Welcome to the Machine (Shop)

Greasy Elegance: Machine Shop of the Nevada Northern Railway

Today, it seems like everything is in a perpetual state of redesign, on the road to a smaller, thinner, sleeker future–one with clean lines, smooth surfaces, simple controls, wireless connections, as well as anonymous black, white, and gray features.  Advances in electronics make this possible, but they do not make it inevitable, or inevitably desirable.  Minimalist design at first seems to project elegance and precision, but over time it can start to seem sterile and impart a queasy, clinical feel.  With all progress, something is gained, but something is lost—and sometimes, that something seems worth looking for (and at).

Welcome to the machine shop of the Nevada Northern Railway!  Step through the door into a jungle populated by a menagerie of steel beasts, built in another era to another aesthetic. They are defined by their bulk, their lush curves, their sometimes ornate controls, and rough surfaces under faded color schemes made paler still by a ubiquitous layer of dust and coal ash.  These machines are part museum piece, part steampunk fantasy, and still very much alive–used regularly to service the mighty steam locomotives that reside in the adjoining engine house.  Come inside, and take a moment to appreciate their enduring, greasy elegance and precision.