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What Volunteers Do



Volunteers assist the museum in a broad spectrum of areas. Of course, the most visible area of assistance is train service. (Photos courtesy of Wayne Depperman).


Ron Miller is directing crane operator Leonard Cassieri (also a volunteer) to pick up a rock that fell on the right-of-way the day before a photo shoot. Not visible is Skip Allen, the engineer in the cab of 204.

Long before the steam locomotive leaves the enginehouse, the temperature of the locomotive needs to be brought up slowly. It is an hours-long process that cannot be rushed. This is Richard Barnes getting more coal to throw in the firebox.

Steam locomotive maintenance is unusual work.The locomotive is 40. Kelvin Martinez is on the left and we don't know who is in the steam dome. There is only one way into the boiler and this is how you do it. Above the volunteer's legs hanging from the overhead crane is the throttle body that will go in the hole after the volunteer is out.

The days are long on the railroad. Here Don Hepler is walking towards the crew room. In the background is the motto of the railroad "Safety First." Railroading is dangerous. If you are not paying attention, you will get hurt or injure someone else.

There are glamorous jobs at the museum, but the trains don't run unless a thousand, mundane tasks are completed. Ron Taylor is in the Machine Shop packing a strap that will be used by the overhead crane to lift another piece on to locomotive 40.

We have plenty of buildings that need painting. Here some members of the Ely Lions Club are finishing one of the buildings. (From left to right: Virginia Terry, unknown, unknown, Bev Cornutt, and Glenn Terry).


Steve Leith was the engineer on a cold March morning for a wedding train. The bride from St George, Utah stated that she hoped it snowed that day. By the time the train returned, we had eight inches of snow on the ground; she got her wish.

The sign says men working and their clothes prove it. Chris Brophy, shop helper, with Dennis Winger and Leonard Cassieri have just finished a long day on Locomotive 93. And they are long days—it's not unusual to work twelve hours or more.

Gene Rogers signs the engineer in the time-honored method of hand signals. Gene and his wife Pat move to Ely every summer to help out. Gene who was retired will work five days a week getting the trains over the hill and back again safely. As the chief conductor, he answers the same questions thousands of times each week and always with a smile.

The Ghost Train has a voice and that voice for the most part is Rae Nelle O'Donnell. Day after day, Rae Nelle tells the story of the Ghost Train to our riders.


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All Rights Reserved - Page Last Updated 29 August 2020
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