The Nevada Central Railroad

The Nevada Central Railway was a narrow gauge railway that connected the silver mines at Austin, NV with the Transcontinental Railroad at Battle Mountain, NV, a distance of 93 miles.

Nevada Central Railroad, Engine #5, ca. 1890. University of Nevada-Reno Collection.


Built in 1880, the line was a little late to the silver boom, which ended in the late 1880’s. The line had been approved by the Nevada Legislature in 1874, but construction wouldn't even begin until late in 1878. 

Unfortunately for the railroad, it only gained profitability if the mines at Austin were producing full loads, which was rarely the case. In 1881, it was sold to the Union Pacific Railroad, with whom it interchanged with at Battle Mountain, but UP ran it as an independent company. 

The idea was an ill-conceived scheme on behalf of the UP to build a line through Central Nevada during the silver boom, but as the boom ended soon after acquisition, UP instead allowed the road to go into bankruptcy in 1884.

1883 Map of the NCRR. (Wikipedia Commons)

In 1888, it reorganized and reverted to its old name, but this time as a railroad as opposed to a railway. Another scheme to expand the line as a potential corridor through the state to connect to southern California, if it were converted to standard-gauge was proposed in 1900, but never acted upon. (Utah-Rails)

It would continue to survive, transporting passengers and silver until 1937. Most of the silver mines dried up, but toward the end of the railroad's life, mining activity boomed again slightly, leading to renewed profitability that ultimately did not amount to enough to save the line, however.

The following year, the line was abandoned, with the rails sold for scrap.


The Nevada Central RR connected the silver mines at Austin with the main transcontinental line at Battle Mountain. Gold Hill News Archive via NevadaWeb


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