A Western Regional Railroad - 1930's - 1940's
Nevada Northern Railway

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The Nevada Northern Railway (NN) was a short line railway in the state of Nevada built primarily to provide rail access to a major copper producing area in White Pine County, Nevada. The railway, constructed in 1905-06, extended northward approximately 140 miles from Ely to a connection with the Southern Pacific Railroad at Cobre. The Nevada Northern owes its beginnings to the discovery and development of large porphyry copper deposits near Ely in the first years of the twentieth century. A subsidiary of Nevada Consolidated, the primary purpose of the Nevada Northern throughout its history was the haulage of copper ores and products. Other freight traffic was also carried, however, and the railroad operated a daily passenger train between East Ely and Cobre until 1941. Local trains were also operated from Ely to Ruth and McGill for the benefit of mine employees and others until the 1930s, and special school trains carried students to White Pine High School in central Ely.
Short History of the Nevada Northern Railway
1902 -Two of the Ely, Nevada region's largest mines were purchased by Mark Requa, president of the Eureka and Palisade Railroad in central Nevada. Requa then organized the White Pine Copper Company to develop his new properties and it soon became evident that rail access to the isolated region would be essential to fully exploit the potential of the mines
c 1902 - Surveys indicate best route is north from Ely to connect with the Southern Pacific near Wells, Nevada.
1904 - The Ely-area copper properties were further merged forming the Nevada Consolidated Copper Company.
1905 - The Nevada Northern Railway was incorporated on June 1, 1905 to build a line connecting the Nevada Consolidated mines and smelter to the national rail network.
1905 - On September 11 the Utah Construction Company began work at Cobre, where the Nevada Northern connected with the Southern Pacific, and proceeded southward,
1906 - NN completed to Ely and big celebrations are held on September 29. Included is the driving of the copper last spike by Mr. Requa.
1907-08 - Additional Ely-area trackage was constructed to serve the local mining industry. This trackage, known as the "Ore Line," included a route bypassing Ely to the north and continuing west up Robinson Canyon to the copper mines at Ruth. East of Ely, the Ore Line project saw the construction of the "Highline," a branch leading to Nevada Consolidated's new copper smelter and concentrator at McGill. The Ore Line immediately became the busiest segment of the Nevada Northern by far, hosting dozens of loaded and empty ore trains daily.
1906-1941 - As a subsidiary of Nevada Consolidated, the Nevada Northern's primary haulage was copper ores and products. Other freight traffic was also carried. A daily passenger train between East Ely and Cobre operated until 1941. Local trains were also operated from Ely to Ruth and McGill for the benefit of mine employees and others until the 1930s, and special school trains carried students to White Pine High School in central Ely.
1920's-30's - NN comes under control of Kennecott Copper Corporation.
1942 - Nevada Consolidated was formally merged into Kennecott. The Nevada Northern thus became a Kennecott subsidiary.

Nevada Nortthern
Nevada Northern
October 29, 1967

Nevada Nortthern map
Nevada Northern - 1930
1978 - Ruth area mines closed due to reduced copper prices and dwindling copper resources, shutting down trains to the McGill smelter.
1983 - McGill smelter closes on June 20, and NN suspends operations.
1983-87 - The remainder of the Nevada Northern has largely been moribund.
1986 - In a series of donations beginning in 1986, Kennecott transferred the entire Ore Line, as well as the railroad's yard and shop facilities in East Ely, to the White Pine Historical Railroad Foundation, a non-profit organization which today operates the property as the Nevada Northern Railway Museum which operates a heritage railroad on this part of the former NN. Passenger excursion train service is offered between Ely, Ruth, and McGill using period equipment pulled by historic steam and diesel locomotives.
1987 - The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power purchased the Cobre-East Ely line, in anticipation of the construction of a coal-fired generating plant along the route; the plant was never constructed.
1996 - The Broken Hill Proprietary Company (BHP) constructed additional trackage near Ruth, and the resumption of service from there as far as Shafter, on the "Nevada Railroad"to interchange with the Western Pacific.
1999 - BHP shut down again.
2004 - Concentrates were hauled by truck rather than by rail.
2006 - The disused line between Ely and Cobre was acquired by the city of Ely in 2006. Recent plans by Sierra Pacific Resources for the construction of the "Ely Energy Center", a 2,500 megawatt coal-fired generating plant in the Ely vicinity are raising the possibility that the railroad may see yet another revival, this time carrying inbound loads of coal to White Pine County.
2006 - In April 2006, Nevada's National Historic Landmarks Committee granted unanimous support to nominating the Nevada Northern East Ely shops complex as a National Historic Landmark. The nomination was approved by the National Park Service on September 27, 2006.

Nevada Northern
Nevada Northern - February 4, 1931

Our Sources
Private Collection of Richard R. Parks(rp)
Wikipedia the free Encyclopedia [web](wik)
Official Guide- April 1940

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Web Page Written and Maintained by Richard Parks
Copyright Richard Parks, April 30, 2009, revised Sept. 8, 2011