Monday, September 9, 2013

The Mystique of the Virginia and Truckee Railroad

[Image: Virginia_and_Truckee_Railroad_Logo.png]

The Mystique of the Virginia and Truckee Railroad

By Sakura Honda
The Daily Magi
October 12, 2052


The Virginia and Truckee Railroad (reporting mark VT) was built to serve the Comstock Lode mining communities of northwestern Nevada. At its height, the railroad's route ran from Reno south to Carson City, Nevada. In Carson City, the mainline split into two branches. One branch continued south to Minden, while the other branch traveled east to Virginia City. The first section constructed from Virginia City to Carson City was constructed commencing in 1869 to haul ore, lumber and supplies for the Comstock Lode.

The railroad was abandoned in 1950 after years of declining revenue. Much of the rail infrastructure was pulled up and sold, along with the remaining locomotives and railcars. In the 1970s, with public interest in historic railroads on the rise, the old lines were rebuilt by private investors, with an eye towards re-opening the lines.

Today, the privately owned Virginia & Truckee Railroad Company operates as a heritage railroad, headquartered in Virginia City. The Virginia & Truckee Railroad owns and uses the service mark "Queen of the Short Lines." The V&T Railroad runs up to 7 trains per day, many in steam behind locomotive #29, a 2-8-0 Consolidation, or an ex-US Army GE 80 ton diesel from Virginia City from Memorial Day until the end of October each year.

The public Nevada Commission for the Reconstruction of the V&T Railway has rebuilt the line from Gold Hill (connection with the current V&T Railroad) to Carson City, running the first train over the line in 68 years on 14 August 2009.[1] The Commission acquired a 1914 2-8-2 Mikado steam locomotive (The McCloud no. 18), which had been in use by the Sierra Railroad, out of Oakdale, California on special lunch and dinner trains. When the no. 18 arrived on the V&T, boiler problems were discovered, and the locomotive awaited repair at the Virginia and Truckee shops in Virginia City. She went to Hollywood for the filming of Water for Elephants. She returned after her scenes were filmed and finally had her first revenue run on July 24, 2010. Cars and locomotives from the original railroad are on display at the Nevada State Railroad Museum in Carson City, at the Comstock History Center on C Street in Virginia City, at the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento and at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania in Strasburg.

In order to ascend the mountain to Virginia City it was necessary to build an enormous trestle. Popular Nevada mythology says Crown Point Trestle was considered to be such a feat of engineering that it is featured on the Nevada State Seal. This myth is mentioned by Lucius Beebe.

Former Nevada State Archivist Guy Rocha debunks this myth on the state's Myth-a-Month page, pointing out that the state seal predates the trestle and shows a viaduct, not a trestle.

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