2012 Nevada-Mojave Trip


Part Three: steam trains and old mines!

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McEllen Canyon, NV

The second night of my trip was spent at the Belmont Mine, in the Hamilton mining district. This is a really great site located at the 8700’ level of the mountainside, with an aerial tram that carried ore down to the mill in the lower end of McEllen Canyon.

I’ve been to this mine many times before so I didn’t get any new photos of it on this trip. If you’d like to see my photos of this mine from previous trips, go to these pages:

Hamilton District - Belmont Mill, NV 

Hamilton District - Belmont Mine, NV 

In the morning I spent a little time exploring the upper end of McEllen Canyon. Here I found the remains of an old car body (right), possibly a Model T; and a small wooden cabin (above).

I passed the Belmont Mill as I left the area, and found some construction work being done on it. Apparently this is part of a preservation effort, and not a moment too soon. As you can see in this photo (below), the tram terminal which comprises the top of the mill building, is noticeably sagging and will soon collapse unless repairs are made.

McCormick-Deering Tractor

On my way to Ely I spotted this old McCormick-Deering tractor displayed near the railroad tracks a few miles west of Ely.

I don’t know what year or model it is, but I shot plenty of detailed photos, which may be useful to modelers.

Nevada Northern Railway Museum

One of the best attractions in Nevada is the Nevada Northern Railway museum in Ely, NV with its two operational steam locomotives. This year I arrived just in time for the first and only steam-powered run of the day. Once again, they were using engine #40, a 4-6-0 type locomotive built by Baldwin in 1910. The engine was hissing and steaming in front of the old depot, and passengers were boarding.

There was a brief delay due to an overheated injector. After fussing with it a bit, the crew decided to back the train a short distance to where a hose could be used to cool the injector. With that problem solved, the train backed away from the station and started its trip to the Keystone wye near Ruth, a distance of about 7 miles.

I chased the train there and back, leapfrogging it so as to get as multiple opportunities for photography. As usual there never seemed to be enough time to get set up and compose each shot before the train passed by, but I managed to get some pretty good video. I even got a brief “pacing” video.

I edited my best clips into a single video a little over 11 minutes long:

For those with slower connections, I also put together a 5-minute version with shorter clips and fewer scene, which you can see here:    http://youtu.be/Oou6JSwXuL0

You can also visit Ray’s YouTube Channel to see the more of my videos.

Keystone, NV

At the outbound end of its run, the train is turned on a wye near the site of Keystone, NV. This was an early mining settlement. There only remaining structure is a crumbling miner’s cabin at the base of Keystone Hill (right).

The tracks pass by this cabin just a short distance away. Those onboard the train are treated to descriptions of the various sites along the way. According to that narration, this cabin was once used by newlywed couples and became known as the “honeymoon cottage”.

I could only get a couple photos of this cabin due to fencing and the thick brush surrounding the ruins.

Star Mine, NV (Cherry Creek District)

The Star Mine was one of the major mines north of Cherry Creek, NV. It’s located in the foothills of the Cherry Creek Range, just south of Exchequer Canyon. The lower Star Mine area includes a flooded tunnel at the base of the mountain with a stream of water flowing from it. (A small ditch transports this water down to a ranch in the valley.) Nearby is a row of wooden ore bins and a powder magazine. Going up the road from there, I found the remains of a stone cabin and the stone foundations of several larger buildings.

Left: A tiny, colorful wasp clings to a sage near the stone cabin.

Farther up the road was a pair of unusual ore bins made of logs (below), and the remains of other structures. There were numerous mines and prospects all through this area. Most of them I could not identify, and few had any sign of structures, so I’ve lumped them all under the “Star Mine” heading.

Many of the mines in the area had new, garish plastic fences, recently installed by the Forest Service.

Right: A piece of an antique bottle lies near a colorful rock in the upper Star Mine area.

Below: A tipped over outhouse in the upper Star Mine area.

(As usual, you can click on these photos to see more images.)

Exchequer Canyon and the New Century Mine, NV

The Star Mine area is bounded on the north by Exchequer Canyon. Heading up this canyon, the first thing I came to was this pair of old tunnel with pipes protruding from them (right). The larger, lower tunnel is flooded, with the water forming a small pond in front of the mines. The pipes were added at some later time, apparently to supply water to some distant location.

A short distance further up the canyon, I came to the New Century Mine (below). This appears to be an older mine that was modernized with new structures and reworked.  Despite these improvements, the mine has obviously been unused for many years.

As I left the Cherry Creek region, I spotted a small herd of antelope. They quickly ran off and I was only able to get this one poor photo, below:

My last photos of the day were of this gorgeous sunset. After stopping in Ely to refuel, I drove south long into the night, finally arriving at my next destination -- a terrific old mine in southeastern Nevada.

Go to Page 4 to read more about my 2012 Nevada trip:

Nevada Trip 2012 Part Four

More great stuff ahead!

Go Back To Part Two

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Note to modelers:

Many of the structures I’ve photographed would make great additions to your model railroad. It is my hope that these photos can be a useful reference resource. If you need larger, higher resolution images, just let me know. Also, in some cases I have additional detail photos that have not been posted online.

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