Alaska 2007 travel blog

All Aboard!!--Tim at the NNRR

This Is Nevada!--A Poster in the Train

Engine with the Copper Mine Ahead

Honeymoon Cabin--???

Hotel Nevada--Tallest Building in Nevada in 1929

Looking North from the Train Ride

Engine 93 in for Repairs--See the Drive Wheel Set That Has Been...

Engine 40 in the Storage Building

Bob Describing the Snowplow to Susan and the Tour Group

Ward Charcoal Ovens

Another View of the Charcoal Ovens

See the Forest Fire on the Horizon

This was our tour day so we decided to take the Northern Nevada Railroad train ride to Ruth, Nevada that is about 15 miles west of Ely. The railroad was built in the early 1900's to support the local gold, silver and copper mines and was very busy in those days. Up to 55 trains a day were coming through Ely with ore, freight and passengers. FED EX did not exist in those days. The Northern Nevada Railroad is currently the largest non-profit tourist train in the USA. In fact, you can drive one of the diesel or steam engines for about $650 on the mainline--an engineer and brakeman ride along with you but you have the throttle. The trip was alot of fun and we got some really great information and views along the way. The copper mine is still in operation today by a Canadian company but the ore is shipped by truck.

After the train ride, we toured the actual machine shops and train storage buildings with Bob our really great tour guide. After the tour we asked Bob if he worked for the railroad because he knew so much information. He is a retired medical supplies salesman but he really knows his railroad lore. The Northern Nevada Railroad has 17 full time employees who operate the machine tools and keep big things working but the railroad also has alot of volunteers. The railroad operates most of the year.

At the snowplow, Bob told us that the only other snowplows are in Skagway, Alaska and Chama, New Mexico. Susan and I saw the Skagway snowplow about 7 weeks ago and we rode the Chama and Toltec Railroad a few years ago. We must be railroad nuts!

After that start, we had a light lunch and headed out to the Ward Charcoal Ovens. These ovens were built in 1870 to support the mining industry. Charcoal was used to process the ore prior to the use of coal. Most of the trees were cut down in an area up to 35 miles away to support the charcoal operation. Each oven was filled with 30 cords of wood and burned for 13 days to make about 1 ton of charcoal. We spotted a forest fire further down the valley and know the next few days will be tough because the winds are going to get up to 35 mph.

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