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Nevada Northern Railway
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The Nevada Northern Railway (reporting mark NN) was a railroad in the U.S. state of Nevada, built primarily to reach a major copper producing area in White Pine County, Nevada. The railway, constructed in 1905-06, extended northward about 140 miles from Ely to a connection with the Southern Pacific Railroad at Cobre. In 1967 NN reported 40 million net ton-miles of revenue freight on 162 miles of line.
The Ely-area copper properties were further merged in 1904, forming the Nevada Consolidated Copper Company, and the Nevada Northern Railway was incorporated on June 1, 1905 to build a line connecting the Nevada Consolidated mines and smelter to the national rail network. The task of building the new railroad was contracted to the Utah Construction Company, which began work on September 11, 1905. Construction began at Cobre, where the Nevada Northern connected with the Southern Pacific, and proceeded southward. The line was finished a year later, its completion marked by a two-day celebration in Ely. The railroad's symbolic final spike�made of local copper�was driven by Requa in Ely on September 29, 1906.
Additional Ely-area trackage was constructed in 1907-1908 to serve the local mining industry. This trackage, known as the "Ore Line," included a route bypassing Ely to the north and continuing west up Robinson Canyon to the copper mines at Ruth. East of Ely, the Ore Line project saw the construction of the "Hiline," a branch leading to Nevada Consolidated's new copper smelter and concentrator at McGill. The Ore Line immediately became the busiest segment of the Nevada Northern by far, hosting dozens of loaded and empty ore trains daily.
As a subsidiary of Nevada Consolidated, the primary purpose of the Nevada Northern throughout its history was the haulage of copper ores and products. Other freight traffic was also carried, however, and the railroad operated a daily passenger train between East Ely and Cobre until 1941. Local trains were also operated from Ely to Ruth and McGill for the benefit of mine employees and others until the 1930s, and special school trains carried students to White Pine High School in central Ely.
December 20th, 2012
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