Nevada Northern Railway’s $100,000 Phoenix Challenge Keeps History Alive and Helps Future Generations Develop Engineering Skills

Nevada Northern Railway’s $100,000 Phoenix Challenge Keeps History Alive and Helps Future Generations Develop Engineering Skills
Nevada Northern Railway
 has launched the third annual Phoenix Challenge in partnership with First National Bank of Ely and anonymous donors, who will match up to $100,000 raised by Dec. 31, 2018. 

All membership fees, renewals and additional donations will be put toward the railway’s third regenerative project that will upgrade Locomotive 81, which hasn’t been worked on since 1949. Removing old parts, cleaning and replacing them will make the iron horse operational in 2020 and ensure Nevada Northern Railway’s longevity.

Nevada Northern Railway’s $100,000 Phoenix Challenge Keeps History Alive and Helps Future Generations Develop Engineering Skills
Nevada Northern Railway’s $100,000 Phoenix Challenge Keeps History Alive and Helps Future Generations Develop Engineering Skills

Rising from the Ashes

The Phoenix Challenge was inspired by the mythological regenerative bird dying by fire and rising from the ashes, much like the life cycle of steam locomotives; and much like the challenges that Nevada Northern Railway has overcome since 2008, when the steam engine was out of commission and the railway museum took an economic hit as a result.

Each time Nevada Northern Railway lights a fire in a steam locomotive it consumes a portion of the machine. Steam engines die over time but with hard work, engineering knowledge and plenty of funding, they can rise from the ashes and be reborn for future generations to learn from and enjoy.

In 2008 Nevada Northern Railway did not have a functioning steam locomotive, which is the most popular draw for visitors. The result was a 30 percent decrease in ridership and a 40 percent decrease in overall revenue. The Phoenix Challenge was created to raise crucial funding so Nevada Northern Railway can continue to operate for the public and train future mechanical engineers.

Every Donation Makes a Difference

Ten years later, initiatives like the Phoenix Challenge, combined with incredible hard work from staff and volunteers, have grown Nevada Northern Railway’s annual ridership by 58 percent and increased its annual income by 70 percent.

This month every dollar Nevada Northern Railway receives will be matched, up to $100,000, to pay for Locomotive 81’s renovations, ensuring the railway has a functioning steam train in 2020, when the existing steamer will be down for its required two years of maintenance.

Nevada Northern Railway is accepting dollars contributed toward the Phoenix Challenge or allows donors to choose specific train parts they’d like donate like new rod pins, crown and side brasses, rod brasses, shoes and wedges. The renovation grand total is $114,465.44 and no matter the amount, every donation adds up to make a huge difference. With no government funding, Nevada Northern Railway is grateful for all of the members, volunteers and donors who help it thrive. Visit www.nnry.com or call 775-289-2085 to learn more and make a donation.

The Nevada Northern Railway Museum is a designated National Historic Landmark.  Voted the state’s Best Rural Museum and the Best Place to Take the Kids by readers of Nevada Magazine, the Nevada Northern Railway Museum also has been featured on Modern Marvels, American Restorations and on PBS. For more information, call 775-289-2085, log onto www.nnry.com or to get the latest news “Like” the Railway’s Facebook page.