NEVADA – The Nevada Northern Railway held a memorial service on Sunday morning in Ely to honor Dirt, the rail company’s beloved mascot who passed away in January due to old age. Dirt, an orange cat covered in dust, gained internet fame when a photo of him was shared on Facebook. His endearing photos and videos captivated visitors from around the world, with some even making a four-hour drive from Las Vegas to visit the iconic feline in rural Nevada.
The railway organized a live-streamed eulogy for Dirt, led by Nevada Northern Railway President Mark Bassett. During the memorial service, Bassett unveiled a remarkable bronze statue created in the likeness of the cherished cat, which now stands proudly at Dirt’s grave alongside trainmaster Con Trumbull.
Mayor Nathan Robertson of Ely expressed his gratitude to the crew who cared for Dirt when the museum first adopted him 15 years ago. Despite their rugged appearances, Robertson noted their soft spot for animals on the property. He acknowledged Dirt’s significant contribution, stating that the feline had unknowingly played a crucial role in saving the railroad and leaving a lasting impact on the entire industry.
Trumbull shared poignant details about Dirt’s final days, when railroad staff came together to mourn his passing and lay him to rest. In a touching tribute, Dirt was placed in a simple shop box lined with the same rags he had slept on throughout his life. Covered by a railroad handkerchief, the beloved cat was buried under a pine tree in the museum’s grassy plaza, coinciding with a heavy snowstorm in Ely.
Reflecting on Dirt’s legacy, Bassett expressed his hope that the mascot would forever represent the proud heritage of railroading. He emphasized that Dirt’s influence and memory would continue to inspire and touch the hearts of all who encounter the Nevada Northern Railway.
In a traditional farewell, Dirt was honored with a train whistle salute, paying homage to his role as an honorary railroader.
Credits: Review Journal
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