100th birthday celebration of the Ghost Train (ol' 93) on Saturday in Ely, Nevada. While not motorcycle related, it's cool nonetheless to see back 100 years at what travel was like. Besides, I want one!
The Northern Nevada Railroad was the last gasp for the short lines in Nevada. It survived because of open pit mining. The pit mine is due west of Ely about 12 miles and the mill and smelter were about 20 miles north east of Ely in McGill. The open pit mine was around and active until 1981 or so. The mine closed and started changing ownership. The smelter was transferred to Utah and the mill sat empty with a huge smokestack looming over the town.
The steam engine - and all engines and cars from over the past 100+ years - were never sold off because the tracks don't go anywhere else. The State of Nevada took over the facility for a period of time but people in Ely decided to buy the state out and try and make something of it. That, they've done in spades. All the old timers returned to work on and restore engines, cars, etc. People from around the country show up on holiday to help out. I dedicated 2 vacation days last summer, just doing odd jobs.
93 went through a very recent restoration as part of the 100th birthday party which featured VIPs and dignitaries. I weren't any of them.
The NNR has other steam engines, 93 is just the oldest and the most revered. All the workshops are open to the public for no charge. Rides are cheap and one can even learn to run ol' 93. It's an extraordinary place especially if one takes the time to appreciate the past and join in with the work.
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