Nevada Northern & Railroads of White Pine County


Nevada Northern Railway Company

A concise history: 1906-1983, and to the present


The Nevada Northern Railway, completed in 1906 between the Southern Pacific junction at Cobre in Elko County and East Ely, was from its inception a subsidiary of Nevada Consolidated Copper Company (Nevada Con). The tracks to the copper mines at Copper Flat and as far as Veteran were completed in 1907; the Hiline to the mill and smelter at McGill were in operation by 1908.

In 1920, Nevada Con assumed operations of the ore line; the Nevada Northern Railway retained its role as a common carrier. The ore line trackage remained the property of the Nevada Northern Railway, and a trackage agreement allowed Nevada Con to operate ore trains. Nevada Con train crews operated the ore trains while management was provided by the Nevada Northern Railway. A substantial portion of the Nevada Northern locomotives and rolling stock was sold to Nevada Con at this time.

Kennecott Copper Corporation (KCC) acquired full control of Nevada Con in 1933. The name was changed to KCC Nevada Mines Division a full ten years later. Meanwhile, regularly scheduled passenger service between Cobre and Ely was discontinued in 1941.

The entire Nevada Northern diesel fleet was purchased new from EMD in 1952; it consisted of one unit, SD-7 No. 401.

The mines were closed in 1978 and the KCC ore trains to McGill were discontinued. The McGill smelter closed on 20 June 1983, followed one day later by cessation of all Nevada Northern Railway operations.



Between 1985 and 1987, KCC donated all its remaining assets to the White Pine Historical Railroad Foundation (dba Nevada Northern Railway Museum). This included 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, Baldwin 4-6-0 No. 40, four wooden coaches, 32 miles of 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.

The remaining dormant trackage and right-of-way between McGill Junction and Cobre was purchased by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power in 1987 (to preclude its abandonment) for a proposed coal-fired power plant near Cherry Creek.

In 1990, the Foundation deeded the East Ely depot and freight house to the State of Nevada. In 1992, after restoration to its 1907 appearance, the depot opened as the East Ely Railroad Depot Museum, a unit of the Nevada State Railroad Museum.




Last modified 14 Dec, 2001 -/-