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13th Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest The American Experience
Working on the Railroad

I spent a weekend at the Northern Nevada Railway – a national historic landmark. This railroad features a working railyard and train rides pulled by century-old steam engines. I met, Zak, a trained blacksmith who was working as an apprentice at the railroad for the summer. The blacksmith profession is a declining profession but very important for the railroad industry. Being a blacksmith for a historic railroad, Zak still uses a coal-fired forge, hammering metal pieces to build or repair equipment. Zak’s main task is to repair and fabricate unique and one-of-a-kind pieces to keep the engines and rolling stock operational. The railroad was built in 1905/1906 to support the copper mining in the area. Today passenger excursions are offered between Ruth, Ely, and McGill.

Photo Detail
Date Taken: 05.2015
Date Uploaded: 11.2015
Photo Location: Ely, Nevada, United States of America
Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Copyright: © Sandy Powell