to return to:
Elko County, Nevada
is the Spanish word for copper. Which gives you a fairly significant
clue to where this page is going. On September 9, 1905, Cobre
station was established as the railroad siding where the Nevada Northern
Railroad (from the copper mines at Ely) meet the Southern Pacific main-line
(about 20 miles south of Montello). In 1910 Cobre reached its peak at a
resident population of 60. It contained three bars. The
population slowly declined over the next few decades as passenger service on
the train from Cobre to Ely declined - people preferred the automobile (Henry
Ford Began Mass Production of Automobile in 1913) or bus to Ely instead of
the train. The Southern
Pacific Railroad abandoned Cobre Station in November 1948. The post
office closed on May 21, 1956. Ore shipments continued through the ghost
town of Cobre siding until the smelter closed in Ely in June 20, 1983.
Now only foundations of the older town remain. A cinderblock maintenance
building built in the 1960s remains. The tracks of the Nevada Northern
Railroad remain on the grade. They no longer connect to the
main-line. The Nevada Northern Railway is currently being offered for
sale by the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power Company.
Topographic Map of Cobre (1982)
Water Tower. The NVGHOSTTOWNS.COM
contains a wonderful 1930s photo of the water tower and depot.
tracks - looking east. The cinderblock maintenance building is
on the right,
tracks - looking west, sidewalk of depot is on the left. A mile
or so down these tracks is the old ghost town of Toano
and Toano cemetery.
RR tie building
(shed) at Cobre
terminus of the Nevada Northern Railroad. Red shack and Cinderblock
car at Cobre
tank at Cobre
Northern Railway grade where it crosses the paved road between Oasis
is a grabbing of interesting information about Cobre:
to the Northern
Nevada Railway site (last of the Bonanza Railways page)
Requa, son of the wealthy Comstock silver magnate, owned the
Eureka & Palisade Railroad, a narrow gauge connecting the
mining area of Eureka with the Central
Pacific Railway (Southern Pacific) at Palisade. Requa was
interested in bolstering the sagging economy of the E & P
and he explored the local copper properties at Ely, with an
extenuation of the E & P in mind. He organized the White
Pine Copper Company and soon found need for a substantial
E & P narrow gauge and an extenuation of 77 miles would
require track construction over four mountain passes exceeding
7,000 feet. A route directly from Ely to the Central Pacific
(Southern Pacific) would require 140 miles of track
construction, but it could be constructed along the level
Steptoe Valley all the way. In 1904 Requa hired Adolph Judell
to make a preliminary survey from Wells on the CP to Ely. An
easier and more direct route to the CP was run to Cobra
(Spanish for copper). That same year Requa s White Pine Copper
Company merged into other mining properties and the combined
firms reorganized as the Nevada Consolidated Copper Company (NCCCo.).
Requa was named Vice president and general manager.
May 1905, the White Pine County Commissioners granted NCCCo. a
right of way through the downtown streets of Ely to Robinson
Canyon, for a railline to reach the mines. On June 1, 1905,
the Nevada Northern Railway Company was incorporated under the
general laws of the State of Maine, with offices in Portland.
By June 14, the railway began business by issuing $3 million
in capital stock to NCCCo. to finance construction of the
line. By August 1905, the final survey was completed and on
September 11 the Utah Construction Co. began construction at
Cobre. By March 1906, the Guggenheim interests of New York
obtained control of NCCCo."
to the Nevada
Northern & Railroads of White Pine County Site
(Omar) was established in 1905 as the NN northern terminus and
interchange with the Southern Pacific. 1910 witnessed a
population of 60 and arguably, Cobre's zenith, as it boasted
three saloons. Over the next few decades the population
declined together with passenger service. SP abandoned the
station in Nov 1948 and the post office closed 31 May 1956,
although ore shipments continued until the closing of the NN.
A cinder block engine house built in the 1960s still
A Nevada Northern Railway History
Nevada Northern Railway Company was formally incorporated on
June 1, 1905 and a contract was given to the Utah Construction
Company to build the line from Steptoe Valley to Cobre.
The steel rails were ordered from the Fuel & Iron Company
at Pueblo, Colorado and the ties came from local sources
around Ogden, Utah.
began on September 9, 1905. Heavy snows that winter
stopped the work for long periods. Two feet of snow fell in
Ely on May 31, 1906. Regular service to Currie,
Nevada, 63 miles from Cobre occurred on June 2, 1906.
Cherry Creek, Nevada, twenty-eight miles further south,
celebrated the tracks arrival on July 16, 1906."
Northern & Railroads of White Pine County Site, NNRY
Passenger Service Page - Brief History of Nevada Northern's
Passenger Service we discover
service on the Nevada Northern Railway spanned a period of 35
years from 1906 to 1941. Over that time, in excess of 4.6
million passengers rode the Great Basin desert rails.
first passenger train operated on 22 May 1906. A special run
for Mark Requa and his guests was made over the 63 miles from
Cobre to Currie, while the remaining line south of Currie was
still under construction.
scheduled passenger trains and RPO service between Cobre and
Ely were discontinued after 31 July 1941"
Northern & Railroads of White Pine County Site, Nevada
Northern Railway Company - A Concise History 1906 - 1983 and
to the present we get this
1920, Nevada Con assumed operations of the ore line; the
Nevada Northern Railway retained its role as a common carrier.
The ore line trackage remained the property of the Nevada
Northern Railway, and a trackage agreement allowed Nevada Con
to operate ore trains. Nevada Con train crews operated the ore
trains while management was provided by the Nevada Northern
Railway. A substantial portion of the Nevada Northern
locomotives and rolling stock was sold to Nevada Con at this
Copper Corporation (KCC) acquired full control of Nevada Con
in 1933. The name was changed to KCC Nevada Mines Division
a full ten years later. Meanwhile, regularly scheduled
passenger service between Cobre and Ely was discontinued in
mines were closed in 1978 and the KCC ore trains to McGill
were discontinued. The McGill smelter closed on 20 June 1983,
followed one day later by cessation of all Nevada Northern
W. Toll's Ely Site
ore mined from the Copper mines at Ely went by Nevada Northern
Railway train past the depot and shops in East Ely to the
smelter at McGill, where it was processed into "blister
copper." This was poured in 60-lb. cakes and hauled north
to the main line of the S.P. When the cars returned, they
brought coal to fire the enormous power generation plant. All
that is in the past tense, however. In 1978 the copper mines
closed, the smelter closed, the railroad closed, and most of
Kennecott's 1500 local employees were laid off."
we read from the American
Short-line and Regional Railroad Association:
Nevada Northern Railway, 128 miles of railway connecting
McGill Junction to Cobre, Nevada, is being offered for sale by
the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power.
Interested parties should contact John L. Aguilar, Coal
Transportation Manager, by phone at (213) 367-0424, or by
e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org."
Additional Information: Northeastern
If you know or would like to add anything about this page,
please let me know.
© 2002 - Elko Rose Garden Association
Recent Photos by Dan Turner 5/19/02