
31 July 1941

 

William Padden
Conductor
William Young
Engineer
Phil Bennett
Brakeman
Loretto B. Labate
Fireman
Val Walker
Mail Clerk
N.W. Fay
Last round-trip passenger ticket

   

The table below is a compilation of the number of passenger cars owned and operated by the Nevada Northern over the period of 54 years from 1915—1968 as reported in the Official Railway Equipment Register.

 

Car Type

 Apr
1915

 Jan
1918
 Jan
1928
 Jul
1933
 Jan
1943
 Jan
1953
 Jul
1958
 Oct
1963
 Jan
1968
Parlor
2
2
1
1
0
0
0
0
0
Coach 1st class
5
7
7
7
3
1
1
1
1
Coach 2nd class
1
2
0
0
0
0
Official
2
2
2
2
2
0
0
0
0
Combine
3
4
4
3
2
1
1
0
0
Baggage/Mail
2
2
2
2
1
1
1
1
1
Total
15
19
16
15
8
3
3
2
2


 

 

 

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Last modified 18 March, 2002 by Keith Albrandt