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"At The Throttle"
by Mark Bassett, Executive Director

A weekly series of columns originally published in the Saturday edition of the Ely Times 
Mark Bassett is the Executive Director of the White Pine Historical Foundation, operator of the Nevada Northern Railway Museum. He can be reached at the museum (775) 289-2085 ext. 7 or e-mail:


Keeping Them Steaming—Welcome Jack Anderson
07 February 2021


The Nevada Northern Railway Museum recently hired Jack Anderson as our Master Mechanic. The Master Mechanic is responsible to keep all of our equipment in good repair and in compliance with all state and federal regulations. After a nation wide search, Jack Anderson was the candidate selected for the position. I'll let Jack introduce himself…


There is a lot more sunshine and a lot more snow in Ely compared to Western Washington, where, until now, I have lived all of my life. I'm Jack Anderson and I've found my first month in Ely to be most enjoyable. My wife, Carol, and our 15-year-old son, Chris, will be joining me here the first week in March.

Recently hired by the Nevada Northern Railway, my job is to help the mechanical department keep trains, especially steam locomotives, running smoothly, with the capable help of Al Gledhill, shop foreman, Ed Shurtleff, diesel locomotive specialist, and Kris Miller, our young but talented apprentice.

As a team committed to continuing improvement, of our historical preservation, as a living museum, we welcome volunteers of any background. We need help with the many diverse projects at the railroad shop and grounds.

My experience comes from 24 years with the Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad, which is about 65 miles southeast of Seattle, Washington. Operating steam trains daily during the summer months, we have restored seven steam locomotives including a Heisler, Climax, and Shay, which are gear-driven, low speed, flexible, and powerful logging locomotives. Our restoration projects also included a Porter, Alco, and Baldwin steam locomotives.

Here at the Nevada Northern, our operating steam locomotive #93 will need some minor mechanical attention after it operates for the next 10 days of a special photo event. While not on the front burner, the 100-ton Wrecking Crane needs to have its boiler and piping installed.

A goal for next fall is to have the "Ghost Locomotive" #40 operating again. This will require a boiler overhaul, and will give the "Queen of the Railroad" 15 more years of steaming. Eventually we would like to completely overhaul locomotive 81. Built by Baldwin it has not run since the 1950's. Locomotive 81 is needed, as we plan to operate more steam trains in the future. Our goal is to run steam trains seven days a week. It is the live steam that is the attraction that will draw passengers to Ely.

Immediate goals are cleaning up and organizing the machine shop, engine house, and storeroom. Some additional machine tools will also enable the mechanical department to broaden its capability, making us more self-sufficient. There is so much to do that the help of volunteers will be essential and appreciated. The machine shop is located at East 9th Street and Avenue A. We can be reached by calling 775-289-2085. Thank you, Ely, for a warm welcome.



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