Ely was named in honor of
Smith Ely, president of the Selby Copper Mining & Smelting Co.;
which was founded on the site of the present Ely's City Hall in 1878.
By 1902 extensive copper deposits were found in the area. Mark Requa,
son of a wealthy Comstock silver magnate, owned the Eureka & Palisade
Railroad, a narrow gauge in Eureka. Requa was interested in bolstering
the sagging economy of the E&P and explored the local copper properties
at Ely. He organized the White Pine Copper Company - constructing a
route that would require 140 miles of track construction. In 1904 White
Pine Copper Co. merged into other mining properties and organized as
the Nevada Consolidated Copper Co. ( NCCCo)
1905-1906 - Construction at Cobre began and
tracks reached Ely and a gala "Railroad Days" celebration took place. The branch
line was completed from McGill Junction to McGill.
1907-1908 - Construction of the McGill
smelter began. NN tracks reached Lane City, Keystone mining district, Veteran Mine and
Kimberly. Passenger & express service begins to McGill. The Hiline is completed.
1920 - Regular Pullman passenger service
1941 - Local passenger
and express trains discontinued.
1948 - Dieselization of ore trains begins
and most Kennecott ( successor to NCCCo. ) steam engines retired.
1978 - Ruth district mines are closed &
ore trains to McGill are discontinued.
1983 - Last NNRy freight operated in East
Ely to Cobre.
the White Pine Historical Railroad Foundation was organized to receive,
administer, and develop an operating railroad museum. Kennecott made
substantial donations consisting of: over 32 miles of track, East Ely
Complex of machine shops, roundhouse, yards, and rolling stock as well
as the McGill Depot.
of 1986, Engine #40 was steamed up for the first time since 1964 and
pronounced to be in perfect mechanical condition. A new era thus was
born as the newly dubbed "Ghost Train of Old Ely" began chugging
along once familiar rails to thrill generations. Here is your invitation
to come to Ely and experience the nostalgia of an era gone by.