Wild West 2017 - 5: Sun & Steam in Steptoe Valley (50 p.)

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Proud Earthling

To the previous part of the series:
Wild West 2017 - 4: 350-Year-Old Passenger Train (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:

Historical archive, including maps etc.:

Wikipedia page:

Line map:

Wikipedia page of the museum:

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

February 18 2017

During lunch break, the loco had reversed and was coupled to a train of boxcars 1021 and 1023-1025, which all had been built in 1912 by American Car & Foundry, mostly originally for the NNRY.

In front of East Ely depot.

Subsequently, we were pushed onto the former mainline through Steptoe Valley. A large railroad grade crossing with Highway 93 - which we had taken to Ely - was being guarded by staff from the station. Afterwards, we passed this ranch and typical row of mailboxes.

The mainline north past McGill is not passable nowadays. For example, a few grade crossings have to be newly constructed. The railroad director told us about experiences with the highway authority. Due to regulations, the costs of 300000 $ for a crossing have tripled now.
So, we rather took the "Hiline" uphill towards Adverse, once serving the McGill copper mill. On a map from 1940 the line is titled "mill branch".

Informative track plans can be gathered at the informative historical archive (general link see above).
Ely - Hiline - McGill: http://nnry.com/history/httpdocs/trackplans/Hiline8.gif
Former McGill plants: http://nnry.com/history/httpdocs/trackplans/mcgillB.gif

We had reached our spot a few feet above the valley, several photo run-pasts followed.

A fascinating mood, we were close to the clouds at this altitude. The sun always slightly shone through the cloud cover, resulting in camera settings closer to a sunny day.

Once more my favorite was the vegetation structure, almost like a colorful shaggy carpet.

During a static photo session, I walked downhill to capture the vastness of Steptoe Valley.

Then, we climbed...

... to the cutting, where an uncomfortable wind was blowing.

I hid in a hollow, allowing for this alternative perspective of the rock face.

Even if the sun was showing - time to return home for the day, the weather would be much better next morning.

February 19 2017

Little snow fell overnight melting right away, but the mood developed nicely after sunrise. On the short walk from the accommodation to the station I passed a collection of old cars, in the background the county school bus depot.

Time for the engine to arrive!

Briefing before switching.

The group of photographers yearned for the sun to show.

The snowfall only showed as white sprinkles on the cooler dug-in ties.

Combine #6 - dating from 1872 in its original form - was once more serving as coach for us.

Finally, steam action!

A slight delay while switching...

... but then, everything was in place...

... and we arrived here. I would suggest to imagine the fragrance of a pine forest next to these images on the valley floor, even those low plants gave off a very fresh and intensive scent - relief for my blocked nose.

The outfit car was left behind - just as in regular service - and the first steam run in fine morning sunlight followed.

Panoramic shots at the "creek" - or whatever passes for it in this dry area. However, wet mud rich of clay was sticking to the boots along the roads near this spot.

Together with a handful of other photographers, I ducked through to the other side.

You were rewarded by lovely silhouette shots - 3-image-panorama.

Monumental atmosphere above the mountains.

I walked further away from the railroad, a few still shots followed.

It took a few tries, but then my distant shouts requesting another run-past were heard. This was used to couple the outfit car again - and the sun came out nicely.

Next, the train stopped, and we walked ahead to the edge of the valley after making sure we had not left anyone behind. I did not find my microphone on the ground at once, but using all my Wild-West-tracking skills I was lucky and did not leave it behind in the vast Nevada landscape.

We waited fifteen minutes for the full sun to appear...

... and it paid off. ;-)
To the left the Steptoe Valley south, where we were about to leave later that afternoon, to the right north, where we had arrived from Wendover.

One more run-past in the sun.

The train was safely stopped, and we were free to access the tracks. We will steam on next time! :)

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