The Railroad

The Railroad (HM2MZH)

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N 40° 50.001', W 115° 45.61'

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Elko was established by the Central
Pacific Railroad in late December
1868 with the tracks running through the
middle of Elko. In 1908, the Western Pacific
railroad was constructed with the tracks
located in the middle of Silver Street. With
two railroads and multiple crossings in the
middle of town, traffic was often clogged and
numerous train/auto accidents took place.
In 1979, "Project Lifesaver" realigned the
Humboldt River, moved the two railroad
tracks out of downtown Elko a few blocks
south and relocated the rail yards east of
Elko. This change forever improved the
safety and environment of downtown.

The idea for the project came from Mark
Chilton, who had extensive experience as a
railroad engineer with the Western Pacific
Railroad and knew the engineering staff
and management with the Southern Pacific

"Project Lifesaver" eliminated at least
16 railroad crossings through Elko by
relocating 5.4 miles of tracks from between
Commercial and Railroad Streets to just
north of the Humboldt River, outside the
downtown corridor. The project stopped all
train-vehicle and train-pedestrian incidents:
saving many lives. After five years of
planning, construction began in 1979 and
was completed in 1984..

Before the tracks were relocated, it was
not unheard of

to wait an hour or more for
one of the fifty daily trains to pass through
town. Emergency vehicles were often stuck
on one side or the other of a stopped train
while trying to get to a patient on the south
side of town or trying to get a patient to the
hospital, which was located at College Ave.
and 12th Street. A very common sound was
hearing the train whistles blow and rail cars
crashing into each other as the trains started
and stopped.

Mark Chilton along with the "Project
Lifesaver" Steering Committee which
included Dutch Stenovitch (City of Elko
Mayor), Ira Rackley, John Aguirre, Walter
Aldrich Jr., Fred Faupel, Robert Higley,
John Miller, George and Theo Gund, John
Biegler, Barbara Errecart, Bill Nisbet, Mel
Stenniger, Ray Gardner, Randy Mathis, Dan
Bilbao Jr., Jerry Warren, Chick Handwright,
Ralph Paoli, Jack Hull, John Tewell, Nick
Halton, Terry Reynolds, Chet Bate, Lorne
Pratt, Chub Smales, Jack Sutherland, Bill
McKinley, and Dr. Tom Hood worked
tirelessly for 10 years to see this project
Year Placed2017
Placed ByThe City of Elko
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Friday, November 15th, 2019 at 10:01am PST -08:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)11T E 604535 N 4520997
Decimal Degrees40.83335000, -115.76016667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 40° 50.001', W 115° 45.61'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds40° 50' 0.05999999999986" N, 115° 45' 36.6" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Closest Postal AddressAt or near , ,
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