A New Chapter for the Nevada – California – Oregon Railway

It is with great pleasure that we announce the newest railroad preservation society in the western states: the Nevada-California-Oregon Railway. As an historical society, we are dedicated to preserving the legacy of the three-foot narrow gauge railway that ran from Reno, Nevada to Lakeview, Oregon and through Sierra Valley to Clio.

Our focus on this 50 year narrative of the region’s history will allow us to go deeper into the records of one of the longest narrow gauge railroads in the country. We are excited to pick up and continue the work of historians David Myrick and Tom Armstrong. Using their research as a foundation to build from, we will look into the lives of those who helped build the railroad and explore the communities the N-C-O Ry. connected to the world by rail.

Alturas California Depot
N-C-O Ry depot in Alturas. Now home to the Alturas Garden Club.

Headquartered in Alturas, CA, we are fortunate to be surrounded by several of the remaining facilities once built and occupied by the N-C-O Ry. after its move from Reno, NV. in 1917. The administration building, in its unique mission-revival architecture, the last remaining employee house, the engine shop where many of the later rolling stock were built, the pump house that supplied water to locomotives and facilities, the freight depot and passenger depot, all standing as reminders of an earlier time.

We will be partnering with other organizations and individuals to create a robust online collection of documents, photos, and stories to share. We also are working with private owners to acquire and preserve the remaining rolling stock and equipment to help bring the N-C-O Ry. to life. Like most railroads of its time, The N-C-O Ry. purchased many of their rolling stock second hand. Many of the surviving passenger cars represent a wide spectrum of late 19th century railcar manufacturers, including: Carter Brothers, American Car & Foundry, Kimball Carriage & Car Manufacturing, J. G. Brill & Company, Harlan & Hollingsworth, and even an in-house built car by N-C-O Reno shops.

As we pick up the mantle of storyteller for this region’s unique railroad history, we cannot help but be drawn to the colorful story of building and operating of the N-C-O Ry. As we work out the details and build from the pieces of what happened in our not-so-distant past, we are reminded that history is not just a set of dates and facts, but a continuing process of inquiry and debate. A process that brings to the heart of our work the names and faces of those who came before us, and how this region evolved to its present state.

As the Board of Directors of the newly formed Nevada-California-Oregon Railway, we are excited to get this organization moving forward! A few projects are in the works, and we will be pleased to share with all of you as we make progress in the coming weeks. So join us as we dive into the history of the N-C-O Ry. by exploring our website, subscribing to our E-Blasts, and following us on Facebook.