Virginia and Truckee Railroad

  • American

In 1870, Nevada's first short-line railroad, the Virginia and Truckee Railroad (V&T), was completed between Carson City and Virginia City. Two years later, the track was extended to Reno to connect with the transcontinental Central Pacific Railroad. The V&T was the brain child of William Sharon, William Ralston and D.O. Mills of the Bank of California in San Francisco. They feared that Adolf Sutro's plan to drain the Comstock mines of water through an ingenious tunnel would adversely affect the bank-held monopoly of mills along the Carson River. William Sharon petitioned the Nevada legislature and received funds to build the railroad. This calculated move stalled the tunnel's completion for many years. The line served to haul ore from Virginia City to the mills in Carson City, lumber from the Sierra Nevada, and passengers traveling between Virginia City, Carson City, Reno and Minden (south of Carson City). The V&T operated from 1869 until 1950.

Competition with cars and trucks in the 1920s and 1930s brought the V&T near bankruptcy, forcing the business to sell equipment and trains to collectors and Hollywood movie studios for Western movies, with the last run from Reno to Minden on May 31, 1950. About 50 pieces of the railroad remain today, more than half of which are housed at the Nevada State Railroad Museum.

Virginia and Truckee RR. Engine No. 18, the Dayton, is located at the Comstock History Center at 20 North E. Street, Virginia City, NV 89440, which is open to the public from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm Thursdays and Sundays. Virginia and Truckee RR. Engine No. 22, the Inyo, is located at the Nevada State Railroad Museum, on Hwy. 395 (Carson St.) at Fairview Ave. in Carson City. The museum is open to the public 8:30am to 4:30pm daily; there is a fee for adult admission. For further information or for special events check the museum's website or call 775-687-6953 - NPS

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