Nevada Northern Railway
National Historic Landmark        Ely, NV

Nevada Northern Featured on American Restoration

As seen on the History Channel's American Restoration show featuring Rick Dale

Strongbox - before.  Strong, but in poor shape
Strongbox restoration, in progress.
The finished strongbox.  It looks as good as new!
Home, at last.....From the baggage car to the REA truck
Original vacuum cleaner used on the coaches.
Vacuum and Rick
Restoration Completed, and complements to Rick for a job well done
Even the nameplate was carefully restored
Every girl's dream - patiently waiting for her new vacumm cleaner to be assembled!
Rick, himself, getting to ride the Velocipede he restored

Fast Facts

WHAT: Nevada Northern Railway has had several items restored by Rick and his crew at Rick's Restorations in Las Vegas, NV

WHEN:  American Restoration episodes have been aired on the History Channel since 2011.   Stay tuned for more episodes in the future.

HOW:  The Nevada Northern Railway membership and donors have raised funds to have items of historical importance restored.  You can join us on the next project.

How the relationship with History Channel's American Restoration came to be as told by Mark Bassett, Executive Director of the Railroad:

The Nevada Northern Railway's relationship with the  American Restoration T.V. show happened as a fluke.  It was serendipitous.  The stars were aligned.

It all began with the strongbox.  Before FED EX, there was the Railway Express Agency (REA). If you needed something shipped you used Railway Express.  To transport valuables a strongbox was used.   Several years ago the railroad repainted Baggage/Railway Post Office Car 20 back to its 1930s paint scheme.  One of our members owns a 1929 Ford Model AA Railway Express Truck that is used by the museum on occasion.  As part of our interpretation the same member purchased an old strongbox and paid to have it restored by Rick and his crew.  This was the start of our experience with American Restoration.

We’ve been fortunate to have been featured on six episodes of Rick Dale's American Restoration TV show.  The episodes are:

  1. "Knockout" featuring the Strongbox
  2. "Suck Up" featuring the Vacuum Cleaner
  3. "Tractors and Trucks" featuring the Air Brake Tester
  4. "Kyle’s Promotion" featuring the Cement Gun
  5. "Train Trouble"  featuring a Fairmont Speeder.
  6. "Mixed Signals"  featuring the original wig-wag crossing signal

It has been very exciting to be on TV. But doing the episodes is very expensive. Those numbers that you see Rick give me are real (after all this is reality television.)  So why bother? Fair question.

First, without being on the American Restoration show, the items featured would never have been restored. Staff and volunteers are stretched very thin just keeping our two steam locomotives and diesel locomotives in operation; along with the passenger and freight cars, the buildings and the track. In addition to keeping everything running, they also staff the excursion trains. I tell people we’re stretched so thin we’re almost transparent.

The items that were done by Rick Dale and his crew are people sized. In 2008, we rebuilt the running gear of locomotive 93. Locomotive 93 is intimating, it doesn’t matter whether you’re a child or an adult, when she’s hot, she is intimidating and overwhelming. The projects that Rick and his crew have accomplished are at a size that people can quite literally get their arms around.

I’ve been in promotion and marketing for 30 years and nothing in my previous experience has prepared me for the consequence of being on TV. First off, it has generated lots of excitement. There is the initial airing of the episodes. Then there are the follow up e-mails and phone calls. And then there are the visitors. Not a day goes by when one of our visitors says, ‘I’m here because I saw the museum on TV.’

This past summer, I met two family groups who came to the museum because of American Restoration. In each case, the catalyst was their young sons who saw us on TV. One was from California and the other from Washington DC. They made the trip to Ely because of the TV show.

Nevada Northern Restoration Projects