By Mark Bassett
Railroading is dangerous, it is an unfortunate fact that people die railroading. That statement is true today and it was especially true over a century ago, men died working on the Nevada Northern Railway and they have never left.
If you spend any time around the railroad complex, you will discover our ghosts. Most of the people who work or volunteer at the railroad have at one time or another experienced something spooky. They have seen apparitions or have witnessed items being thrown around the shop. In the railyard, people have seen lantern lights and when they went to investigate, the lights just disappear.
There have been experiences reported in the East Ely Depot, a woman appears in a 1920s traveling outfit in the Men’s Waiting Room (yes there are men’s and women’s waiting rooms in the depot.) The apparition looks around, walks through a couple of walls into the Women’s Waiting Room and then disappears.
The ghost in the Transportation Building has been around and active for such a long time, he has a nickname – Bob. I don’t know why Bob, the staff nicknamed him years ago. Bob is somewhat active, you will hear doors open and close, hear footsteps when nobody is around, but his most interesting trick is making the old telegraph sounder go off. We have one on display, with NO wires attached and every once in a while, the key will activate and we’ll hear a message being received in Morse code.
There other hotspots of activity are Coach 5, the machine shop and the engine house. Coach 5 was built in 1882 and was used by the Union Pacific Railroad before it arrived on the Nevada Northern Railway. Now you need to remember that both railroads carried a lot of immigrant families. It appears that Coach 5 has a resident little boy that loves playing games with our ghost detectors. He is very mischievous as you would expect a young boy to be.
If the railroad has a hot spot for paranormal activity, it the machine shop and the engine house complex. Engine crews signing out after a hot day of railroading have experienced cold spots at the sign out station. In the machine shop wrenches have been thrown when no one is about. The engine house has its fair share of stores too. Apparitions will appear in the cab of the steam locomotive as if they are getting ready to move the locomotive. Other apparitions have appeared on the floor inspecting the locomotive. The eeriest story from the engine house is that some teenagers found that the engine house was unlocked, and they thought they would go in and check it out. As they walked into the engine house, an engineer appeared wearing the striped hat and bibs asking in a loud voice, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?” At first the teenagers thought it was one of the workers. They went to answer, when they noticed, the lower half of the engineer’s body was missing! Instead of saying anything, they turned around and ran out of the engine house.
The nickname of the railroad is the Ghost Train of Old Ely. We thought it was time to share our ghosts with the public. Starting this year, we are offering Haunted Ghost Walking Tours of the railroad grounds. Will you see a ghost? There is no guarantee, our ghosts have a mind of their own. This Friday and Saturday October 4th and 5th at 6 pm is the first ever Haunted Ghost Walking Tour. Additional tours are scheduled for October 11th 12th, 28th, 29th and 30th. Tickets are Adult $16 and Children (4-12) $8.
These tours will start at 6 pm and take you inside the engine house, around the rail yard and even inside a Coach 5. You will hear the stories of the railroad, who knows, maybe you will even see who is still around! Haunted Ghost Walking Tours are limited in size due to walking around the yard after dark. Please make sure to have your tickets ahead of time. Tours start at 6 pm. Please wear closed toe shoes (no flip flops or sandals) and bring a jacket or sweater.