Nevada Northern Railway is an old relic still preserved in time that brings in visitors from all over who long to witness some “touchable history”. It is located on the “Loneliest Road in America”. Here you will catch a cat named Dirt the Railway Cat – one of the mascots of Nevada.
Some of you may be confused that how come a railway cat could be so famous !? Well of course because of his distinct markings, he gives the appearance that he’s been working all day on a locomotive, covered in coal.
The engine house of the East Ely Railroad is the only home that Dirt has ever know. He was born there 11 years ago to a stray that wandered in. His mom had her kittens under one of the trains, a 1907 built rotary snow plow to be exact. The mom and other kittens left but this one specific kitten was all alone but scared to come out. So the train crews would leave a can of tuna on a chair every night for him, eventually, the kitten came out friendly up to the crews.
The cat loved rolling around on the dirt floors of the engine house and climb all over the coal pines on the steam-powered train since he was a little boy; that is the reason why everybody in the crews called him Dirt. The name stuck as did the coal. Dirt was actually an orange and white cat, but because he started rolling in the dirt and climbing on the train, his white fur got stained gray. At a young age, Dirt learned not to lick himself clean like other normal cats. Being part stray he likes to stay oily and dirty because it helps keeping him looking tough and also in a sense that keeping him clean because things don’t stick to his fur and bugs don’t go near him.
Not only does Dirt’s appearance that make him fit perfectly for the railway life but also his personality. “Back when our trains were built, railroading was the 2nd most dangers job in the world. Mining was the first most dangerous job and we were a copper mining railroad, doing the first and second most dangers jobs in the country at the same time in the same place. It took rough and tough men 100 years ago to move millions of tons of rock, by rail to get melted down and make copper to provide electricity to the world. You look at old pictures of those men, and you can just tell in their eyes they have stories to tell. When you look into Dirt’s eyes, he has that same look.” – said one of the members in the crew.
Dirt used to have some kittens years ago, and most were also orange and white and got just as dirty as Dirt. Since the kittens weren’t prepared for the life at the railway, they were all adopted by some volunteers and the train crews.
Like other animals social media sensation, Dirt gained a lot of attraction at the time the museum began their social media push.
Then one of the volunteers who is a professional photographer by the name of Steve Crise got an amazing picture of Dirt and it really took off, and now Dirt is undeniable star.