Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Has the Nevada Northern Moved to Utah?

I moved to Ely, Nevada as a 12 year old boy in June of 1992.  Almost immediately I started learning everything I could about the railroad that kept Ely a thriving community and as a result, I have held a fascination for the Nevada Northern Railway that can only be equaled by my love of the Santa Fe Railway.  Was it the fact that the railroad still had a running steam locomotive?  Was it the fact that most of the railroad's original infrastructure remained intact?  Was it both?  Who knows.  Not so long after I settled in to my new hometown and began my quest for information, I discovered that the Nevada Northern was unique in the railroad world.  The Nevada Northern was the only shortline railroad to order an SD-7 new from the factory.

NN 401 was constructed in August 1952, builder number 16842, and delivered to the Nevada Northern to replace all of it's aging steam locomotives.  For the next 30 years, the 401 would work the line bringing goods into town from the connections at Shafter and Cobre.  It would also deliver blister copper to those same connections for shipment to refineries that would finish the process to create nearly pure copper.

Then came the sad day in 1983 when the railroad closed its doors seemingly for good.  The line north of McGill Junction was eventually sold to Los Angeles Department of Water and Power for a proposed power plant that never came to be.  Unfortunately, the sale of the line included 401.  With the failed project in Nevada, what was to become of the 401?  The answer came in 1988 when the 401 moved to the new LADW&P power plant in Delta, UT.  She was prepared, sent north to the connection at Shafter and shipped off to Salt Lake City.  Then she moved to Delta where she remains to this day.  The locomotive has been promised to the museum and the railroad was sold back to the museum and the City of Ely.  When the time is right, the 401 will be repatriated to her home rails where she will live out her days with no worries of ever seeing the scrapper's torch.

So, has the Nevada Northern moved to Utah?  No.  The railroad's only diesel locomotive did, but the railroad itself is still alive and well hauling tourists in Ely, NV.

Following are some photos I took of the 401 in Delta, UT February 11, 2013.

This counts as my first official photo of the 401.  Had I been thinking about it, I would have chosen a more traditional roster shot for the first photo, but hey, we can't win 'em all, right?

View of the back end of the locomotive.

An attempt at an artsy shot.  I think it turned out alright.

Does it get any prettier than this?

After all these years, the original inspection reports for both the FRA and Kennecott are still in the cab and haven't been written on since!

Beautiful roster shot of the 401.

Detail of the front pilot and plow.  If memory serves, that is a homemade plow place on there by the NN.

Detail of the roof.

Looking up on the nose of the 401.  the light package is reminiscent of SP, isn't it?

Detail of the front of the locomotive.

Detail of the cab.

Detail of the lettering on the rear of the locomotive.

Here we see me taking measurements of the 'wings' to get an accurate angle.  All this information was used in creating decals and paint masks in HO scale to be used on Proto 2000 SD-7 models.  My wife, Angele, took the photo.

Another photo by my wife as I admire the craftsmanship of not only the locomotive, but
also the paint scheme that came to be known as the Desert Warbonnet.

In your face!  Very nice photo taken by my wife of the nose of the 401.

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