The machine shop/enginehouse building is the anchor of the property.
This brick structure was built in 1907 and expanded in 1941. The structure
was in very poor repair. Starting in 1999, the museum started to work
on the structure. The first area was repairing the windows, followed
by the doors. In 2003 and 2004, work started on the structure itself.
This work commenced not a moment too soon. A structural engineer's report
had stated that the building was weak and could collapse without warning
due to either seismic activity or high winds. The building regularly
experiences high winds. In doing the repairs it was discovered just
how close to collapse the structure wasit was a near thing. As
of today, the vast majority of the structural problems of the building
have been repaired. To quote our structural engineer, "The building
will be able to stand for another 100 years." Where this is good
news, there is still hundreds of thousands of dollars that need to be
invested in the building for utilities.
Electrical wiring is a patchwork. Lighting in the building goes from
poor to non-existent. Heating is also a mishmash of systems going from
potbelly stoves to expensive forced air propane heaters. Water and sewer
is another area to goes from poor to non-existent. A grant was written
to address these problems, but it will entail hundreds of thousands
of dollars and years of efforts before the problems are solved.
Under the museum's stewardship the McGill Depot went from a usable structure
to one on the verge of collapse. The reason for the disintegration of
the building was principally "out-of-sight out-of-mind" and
no use. This past year the museum was able to save the building. It
still requires hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of work, but the
building still stands. If the building has a purpose, then its long-term
future looks bright. The current plans call for the building to be used
as a depot again, as a display for an extensive model railroad collection,
and as a museum showing the smelter and milling complex. The museum
was able to secure a grant to extend our track into the McGill Depot.
Mechanic's Building and Storeroom
Located just south of the machine shop, the Master Mechanic's building
is in critical condition. It has a suffered fire years ago and repairs
were never made. The structure is suffering old age; the utilities are
poor in the extreme yet it houses the irreplaceable drawings, records,
manuals, and books of the railroad. It is in daily use by the staff
and the volunteers. This building has now moved up on the renovation
list. The renovation will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
It was one of the last structures built by the railroad and it is in
good shape. In the past year, through a generous grant from one our
members, all of the windows in the building have been repaired. The
building is now used for storage and repairing equipment.
The museum is working on this building to convert it to a volunteer
dormitory. So far, this building has received a roof, a door, and window
repairs. This building will need utilities and interior remodeling before
it can be used a dormitory.
Built in 1910, the structure is relatively solid but suffers from needing
Located just east of the machine shop is a small cinder block building
that is the pipe shop. This building has been cleaned up and the windows
have been repaired. This building is now being used to service airbrakes.
Airbrake parts are stored in bins clearly marked and stored neatly.
This is a big help in repairing airbrakes. Prior to this, the airbrake
parts were helter-skelter in multiple locations.
Just west of the depot is a cinder block building that sheltered
the boilers that provided heat to the Depot and Transportation building.
These boilers have long since been out of service. The museum was successful
in receiving grant money to convert this building into ADA restrooms.
This project is scheduled for the spring of 2006.
In conversations with the City Engineer, it was found that to provide
modern fire protection for the complex, about $1.25 million worth of
water improvements are needed. The museum will be investigating different
sources for funding this project. Currently there is only one working
hydrant on the property.
This category is a catch all for the wooden structures that are
scattered through out the yard. None of the buildings is particularly
large. The common traits that they all share are that they were put
up cheaply, have received no maintenance, and now need upgraded roofing,
utilities, window repairs, and paint. The roof of the airbrake building
blew off last September and is still waiting for permanent repairs.
The museum was successful in bringing locomotive 40 back in service
this past year. The reason for this was two fold. First, we needed a
back up to locomotive 93. Customers come to Ely with an expectation
of seeing steam. Secondly, we needed to develop the expertise in-house
to maintain steam locomotives. The 40 project accomplished both goals.
In the long term, we will need to bring locomotive 81 back to service.
The 81 restoration will be from the ground up. There are two aspects
of a steam locomotive: the boiler and the running gear. Both 40 and
93 have had boiler work and they will be compliant with FRA regulations
for the next 15 and 13 years respectively. But both locomotives need
running gear work. In both cases, this work will be expensive. It may
touch $100,000 for each locomotive. By having 81 done from the ground
up, we will then have one locomotive that is completely repaired. Then
we can take either 40 or 93 out of service for running gear work. We
won't have three completely serviceable locomotives until 2009 at the
the diesel locomotive front the news is not much better. All three diesel
locomotives (105, 109, and 204) need extensive work. Current plans call
for 109 to be done first, followed by 204 and 105. To fund this work
we plan to part out two locomotives on the property left by BHP. Neither
locomotive operates nor could without a sizeable cash investment. The
thinking is to use these locomotives to generate cash to maintain the
locomotives that we need.
On the passenger cars, both of the cars need repairs. The museum has
purchased two cars that are in Ohio. We are in the process of bringing
the cars here. This will gives us really only three passenger cars.
The two cars that we currently have are semi-permanently connected together.
The cars cannot be taken apart easily. The coupler between the cars
is a non-standard coupler and will not connect with other equipment
that we have. The danger here is if one car goes down, then we could
lose both cars. Until the new cars get here, our only back up is the
original passenger cars. These cars were bought used by the Nevada Northern
back in 1906. Due to their age, these cars are only used for special
events and do not lend themselves to daily service.
The museum received a generous grant to complete the repairs to
steam wrecking crane A this past spring. This completes a project that
was started years ago.
The museum currently maintains the track to Federal Railroad Administration
Class 2 standards. In the past 21 years, the track has seen minimal
maintenance. Maintenance on the track began two years ago. The museum
now has a two-person team to maintain the track. The backlog of work
is being addressed. But there is a tremendous of amount of work that
needs to be accomplished. The museum will need to purchase ties and
ballast. The track equipment that we have is museum pieces, no pun intended.
We can make them work but they are not production pieces and require
excessive babying to get them to work. Also, the museum sold the ballast
regulator years ago when they needed money. Now we have no way moving
ballast and cleaning the track surface. We need a ballast regulator.
In addition, the hirail vehicles that the museum has are all high mileage
vehicles that need to be replaced.
With support from the E. L. Cord Foundation, White Pine County Tourism
and Recreation Board, and the members of the museum, we were able to
complete the ashpit this year. The completion of this project will save
us manpower and protect the equipment and the track in the yard.
For the first time in the museum's twenty-one year history, we have
a curator. Unfortunately, the lack of a curator over the past years
has harmed the museum deeply. Artifacts are now missing. The curator
is responsible for inventorying the entire property and protecting the
records, artifacts, and fabric of the complex. The job is daunting.