Nevada Northern & Railroads of White Pine County
Track Plans

Cherry Creek


Located five miles west of U.S. 93 and four miles east of the town of Cherry Creek on Nevada State route 489. Building south from the Southern Pacific interchange at Cobre, the Nevada Northern Railway reached this point (milepost 91.3) in July 1906. The passenger and freight depot was built in 1907 as were the freight shed, section house, bunk house, and tool house. There was also a stockyard measuring 70-feet by 120-feet. The pump house, windmill, tank, well, and coal platform were constructed in 1908.

The original depot was moved to Ely and is now located on the grounds of the White Pine Public Museum, 2000 Aultman Street.

Copyright © 2001 Keith Albrandt




Cobre (Omar) was established in 1905 as the NN northern terminus and interchange with the Southern Pacific. 1910 witnessed a population of 60 and arguably, Cobre's zenith, as it boasted three saloons. Over the next few decades the population declined together with passenger service. SP abandoned the station in Nov 1948 and the post office closed 31 May 1956, although ore shipments continued until the closing of the NN. A cinder block engine house built in the 1960s still remains.

Track plan (near right) is based on a USGS map dated 01 July 1982.

The track plan (far right) is based on a Nevada Northern Ry map that was prepared for the ICC c1918.

Copyright © 2000 Keith Albrandt

Copyright © 2000 Keith Albrandt




The town formed in 1906 when the Nevada Northern Railway reached this point (milepost 63.0) although the nearby springs had long served as a natural rest stop on the Toano and Cherry Creek Road. The town was named for local rancher Joseph Currie who also served as the first postmaster when the post office opened on 08 August 1906.

Currie developed as the transportation and livestock center of the area. The railway depot, freight house, section house, bunkhouse, and tool house were built in 1907. The pump house, windmill, water tank, and well were erected in 1908 followed by construction of a shearing shed and stockyard in 1909. There was also an ore loading platform and at least five sheds.

In these early years, the town boasted of two hotels (the Currie and the Steptoe), telegraphy office, railroad agency station, store, schoolhouse, and saloon. The original Currie depot and Currie Hotel still stand. The post office closed on 28 May 1971. The population has remained about twenty since inception (presumably not the same twenty).

Copyright © 2001 Keith Albrandt


Dolly Varden


Dolly Varden at mile post 40.5. This siding on the NN should not be confused with the mining camp of the same name located approximately 20-miles to the south. Specifically, the mining camp was "3½ miles northwest of US 50A at a point 20 miles northeast of its junction with US 93 (68 miles southeast of Wells)." (Paher, p. 227)

Approximate capacity of siding listed as 8 car lengths in Nevada Northern Railway Co. timetable 71 of 29 October 1967, and as 400-feet in BHP Nevada Railroad Company timetable 5 of 19 March 1998.

Based on a 1986 USGS map.

Copyright © 2002 Keith Albrandt


East Ely


Headquarters of the Nevada Northern Railway since 1906 and still a center of railroading activities. The Nevada Northern Railway Museum operates from the transportation building and the State of Nevada East Ely Railroad Depot Museum is housed in the original depot.

Top right: This map was prepared and verified by David Sellers over the period from 1984 to 1993, and thus represents the track plan at the end of operations of the NN and before minor changes introduced for operations of the BHP Nevada Railroad and the tourist excursions. A few track plans of the yards at East Ely have been published in periodicals over the years, but to my knowledge this is the most accurate contemporary representation available.

Lower right: From privy to engine house. Prepared from an ICC valuation map (East Ely Railroad Depot Museum) dated April, 1918. Names and numbers are included where legible on my copy. Large file (130K).

Copyright © 2000 David Sellers


Copyright © 2000 Keith Albrandt


East Ely to McGill Jct.
Hiline to Adverse

Copyright © 2001 Keith Albrandt

Mainline from East Ely to McGill Junction. The ore line diverged at Hiline and climbed to Adverse on its way to the mill and smelter complex at McGill.

The Nevada Northern Railway Museum runs excursions from East Ely as far as Lavon, where the engine runs around on the passing siding for the return trip.

Based on a 1979 USGS map. Large file (272K).




Goshute at mile post 71.0. Jackling's private varnish Cyprus (2nd) and the general manager's car No. 101 Ely (2nd) would be set out at Goshute and they would all go hunting in the Ruby Mountains.

Approximate capacity of siding listed as 34 car lengths in Nevada Northern Railway Co. timetable 71 of 29 October 1967, and as 1660-feet in BHP Nevada Railroad Company timetable 5 of 19 March 1998.

Based on a 1982 USGS map.

Copyright © 2002 Keith Albrandt


Site of the copper mill concentrator and smelter from 1908 to 1983. Ore was transported from the mines near Ruth past East Ely to the Hiline Juction and thence to the processing facilities located in the company town of McGill. A second connection with McGill was from the Nevada Northern Ry main line at McGill Junction, through which most of the blister copper output of the operations was sent north to connections at Shafter and Cobre.

