Nevada Northern & Railroads of White Pine County



These photos are a track ramp/incline located at the East Ely ore yard of the Nevada Northern Railway.

We wondered as to the purpose of this rather unique structure. After some research we're able to present the answer.


Motive Power Unloading

Rod Jensen, former excavation contractor and yard foreman for the White Pine Historical Railroad Foundation and Sean Pitts, Curator of History, East Ely Railroad Depot Museum contributed the following information.

The ramp was basically rebuilt and "beefed up" in 1993 to unload switch engines for the Northern Nevada Railroad Corporation (not to be mistaken for the Nevada Northern Railway that is a different entity). The Northern Nevada Railroad Corp. was formed to haul concentrate from the newly reopened mine to Arizona for smelting. NNRC sold substantially all of its assets to a subsidiary of BHP on 31 May 1996 and subsequently allowed its corporate charter to expire. (NNRC did not go bankrupt as was incorrectly reported here previously.) Railroad operations were assumed by BHP Nevada Railroad.

Also, the ramp does not appear on historical maps of the complex, indicating it may be new.

Ramp/incline at East Ely ore yard
19 June 1999

Copyright © 1999 Keith Albrandt


Update April, 2001

Bryan Whipple, President of NNRC 1991-1996, writes to say that the ramp was constructed new in very late 1994 by breaking an existing double-ended siding and elevating one end at the break.



Mike Cripps, former agent of the BHP Nevada Railroad, essentially confirms this information. Mike learned in conversations with the principles of the Northern Nevada Railroad Corporation that they either built or rebuilt the ramp in 1993/1994. The only time it was used was to unload the GE 70-ton switch engines that came from the Santa Maria Valley Railroad. To the best of his knowledge, it had never been used again for any inbound or outbound freight, nor was it employed for the loading or unloading of track maintenance equipment.

Mike also notes that the ramp would again be needed should the 70-tonners be sold, since they are equipped with friction journal bearings and as such cannot be moved on the UP mainline (junction at Shafter, NV).


GE 70 ton switch engine at East Ely yards
19 June 1999.

BHP #012 is former Santa Maria Valley Railroad #30 stored out of service with a broken crankshaft.

Copyright © 1999 Keith Albrandt


Orin Palmer & Jim Bryant also identified its use for Flanged Wheel Railroad Equipment Loading. Orin relates that the SP Narrow Gauge had this type of arrangement at Owenyo, where the narrow gauge equipment could be loaded onto a flatcar for transfer to the repair shops. This track arrangement could also be used for movement of standard gauge MOW equipment and/or cars in need of transport for repair, although apparently not employed here in East Ely.


Ramp/incline at East Ely ore yard
19 June 1999

Copyright © 1999 Keith Albrandt

Last modified 18 August, 2001 by Keith Albrandt