BHP Nevada Railroad

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BHP Nevada Railroad
Reporting mark BHP
Locale Northern Nevada Shafter - Ely
Dates of operation January 1996–July 9, 1999
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Headquarters Ruth, Nevada

The BHP Nevada Railroad (reporting mark BHP) was a shortline railroad that operated in Nevada from 1996 to 1999. BHP acquired the line from the Nevada Northern Railway. The railroad hauled copper ore concentrate from BHP's concentrator at Riepetown to Shafter, Nevada. At Shafter the railroad interchanged with the Union Pacific and the ore continued to BHP's smelter at San Manuel, Arizona. The railroad was owned by Broken Hill Proprietary Company (BHP), an Australian-based company that purchased the Robinson copper mining district in Ely from Magma Copper. The line ran south from a connection with the Union Pacific at Shafter to Ely.

Recent plans by Sierra Pacific Resources for the construction of the "Ely Energy Center", a 2,500 megawatt coal-fired generating plant near Ely, are raising the possibility that the railroad may see yet another revival, this time carrying inbound loads of coal to White Pine County.[1] Also, since it will be serving the same general area as the newly reopened copper mines, the copper companies may take advantage of the line being rebuilt too by once again hauling by train, if the line is ever reopened.


For road use the BHP used five former Southern Pacific Railroad EMD SD9 locomotives built between 1954 - 1956 to operate over the line. They were numbered #201 - 205. For switching and local operations the railroad used two GE 70-ton switchers from the Santa Maria Valley Railroad. The BHP also had one ALCO RS-3. The switchers were also built in the 1950s and BHP numbered them #12 and #13.

Nevada Northern Railway Museum[edit]

Passenger train at the East Ely depot (September 29, 2007).

The railroad ended up[when?] turning over its locomotives and rolling stock to the Nevada Northern Railway Museum as part of a settlement over their track lease agreement.

A small portion of the BHP was operated over the Nevada Northern Railway Museum tracks with trackage rights between East Ely and Ruth. The line was abandoned in 1999 when copper mining was discontinued, however, in 2004, new copper mines were reopened, and this time hauled copper by truck. The disused line between Ely and Cobre was acquired by the city of Ely in 2006.


Stations, listed from north to south:

  • Shafter, Nevada (connection with the Union Pacific Railroad, former Western Pacific)
  • Decoy
  • Dolly Varden
  • Mizpah
  • Currie
  • Goshute
  • Greens
  • Cherry Creek
  • Schellbourne (Ray)
  • Requa (Raiff)
  • Warm Springs
  • Steptoe
  • Glenn
  • McGill Junction
  • J&M Spur
  • Hiline Junction (Hi Line Junction)
  • Mosier
  • East Ely
  • Ore Yard
  • Calumet
  • Tunnel 1
  • Lane
  • Keystone
  • Lone Tree Road
  • Ruth
  • Sunshine
  • Tripp Pit
  • Riepetown

See also[edit]


Specific references:

General references: