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Nevada Northern & Railroads of White Pine County



Nevada Northern "Safety First, The Ely Route" logo

Safety First for The Ely Route.
The logo on the tender of NN 4-6-0 No. 40
February 1984

Copyright © 2000 David Sellers
Used with permission.



First mining claim staked in the Robinson district.



Ely designated as county seat of White Pine County.


Nov 17, 1904

Mark L. Requa establishes the White Pine Copper Company, the forerunner of the Nevada Consolidated Copper Company.


May 29, 1905

Nevada Northern Railway Company (NNRy) was incorporated.


Sep 9, 1905

Construction began at Cobre.


March 1906

The Guggenheim interests of New York obtained control of the Nevada Consolidated Copper Company (NCCCo) and with it the NNRy.


July 4, 1906

NNRy tracks reached Cherry Creek Station.


Sep 29, 1906

NNRy tracks reached Ely.


Oct 1, 1906

Branch line opened from McGill Junction to McGill.


Oct 1, 1906

Regularly scheduled passenger service between Cobre and Ely is inaugurated.


Aug 1, 1907

NNRy tracks reach the Veteran mine and Kimberly in the Keystone mining district.


Mar 15, 1908

Hiline branch completed betwenn Hiline Jct. and concentrator at McGill.


April 12, 1908

McGill smelter begins operation.


April 13, 1908

First ore train arrives at McGill from Copper Flat.


May 15, 1908

Mill at McGill goes into full production on a 24-hour basis.


Sep 1920

NCCCo assumes operation of the ore trains between Copper Flat and McGill from the NNRy.


Nov 13, 1920

All Pullman service discontinued.


June 12, 1933

Kennecott Copper Corporation (KCC) acquires full control of the Nevada Consolidated Copper Company and changes the name to Nevada Consolidated Copper Corporation.


Aug 1, 1941

Regular passenger service between Ely and Cobre discontinued.


Jan 1, 1943

Name changed to Kennecott Copper Corporation, Nevada Mines Division.


July 1948

Dieselization of ore trains begins and most KCC steam engines are retired.


Sep 1952

NNRy dieselizes with the purchase of EMD SD7 #401, replacing steamers #80 & #81 on the mainline.


Jan 31, 1958

KCC acquires the contiguous property of Consolidated Coppermines Corporation.



Last of the pit locomotives retired from the Liberty Pit.


June 1968

Mining of Ruth Pit commenced. 60 million tons of overburden removed before reaching ore in 1971.

Jan 12, 1969 Liberty Pit abandoned.

Sep 1978

Mines are closed and ore trains to McGill discontinued.


May 1982

Last passenger excursion trains operated from Cobre to East Ely and East Ely to Copper Flat.


Jun 20, 1983

McGill smelter closes.


Jun 20-21, 1983

Last NNRy freight operated from East Ely to Cobre and return using NNRy SD7 #401. NNRy ceases operations.



A predecessor of Alta Gold Co. obtained a lease from Kennecott to mine gold in the Robinson district.


Oct 19, 1985

KCC donates the East Ely depot building including all furnishings and records, the transportation building, the wooden freight shed and 2000' of track in front of the depot to the recently formed White Pine Historical Railroad Foundation, Inc. (Nevada Northern Railway Museum).


May 24, 1986

KCC donates Baldwin 4-6-0 #40, four wooden coaches and the rip track building to the WPHRF.



Gold mining resumed in the Robinson district beginning at the Star Pointer deposit.


Apr 22, 1987

Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) purchases dormant NNRy from Cobre to McGill Junction (to preclude its abandonment) for proposed coal-fired power plant near Cherry Creek.


Apr/May 1987

KCC donates the remainder of its assets including 32 miles of former NNRy trackage between McGill Junction and Keystone, the complete East Ely complex of machine shops, roundhouse, yards and rolling stock, the McGill Depot, and all historic buildings on the mainline between Cobre and Ely including the Cherry Creek Depot to the WPHRF.



Alta Gold Co. enters into a joint venture with Magma Copper Co. to buy all mining rights from Kennecott, with the principal intent of resuming copper mining in the district.



WPHRF deeds the East Ely depot and freight house to the State of Nevada.



Magma purchases all mining rights and becomes the sole owner of the mining property.



After restoration to its 1907 appearance, the depot is opened to the public as the East Ely Railroad Depot Museum, a unit of the Nevada State Railroad Museum, and staffed with a full-time curator.


Jan 1, 1995

Northern Nevada Railroad Corporation begins operations as a rail common carrier to operate the abandoned railroad properties of the former Nevada Northern Railway.


July 1995

Pre-production mining began.


Jan 1996

Magma acquired by multi-national BHP (Broken Hill Proprietary Co., Limited). Operation organized as BHP Copper North America, Robinson Operations.


Feb 6, 1996

First shipment of concentrate arrives at Shafter interchange with the UP and subsequently railed 1,745 miles to the BHP smelter in San Manuel, AZ.


June 7, 1996

BHP Nevada Railroad Company (BHPNR) acquires freight operations of the Northern Nevada Railroad Corporation that had operated over the original NNRy route since 1995.


June 25, 1999

BHP ceases Robinson mining operations. Facilities put on "care and maintenance" status.


July 9, 1999

Last BHP ore train leaves Riepetown and passes Ruth at 10:45am on its way to East Ely and finally the UP interchange at Shafter, NV.


June 28, 2001

LADWP announces its intention to sell the ex-NN ROW between McGill Junction and Cobre.


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Last updated 10 March, 2003 by Keith Albrandt