Wild West 2017 - 3: Nevada Northern, Scene 1 (50 p.)

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Proud Earthling

To the previous part of the series:
US Roadtrip 2017 - 2: Into the Wild West (50 p.)

The video for this series (please set to 1080p quality / full-screen mode):

General information about the Nevada Northern Railway:

Official page, including equipment roster:

Wikipedia page:

Line map:

Wikipedia page of the museum:

Book including historic photographs (Google Books preview, not all pages shown):

February 16 2017

Before checking into our "All Aboard Inn" we first visited the station of the Nevada Northern Railway Museum. East Ely Depot is home to the office and giftshop of the railroad.
The exact schedule for the upcoming photo shoot was not available yet, but we were allowed to freely roam around the yard and workshops.

East Ely yard has had the honor of being classified as a "National Historic Landmark", thanks to the almost untouched steam era ensemble:

Viewed from the large, beautiful wooden freight shed, snow was melting on the roof.

We were about to use the ore hoppers to the right for photo runs the next day. Even on a museum railroad, cars have to be approved, which is a long and costly process - so currently these are not allowed to leave the yard limits.


Loco #93 - which ran until last year, now the 15-year boiler lease is up - inside the machine shop.


Instead, we would enjoy ALCo-diesels RS-3 #109 (built 1950) and RS-2 #105 (1945) in action for the first time after a while.


Steam had been replaced by diesel around 1950. Kennecott Copper Corporation operated the ore trains on the Nevada Northern Railway with a fleet of these ALCos.

This instruction should not be repeated out of context... ;-)

U.S. Army ALCo-GE MRS-1 #B2080 and #B2081, as well as San Manuel Arizona Railway Company RS-3 #13.

Through sliding doors to be immediately closed again you entered the heated enginehouse from the machine shop.

Actually, Nevada is called the "Silver State" - but alright, here it's all about copper... or gold?

Next to the second active ALCo, RS-2 #105, the star of the photo trains: Nevada Northern #40 (Baldwin, Philadelphia #34942 / built in 1910 and originally delivered here).
The slogan "Safety First" is historically accurate and only recently has been refitted to the smokebox, see old photos for comparison:


EMD SD9 #204, former Southern Pacific #4426, from 1956.

A magnificent sunset punctually announced "event weather" for the coming days.
We would be hit by troughs of the strongest winter storms this year in California, where they resulted in flooding. Friday the weather was worst - but at least only activities in the yard and enginehouse were planned. As on the first weekend of the event, the second day would feature mediocre conditions, the third was about to be quite beautiful. Overall, we still were lucky - it could have been horrible throughout the weekend.

View from our balcony towards the station with a collection of old vehicles in the foreground.

February 17 2017

As prelude to the event, the ALCo double header hauled ore cars through East Ely yard. Wheels of a caboose to the right are reflected in a puddle of melted snow, not rain. The wind was quite strong with single vertical rain drops - you did not get wet, but it was not comfortable, either.


The crew arrived at the enginehouse, but #40 was allowed to remain in the warmth that day.



After a welcome and safety instructions by Mark Bassett, director of the railroad, we moved to the tracks for the first ALCo run-pasts.
In the speech we were reminded of certain rules, for example everyone had to leave the train on the same side, tracks had to be crossed only at a distance from standing rolling stock, etc.
But other dangers are lurking as well: people have had altitude sickness here at about 6400 feet, with the railroad lines climbing even higher. To prevent it, you are supposed to drink a lot of water during the day - and if you thought you have had enough, even more.


ALCo-smoke above the landscape - you are close to the clouds here, even under such conditions the sun was sometimes shining through.

The complete ensemble with steam wrecking crane built in 1907.



Only in the shade of the freight shed some snow had persisted - and you were safe from the wind.

Double denim - from hat to boot.

Equipment is not treated with museum gloves here - re-railing a car was demonstrated using the 110-year-old crane.



As nothing exciting was about happen, I spent the next two hours warming up in our room, then returned for the night photo session at 5 p.m.

First, I took some photos while things still were prepared. Due to weather conditions, the shoot took place inside the enginehouse, which I was thankful for.


Still before the session.

Now, the special American method of lighting began. A gentleman experienced in studio lighting led the shoot, studio flashes had been set up. While taking pictures the engine house was almost dark, the flashes were announced so you could press the shutter in time. Only for new set-ups, lights were turned on again.
Of course, I am usually not following the herd - so I took some pictures with flash, but then waited for intervals between flashes to capture the in my eyes much more interesting night lighting moods. And of course, some of those exposures were ruined exactly by the flash... ;-)
I also tried to vary between time exposures and high-ISO for fluffiness of steam.

Without flash.

Without flash, otherwise the fantastic light beam disappeared completely.

High-ISO at normal enginehouse lighting.


For once an image with flash. As I am not necessarily a fan of O. Winston Link, I am not a fan of this method. Why not just take photos in daylight, if you make the night mood disappear?

Two alternatives with house lights on. The bulbs were flickering in different colors, that's why the effect.

Two boys were joining as extras. Sometimes I just used the flashlight for people to refocus for an exposure.

I like the flash to the left - with people it makes more sense, as they would have to keep still for a long time.

High-ISO with lights on – perhaps a little too much soot...

Once more high-ISO with flash and letting off steam...

... but compared to this...


February 18 2017

Next time we will steam out onto the line - at first on board of an original passenger train! :)
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