The Ely Times

Jenny Kendrick
From left, Angela Stevens, trainmaster; Kevin Martinez, Kinross employee & longtime railroad volunteer; Bruce Thieking, Kinross Bald Mountain Mine’s general manager; F. Michael Hughes, locomotive engineer; Chris Nally, locomotive fireman; John Henry McDonnell, shop foreman; Mark Bassett, foundation president; Lennox Purinton, intern.

Nevada Northern Railway was selected to receive a $50,000 donation from Kinross Bald Mountain Mine to support the railway’s Phoenix Dare Challenge, a fundraising effort to raise $100,000 by Jan. 1, to help keep the historic national landmark’s steam trains in operation. 

“Steam locomotives are magnificent, but they are very expensive to operate,” said Nevada Northern Railway president, Mark Bassett. “The money raised from the Phoenix Dare Challenge will directly fund the renovation of one of our steam locomotives that is currently inoperable.” 

Kinross Bald Mountain’s generous investment helped the railway attain their Phoenix Dare Challenge goal, raising $100,000, which will be matched by First National Bank of Ely and anonymous donors. 

The funds raised will help the museum bring back to life a historic Nevada treasure, Locomotive 81, a steam train built 102 years ago that hasn’t run since 1959. 

Locomotive 81’s boiler has been completely inspected and it will next receive new boiler tubes. The running gear will get new rod pins, crown and side brasses, rod brasses, shoes and wedges that will bring the iron horse to par with 21st century operations. 

The goal is to have her ready to roll in 2020.

 “Bald Mountain Mine always looks for opportunities to invest in the communities where we do business. We are a White Pine County mine and are pleased to have this opportunity to invest in the economic sustainability of the city of Ely. The trains are very popular amongst our employees and this donation was initiated by a mine employee.  This is a great investment for our mine and we’re very happy to be making it,” said Kinross Bald Mountain Mine general manager, Bruce Thieking. 

Nevada Northern Railway provides educational adventure through hundreds of hands-on, year-round events. During the last 30 years 289,399 passengers have ridden Nevada Northern Railway trains and it’s estimated that each hour a locomotive is hot accounts for up to three hours of maintenance.