A ROUND ABOUT WAY TO BUILD A TURNTABLE
The Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad is excited to announce the return of its Narrow Gauge Railroad excursion and the launching of the Railroad Turntable Project: an accumulation of two years worth of work laying and repairing track from the Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad and Transportation Museum down to the Northern Queen Inn in Nevada City, California.
Walking distance from historic downtown Nevada City, our museum addition is destined to be an economic stimulator, as well as a pivotal historic and tourist attraction for the community.
This is an incredible collaboration between the Narrow Gauge Museum, The Northern Queen, and the soon-to-open Inn Town Campround owned by Dan and Erin Thiem (owners of The Outside Inn). This 70 campsite (http://inntowncampground.com) includes a Chinese cemetery and defunct mine shafts and the Thiems are giving access to the Railroad Museum railroad tracks.
OUR MUSEUM HISTORY
Our railroad and transportation museum began as the Nevada County Historical Society’s “Friends of the Narrow Gauge” and later the “Transportation Museum Division” in August 1983. The museum made five different attempts to establish an operating museum railroad beginning with the Nevada County Fairgrounds, Chicago Park, Railroad Ave. in Nevada City, the Pinewoods site in Nevada County and eventually with success in 2000 with the construction of our current museum located at #5 Kidder Court in Nevada City, CA.
The Transportation Museum opened its doors in 2003 while the Northern Queen Inn had previously adopted the operating tourist railroad concept and utilized much of the museum’s track materials. Post the 2007-8 financial crisis the Northern Queen Inn fell upon hard times and in 2009 ceased rail operations. With enthusiasm from the new owner of the Northern Queen Inn and easement allowance from its new neighbors next door, the “Inn Town Campground,” the museum is able to re-establish the narrow gauge railroad from the railroad museum. The final key to the project is the turntable itself!
Through your generous donations as rail fans and historical minded public, the Turntable Project will allow us to turn around our rail buses at the museum site and head down to the Northern Queen Inn to pick up passengers to visit the museum. Patrons can then return on a complete one and one third mile historic ride depicting Nevada County’s early railroad history. The rail bus operation will also compliment the City of Nevada City’s vision of historical preservation, providing visitors a unique experience of living history of our gold rush era town, and a unique opportunity for economic development!
TRAIN HISTORY OF NEVADA COUNTY, CALIFORNIA
The Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad began operations 1876 to provide reliable year-round transportation tothe rich mining districts of western Nevada County, California. The original twenty-two and a half mile route began in Nevada City, traveled to the railroad's headquarters in Grass Valley, and then on to Colfax for connections to the Central Pacific. During sixty-six years of colorful operation, it hauled out more than two hundred million dollars ($200,000,000) worth of gold while bringing in mining machinery, lumber, petroleum products and all of the essentials necessary to maintain the thriving county. Thousands rode its first class passenger trains, mixed trains, and the occasional special excursions.
Affectionately known as the "Never Come, Never Go", the railroad's reliable service, combined with the prosperity of the mines, helped Nevada County avoid hard times during the Great Depression of the 1930's. The narrow gauge route boasted the highest railroad bridge in California for its time (the 1908 Bear River Bridge), and was the first railroad in the U.S. to have a woman president (Sarah Kidder, 1901-1913). The outbreak of World War II led to the closure of the gold mines and, with its major customers gone, the railroad was scrapped in 1942.
Risks and challenges
While there are risks to completing the turntable, it is being built as this campaign is being launched. These are the last remaining funds needed. Construction is currently under way for the rail lines as well. Barring economic downturn or unforeseen circumstances, the full functioning museum should be capable of expanding this enterprise!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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