The track plan is based on a 1993 USGS map and covers the region from Adverse on the Hiline to McGill.

Copyright © 2001 Keith Albrandt

The Ore Line    

File No. A-17-1 dated 28 May 1907. The figure legend describes "Graded only, Survey completed, Prop. Reconstruction, and Track Laid". However, the distinctions were not evident on the photocopy of the original depicted here.

The ore line was not completed until the year after this map was drawn, the first ore being milled in May 1908.

Note the use of the plural "McGills" describing both the spur in the figure legend and on the map itself at what would subsequently become to be known as McGill Junction.

From the collection of Steve Swanson


Robinson Mining District
Veteran to Keystone on the Mines Branch


This map is a snapshot of the railroad trackage in the Robinson mining district. The mining operations continually evolved throughout the 20th century. And the railroad tracks followed that lead. Regardless of the 1991 date of the USGS map on which this track plan is based, it is most likely representative of the years between 1958 and the closing of the mining operations and ore trains in 1978.

Fourteen miles of track in the Liberty Pit (combination of the Eureka and Liberty Pits) was abandoned in 1958 when pit trains were discontinued and haulage accomplished by trucks and a skip hoist to deliver ore to the cars at the Copper Flat yards. The presence of the "tramway" on the map therefore defines the earliest possible date.

The railroad line to the Deep Ruth Shaft was built in 1951. Production began in 1952 at the Kimbley Pit and the following year at the Veteran Pit. The track as depicted to the ore loading tipple at the Veteran Pit was completed in 1955. Veteran was always the western terminus of the NNRy.

"New" Ruth was moved to its present location c1954 when Kennecott Copper extended its mining operations. "Old" Ruth lies beneath the tailings of the Ruth open pit mines.

The map depicts neither the wye built at Keystone Junction by the Nevada Northern Railway Museum in 1989 nor the modifications made by BHP during the mid-1990s. These modifications saw the track parallel State Route 44 from Keystone Junction, crossing the highway just east of Ruth and then continuing on the north side of route 44 to the BHP mill constructed on the former site of Riepetown. The terminus of the BHP Nevada Railroad was at milepost 149.0 "Riepetown". Large file (159K).

Copyright © 2001 Keith Albrandt


Robinson Mining District
Copper Flat to Veteran

Copyright © 2001 Keith Albrandt

A glimpse from a 1910 USGS map of the railroads in the mining district. Includes both the Nevada Northern (represented in orange) and the Giroux Consolidated Mines Company three-foot narrow gauge line (represented in green) between their concentrator on Pilot Knob and the Alpha mine on the southwest side of Old Glory Hill.

The dashed lines in the area of the West End camp represent track that was not shown on the USGS map. It has been depicted herein based on textual descriptions and/or photographic evidence. Large file (162K).


Robinson Mining District
BHP Years — 1990's

Copyright © 2002 Keith Albrandt

A somewhat rare depiction of the trackage during the BHP years between 1996 and 1999. Note that both the wye at Keystone (installed by the NNRy Museum in 1989) and the new track to the north of Ruth (installed for the BHP operations) is depicted. The track remains in this configuration today.

Adapted from a travel brochure for "Historic New Ruth".


Robinson Canyon
Keystone to East Ely on the Mines Branch


This map depicts the Mines Branch from Keystone to East Ely through Robinson Canyon.

The final years of operations by KCC Nevada Mines Division in the 1970's saw all ore loading done at Lane. Large file (286K).

Copyright © 2001 Keith Albrandt




First established as Bews siding on the NN in 1906, named for a local rancher and operator of the stage station. It was renamed for General W.R. Shafter, an army veteran of the Spanish-American war, after the Western Pacific Railroad reached there in late Sep 1907. The post office closed on 19 April 1957. Shafter served as the BHP Railroad interchange with the Union Pacific Railroad as recently as July 1999, although no structures remain.

Track plan (near right) is based on a USGS map dated 01 July 1991. The coal chute track had since been removed, but the west end of the wye is still shown; other references indicate it was torn out prior to the mid-1970s.

There are two track plans in the figure to the far right, one from 1947 and the other c1974. They were originally published in issue No. 10 of "The Headlight" and are reproduced here with permission of the Western Pacific Railroad Historical Society.

The NN diamond (crossing) was lifted circa Sep 1985 and the line north to Cobre lies abandoned.

Copyright © 2000 Keith Albrandt

Track plan courtesy of the WPRRHS.
Used with permission.

Physical connection was made between the Nevada Northern and the Western Pacific at Bews on 03 Oct 1907.
"The first train over the new line arrived on October 8 and passed on through to Ely. The first passenger train operated was a special for Ely copper tycoon, William B. Thompson, who tested the route on October 21." — Myrick, Vol. 1, p. 318.



Last modified 17 Dec, 2002 -/-