The Railway & Locomotive Historical Society held its 2014 annual convention in Ely, Nevada, during the later half of the first week of June. After an informative bus ride from Las Vegas, which I described in a previous post, the group of over fifty members were treated to a welcome dinner in the Freight House of the Nevada Northern Railway by its Executive Director, Mark Bassett. The NNR is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The railroad has been in operation since its founding in 1906 in East Ely, Nevada. The NNR has a wonderful website: http://www.nnry.com/.
One of the highlights was a photo-opportunity ride on the Steptoe Flyer. The society members rode in an original first-class 1882 passenger car and a 1906 baggage/railway US Post Office car, pulled by NNR’s 4-6-0, 1910 Baldwin steam locomotive #40. The engine and the cars are shown here at a railroad crossing where they were captured on still and video cameras by the R&LHS convention goers.
Accompanying the Steptoe Flyer, NNR’s 2-8-0, 1909 Alco Pittsburgh steam locomotive #93, pulled a 100-ton steam wrecking crane. On the return trip from the copper mine at Ruby, both trains were driven through a tunnel on repeated occasions, providing R&LHS’s railroad aficionados almost unlimited photo opportunities when the two locomotives emerged from the tunnel entrance.
The society members also embarked upon an extensive walking tour of the NNR’s museum. You don’t look at things in display cases in this museum, you walk through the rail yard, visiting the actual maintenance facilities. You smell the coal smoke and crunch through cinders and grime, always keeping an eye out for approaching locomotives that might pass within a few feet of you. Safety, of course, was a paramount concern for NNR’s staff during the “museum” tour. That’s Mark Basset pointing out features in the Engine House.
One of the highlights for me was climbing into the cab of Engine #40. It was at the end of the day, and the outside temperature was quite warm. I gained an increased appreciation of what locomotive engineers and firemen experience working in the cramped cab of a coal-burning, steam locomotive. The heat from the firebox was almost overpowering.
Suffice it to say, I had a great time at the 2014 R&LHS annual convention. I learned a lot about the operation of a railroad. I met many fine people who share my enthusiasm for locomotives and railroads. I recommend you visit the Nevada Northern Railway.