The History Channel has been the home to some hit TV shows recently. This all started with the ever-too-popular show “Pawn Stars”. Pawn Stars is based out Gold and Silver Pawn on Las Vegas Blvd, less than 2 miles from the strip. During the show, they have experts come in and appraise historacal items from the show, and once in a while, they have items restored by a guy named Rick Dale. This eventually lead to Rick Dale having his own show on the history, as a direct spinn-off of Pawn Stars. In this particualr episode, Rick sends his son, Tyler, and his soon-to-be-stepson, Brettly, to East Ely, Nevada to pick up a piece from the Nevada Northern Railway Museum. Once there, Mark, the curator of the Museum, decides to take Tyler and Brettly to the piece he wants restored, a Speeder powered by an 8-cylinder Ford Flat-Top engine. To get to the piece, they travel aboard Nevada Northern Railway ALCo RS3 #109. In the first shop to the ALCo, you also see Nevada Northern SD9 #204. We will look into BOTH of these locomotives.
Lets first look at the RS3. The locomotive was built by the American Locomotive Company in Schenectady, New York in November 1950. She was built for the Kennecott Copper Corperation for use on the KCC’s Nevada Northern Operation. She has spent her entire life on the NN and is used frequently on the tourist trains operated by the Museum. She was built with the serial number of 78426. She is one of several dozxen RS3’s still operating. Of all the RS series locomotive built by ALCo, the RS3 is the most recognized, and was also the most popular model, with the perfect amount of Horsepower for the railroads who were dieselizing at the time. A total of 1,370 were built for use in the United States. The Montreal Locomotive Works, also built 40 units for use in Brazil. In an interesting piece of information that I learned while working on this story is that 5 Units were also burchased by Ferrocarril de Langreo for use in Spain. 4 units came from my hometown, and favorite railroad, The Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis, while the 5th unit was purchased from the Great Northern Railroad. These 5 units served until 1986 when the railroad converted track guages.
Here is a photo of Nevada Northern 109 when she was still in full KCCX Paint in 1983
Here is a photo of the 109 looks today.
Now that we covered the ALCo RS3, lets concetrate on the locomotive that was sitting behind her, Nevada Northern SD9 #204.
The 204 was built by the Electro-Motive Division in La Grange, Illinois in February of 1956. With the Frame number of 5435-5 and seriel number of 21293, the locomotive emerged from the paint shop in a splending coat of Black, Red, Silver and Orange of the Southern Pacific’s Black Widow paint. She was delivered to the railroad with the road number of 5468. She carried this number for a number of years until a mid 1960’s renumbering, and repainting into the more Brad grey and Red “Bloody Nose” paint scheme that replaced the Black Widow scheme in the Early 1960’s. When she re-emerged from the shops in Sacramento, CA, she carried the road number of SP 4426. She carried this number until retired by the Southern Pacific shortly before the Merger with Union Pacific in 1995. She was sold the BHP Iron Ore for use on the Nevada Northern Railway. Kennecot Copper had sold the railroad to BHP sometime before the unit came to the property. The Locomotive was then retired again when BHP shut down the railroad and the line became part of the Nevada Northern Railway Museum in the early part of this century. Please correct me if this information is not correct!
Here is a photo of SP 4426 in 1978
Here is a photo of the unit as it looks today on the Nevada Northern Railroad.
Lets hope there wont be another long pause between updates!