RAILDATE 2023.10.27

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The Weekly Poser: Where is this?

This town has no rail service today but formerly had two competing lines, as shown in this 1950s OS map. Where is it?

Last week's Where is this?

This railroad museum has a fleet of diesels from the 1950s and three steam locos, all of which supported a now-closed copper mine. Where is it?

Answer: Nevada Northern Railway Museum, Ely, NV. Congratulations are due to the following for their correct answers: Bob Joshua, Dave Goodyear, Peter Tisdale, Paul Hopper, Richard Maund.

The twin towns of Ely and McGill (14 miles away) are in lonely country. Ely was a major copper mine beteen 1906 and 1983 and McGill, with its flat land and better water supply, was where the smelter was located. A network of lines in the area was connected by a 140-mile link to the Western Pacific RR at Shafter and, to hedge their bets, to the Southern Pacific RR as well (at Cobre).

Kennecott Copper Corporation used a mixture of traction, having found that one steam loco did the work of two diesels. It appears that electric was used at the smelter (see newspaper clipping from 1993 as the smelter was being cleared. Prime mover loco 109 was also photographed on my visit, in the shops).

Included is a timetable from Timetable World for the whole route when it was at its peak in 1925.

The 140-mile link is now out of use but the tracks are in situ. The museum operates one steam or diesel train most days over a curious route towards the mines. They start early so be in town. Trains reverse out of East Ely station to take the line avoiding the town, and afterwards offload passengers directly at the sheds for the guided tour, not at the station.

NVRR museum website

Inside the workshops

Diesel used for preparing the service · Footplate experiences by Garnet Hill (yes, you can pick up the semi-precious stones)


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©  Matthew Shaw 2023