The Nevada Northern Railway Museum is thrilled to announce it’s bringing one of its original diesel locomotives back home to Ely after nearly four decades.
Locomotive 201 was loaded in a special transport trailer in Snoqualmie, Washington, on Nov. 3 to start its 845 mile journey back to Ely.
The trailer has 96 wheels on it. Each wheel set can turn independently, to do so there are three pony engines to provide the power. The drivers check the tires twice a day. The entire rig is 252 feet long and 17 feet wide. To put that in perspective an interstate lane is 12 feet wide.
The drivers have 1,200 horsepower to move the locomotive. Locomotive 201 is sitting on a bridge that can be raised and lowered. This will allow it to go under highway bridges.
This is not going to be a quick trip, the weight of the locomotive is close to 100 tons. The drivers estimate their top speed at 35 mph, going over the mountain passes their speed will be 5-10 miles per hour.
The trip to Ely will not set any land speed records. The routing is from Snoqualmie on I-90, then south along I-82, to I-84 to US 93 to Ely. An arrival date has not been set yet.
Locomotives 201 was purchased by the Kennecott Copper Corporation for operation on the NNRY in 1951. The locomotive was in Ely until 1982, just before the railroad shut down.
“Locomotive 201 is one-of-a-kind locomotive, it is the last remaining ALCO RSD-4 out of only 38 that were built,” said Mark Bassett, Nevada Northern Railway president. “It has a story to tell and it’s tied to the early days of dieselization of the Nevada Northern Railway. We are already learning part of that story. Individuals who operated it, have told us that it was a rough riding locomotive and not a favorite of the crews.”
Bassett added, “Our plan is to restore Locomotive 201 back to operation. That’s what we do. You can go to other railroad museums and they have very pretty stuff. But it doesn’t move. We pride ourselves on not only restoring these living artifacts, but passing down the knowledge of how to do so from generation to generation.”