Nevada Northern Railway
National Historic Landmark      Ely, NV

Fast Facts

WHAT: Capital campaign to finish the restoration of Locomotive 81.

WHY: Locomotive 40 will be shopped soon for a major overhaul, and two steam locomotives are imperative to keep the program operating at sustainable levels.

GOAL: To have Locomotive 81 operational by May 2020


Sponsor a Part of the Restoration.

Make a donation in any amount.

Start/Renew your Membership

Phoenix Dare:

This phase of the capital campaign is to finish restoring Locomotive 81 to full service.  Why a Phoenix?  Every time we light a fire in a steam locomotive, we consume a portion of it.  A steam locomotive can die, but, just like a Phoenix, a steam locomotive can be reborn, to begin the cycle all over again!  That’s what the Phoenix Dare is all about, regenerating this 19th century railroad to face the challenges of the 21st century!

Phoenix Dare Checklist:

How have we done in the last two years of the Phoenix Dare Campaign?

  1. Rebuilding the diesel engine in Locomotive 109 and return it to service. Check, DONE!
  2. Completing the 1472-day overhaul, rebuild, and inspection on Locomotive 93, and return her to service. Check, DONE!

Now we’re onto our third and biggest project, the return of steam locomotive 81 to operation!

  1. Prepare 81 for a complete overhaul.  Check DONE!
  2. Open the boiler, remove all tubes, and inspect.  Check, DONE!
  3. Rebuild boiler to original specs.  IN PROCESS!
  4. Rebuild running gear.  IN PROCESS!
  5. Rebuild and reinstall all appliances and controls SCHEDULED!

Closing Through May 31st

Due to the Corona virus we will be closed to the public through May 31st.

We will continue working in our shops, including returning Locomotive 81 to service. Many of the restoration expenses will continue, so your memberships and donations are all the more important during these times.

Renew your Membership, or Become a Member?  Put that in the cart first,

Then you will be given the opportunity to also Contribute to the Phoenix Dare before finalizing your cart

You can also consider sponsoring a specific part for the restoration.

Locomotive 81 undergoing restoration

In the 1907 machine shop, the Phoenix magic has started, 81’s boiler has been stripped and the tubes are coming out. This photo, also illustrates our mission to train the next generation in the care and feeding of the iron horse.

Locomotive 81 undergoing restoration

Locomotive 81 back in the day.

Cover letter of original order for Locomotive 81

On August 22, 1916, this letter from our archives, started the process for ordering Locomotive 81. Seven months later, at a cost of $23,700, it would be delivered here.