The Big 81 Weekend!

Dateline: October 8-10, 2021

Location: Nevada Northern Railway, Ely NV

Subject: CELEBRATION!

Trains magazine has been in publication for 81 years. The Nevada Northern Railway is completing the restoration of Locomotive 81, a 2-8-0 built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1917. This locomotive was retired almost 60 years ago, but was resurrected by the dedicated crew at the NNRY. (If you’ve ever thought about being the Engineer on a steam locomotive, go the http://www.nnry.com and click on the visit/ride tab to see how you can do it!) Could there be a better reason to have a big weekend-long celebration?

Actually, Trains magazine had plans to celebrate 80 years of publication in 2020. We all know what happened then so they delayed their party and partnered with NNRY to have a much bigger impact. And what a weekend it was!

My lovely bride accompanied me on the adventure. She patiently sat on the trains while we rode to various locations, disembarked the photographers, and then the locomotives pulled back and forth numerous times at each location to the delight of all the cameras. She also served as my assistant around the East Ely Yard, but managed to get in a few frames of her own with her cell phone. I appreciate her support of my photography hobby. Je t’ami, Mon ChouChou!

I won’t bore you with all the images from every location we visited, but I will try to share the feeling of being there. Enjoy!

One of our first scenes – the Steam Crane demonstration. This crane is mounted on a rail car and powered by a steam engine. It was used to clear the tracks after crashes to keep the railroad moving. In this image, the crane is lifting the ore car to set it back on the tracks. Go to http://www.nnry.com to find more information on this beautiful machine.
This is the crew, taking a well deserved rest after the demonstration.
From the East Ely Yard, the 81 pulling a train.
A longer view.
Locomotive 81 with the 1956 Pontiac Hy-Rail car at the wig-wag signals.
Add in Locomotive 93 for a scene not found very often – in black and white for fun! With 60 photographers and videographers in attendance, space in the photo line was at a premium.
Locomotives 81 and 93 team up for the haul up Robinson Canyon in this image.
My favorite image from the weekend. We stepped off the train and navigated through tall sagebrush. Everyone turned right and headed for a road to set up up the photo line. I turned left and ventured into even taller sagebrush. Setting my tripod as tall as I could, I used the articulating screen on the back of the camera body to look up at the composition and take the shot.

As I said, I didn’t share all the images from the weekend. I hope that I have provided a nice cross section of images so you have a feel for how much fun it was, despite having to fight (figuratively, not literally) for a spot on a crowded photo line.

The NNRY received several grants in the last year to improve equipment, preserve and archive the rich history that makes this railway a National Historic Landmark, and restore the track that connects the East Ely Yard to the Magill Depot. I look forward to making more images of this wonderful piece of history.

Enjoy – PHOTOROGR