Monday, November 23, 2009

Nevada Northern Railway: Food Train

This past weekend the Nevada Northern Railway held their special food trains. The price of admission to ride the train was canned food that would be donated to the Food Pantry to help those who needed food for Thanksgiving.

I took Desert Boy and three of his cousins. Desert Boy had ridden the train in May, and since then whenever we go to Ely we have to at least go and look at the trains.

The train was a lot colder in November than May, but we had warm coats, a blanket, and sat close to the wood-burning stove in the passenger car.

We pulled out of the train yard with Desert Boy making additional train noises. He sure likes the train whistle--"choo choo."

The train took us along nearly the entire length of the town of Ely, and I found it fascinating to look at the town from that perspective. The town seemed longer by train than by car, and the slow speed meant we could look the entire time and take it all in.

We passed the Renaissance Village, an architectural reconstruction of the town's early mining days.

The village was larger than I had expected, and seeing it made me really want to go and explore it. An adventure for another day!

We also got to see some of the town's brothels. This is an area of Nevada where they are legal. In the above photo, the Big Four Ranch brothel is in the foreground. In the background is the old football field and a kids' playground.

The Stardust Ranch is also in the neighborhood.

Here you can see some of the local businesses along main street.

Then we headed out of Ely and through an old tunnel.

Desert Boy has been watching the PBS kids' show Dinosaur Train, and he called the tunnel the time tunnel. His cousins had fun listening to and encouraging him. They kept spotting dinosaurs running away on the surrounding hills.

It was quite dark in the tunnel.

Eventually we came out the other side.

We found we hadn't traveled back to the Jurassic, instead we had traveled to the North Pole! Next weekend the train begins its Polar Express train rides, where Santa is waiting at the North Pole and there is hot chocolate and cookies for everyone. Sounds fun.

We continued further up the canyon, heading towards the town of Ruth, where the huge copper mines are located. Many of the pennies made before 1982 contain copper from these mines.

Before we got there, though, we saw plenty of other mining activity, reminding us why Nevada is nicknamed the Silver State. Mining is still a huge component of the economy.

The kids had to rest a little--seeing so much and the mesmerizing clickety clack of the wheels on the track made the train a good place for a little snooze.

As we got close to one of the huge mine tailings, we saw a mega-dump truck dump some of the overburden on top of one of the piles.

Then we went past some old, abandoned mine shafts.

This one had an interesting looking gate on it.

We ventured outside periodically, where the view was much better, but it was also much colder.

The train stopped under the bridge, and then we backed up on a side rail and turned around.

On the way back down, I noticed this sign above my nephew's head. It says "Nevada Brothel Owners' Assn. Supporting the Olympics in the spirit of the Old West. For historical or public relations tours please call..." Although I've mostly gotten used to living in Nevada, every once in awhile there's something that makes me blink twice.

The train has quite a few signs on it from when Salt Lake City hosted the Olympics in 2002.

It was relaxing riding back down the canyon...

...and going through town again.

We saw some really nice meadows and a stream running through them. In the background of the above photo is the train depot and shop.

Our train ride ended, and we had to get off the Ghost Train and reenter normal life in the current time period. It was a wonderful trip, and we were really surprised that more people hadn't taken advantage of it.

The Nevada Northern Railway will continue to have special train rides on selected weekends in the winter, and then when the weather warms up will go back to a six-day-a-week schedule. It is really a neat experience, and I look forward to the next ride. All Aboard!


Gayle A. Robison, DVM said...

Oh, that looks like MAJOR fun! All the times I've been to Ely, we never once did the train ride. And I also had no idea there were brothels in town!

Next time I get there, the train is on my do list. And a visit to the Renaissance Village, which I have heard about but didn't know much about.

jendoop said...

My little one loves Dino Train too. She would love a train ride like this!

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