Nevada Northern & Railroads of White Pine County


NNRy Passenger Service
"Railroad Day" and the first train into Ely



"Railroad Day", celebrating the completion of the NN and its arrival in Ely, was scheduled for Saturday, 29 Sep 1906. However, work on the line was continuing until the last minute. According to author Gary Allen, it was Southern Pacific locomotive No. 2173 with a work train that approached Ely on Friday, 28 Sep, one day prior to the official "Railroad Day" celebration. Regardless, she was decorated, rolled into Ely, and the celebration began a weekend of festivities. Reportedly, it was the first train some residents had ever seen in person.


Courtesy of the Nevada Northern Railway Museum

Southern Pacific No. 2173 was built between February and April 1888 by Schenectady (Alco) as one of an SP order for 20 class T-9 units -- the "T" referring to the "Ten wheel" 4-6-0 configuration. Builder's number 2515 was originally SP road number 244. Renumbered in 1891 to No. 1784 and subsequently renumbered again to No. 2173. She was a type 460-97 with 18" x 24" cylinders, 55" drivers, tractive effort of 18,550 lb. and weight of 83,100 lb. After 48 years of service, No. 2173 ultimately met the scrapper's torch in December 1935.


The next day, 29 Sep 1906, the official "Railroad Day" celebration saw the arrival of three special passenger trains run under the auspices of the Salt Lake Commercial Club. The first to arrive was from Salt Lake City, followed by specials from Ogden and Reno.

The train from Salt Lake was composed of five Pullman sleepers, Orta, Castele, Tampa, Guanica, and Turkestan, (each with a drawing room), three tourist sleepers, and one each dining car, day coach, and baggage car. The train also carried the first traveling telephone exchange, operated by the Rocky Mountain Bell Telephone Co. Intra-car calls were free. Calls to Ely or Salt Lake City cost 5 cents. The locomotive engineer was Price Davis.

General Manager Mark Requa drove a copper spike forged from Ruth Mine ore to symbolize the linking Ely and Cobre. Dignitaries in attendance included: Nevada Governor John Sparks; U.S. Senators Francis Newlands, George Nixon, and William Stewart (retired); University of Nevada President J.E. Stubbs; State Controller Sam Davis; State Senator William Gallagher; State Assemblyman Fred Clark; and former State Senators Henry Comins and Thomas Rockhill. The chairman of the arrangement committee was William N. (Billy) McGill.


1. Alco Locomotive Works. "Construction/Order Number Lists". Alco Historic Photos, Schenectady, NY.

2. Allen, Gary G. 1964. Nevada Northern: Sagebrush Short Line. Los Angeles: Trans-Anglo Books. [Also published as October 1964, Railway History Quarterly 1 (4), 1-47.]

3. Fleming, Jack. 1987. Copper Times. Seattle: Murray Publishing Co.

4. Nevada Northern Railway Book Committee. 1993. Nevada Northern Railway and the Copper Camps of White Pine County, Nevada. Dallas: Taylor Publishing Co.

5. Percy, Richard A. "Southern Pacific 'Ten Wheel' 4-6-0 Steam Locomotives". [Internet, WWW], ADDRESS: [Accessed 28 February 2001].

6. Robertson, Donald B. 1998. Encyclopedia of Western Railroad History, Volume IV: California. Caldwell, ID: Caxton Printers, Ltd.



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Last modified 18 August, 2000 -/-