The Nevada Northern Railway is considered as the “Loneliest Road in America” because of its rather old setting that has been preserved for visitors from around the world to witness parts of its history. However, the 1906 train cars are not the only tourist attraction area, there’s also Dirt the Railway Cat.
“Dirt” is famous for his distinct markings, which makes him look like he’s been covered in coal and had been working all day on a locomotive.
“As tours walk through the building, people are just amazed about hearing the history and the stories of the railroad. Then as if he knew it was his cue to appear, Dirt just walks into the room where the tour is, or out from under one of the trains and sits in the middle of the group with a sense of pride that only he can have,” Eric Mencis, manager of guest services and social media director of the railroad, told Bored Panda in an interview.
Dirt was born at the East Ely Railroad 11 years ago to a stray that had wandered in there, and he called it his home ever since.
“She [his mom] had her kittens under one of our trains, and a 1907 built rotary snowplow to be exact,” Mencis explained. “Mom and the other kittens left, and this one beautiful cat was all alone but scared to come out. So our train crews would leave a can of tuna on a chair every night for this kitten. Eventually, the kitten came out friendly up to the crews.”
According to Mencis, the adorable cat was originally white and orange, but because he got used to rolling in the dirt and climbing on the trains, his white fur has always been stained.
“At a young age, Dirt learned not to lick himself clean, like normal cats, being part stray, he likes to stay oily and dirty because it helps keep him tough-looking and also in a sense keeps him clean because things don’t stick to his fur and bugs don’t go near him,” said Mencis.
But aside from Dirt’s tough look, Mencis said when you look at his eyes, he too, just like many others of the workers there, has a story to tell. “He has that same look.”
“Dirt is pretty much one of those old-time railroaders living now as a cat,” he said. “He walks with a sense of pride around his engine house like these are his trains, and he is proud of the men to keep them going.”
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