Archives » April 5th, 2005

April 5, 2005

Work Starts on the Virginia & Truckee

Today’s the day. After decades of waiting and planning, the first dirt is finally being moved today on the Virginia & Truckee Railroad. The official site of the project, of course, says nothing about it. Tomorrow’s groundbreaking ceremony isn’t even listed on their page of upcoming events. Methinks they don’t care much for the web over there.

The Nevada Appeal has coverage, though, two stories taking up most of today’s front page. V&T Work Begins Today is the main story, and it talks about the actual construction efforts and the challenges they’re going to face filling in part of the Overman Pit. The second story, Railroad Enthusiasts Expected to Gather for Ceremony, is a short piece about the groundbreaking ceremony in Gold Hill.

The groundbreaking is tomorrow, Wednesday April 6th, at 2pm at the Gold Hill Depot. The Depot, which is now being restored, is the original building where passengers used to board the old V&T, and in 1938 it was the site of a huge ceremony commemorating the closing of the V&T. Now, 67 years later, everyone’s gathering in the same spot to celebrate the first step towards reopening the line. Of course Bob Gray’s V&T already runs from Virignia City to Gold Hill, and it uses this depot as its terminus. But one day Gold Hill will once again be nothing more than a quick stop on the way down to Carson City, just like it used to be in the old days.

The work that they’re starting today is just Phase One of the project. Phase One involves excavating an existing mountain and using the dirt to fill in part of the Overman Pit. Then they’ll lay about 1.3 miles of track, from where the track currently ends to a point just past the Pit, and call it a done deal. This should be done by August. It will be a step closer to Carson City, but will leave over 15 miles of track still to go. So while the Overman Pit is probably the biggest obstacle in the way of the V&T, they’re by no means going to be finished once they’ve crossed it. They still have to place a bridge over Hwy 50, and figure out what to do about Tunnel #2, which is currently collapsed and blocking the right-of-way. The rest of the old grade is mostly intact, but suffering from decades of erosion, so it will need minimal work to get it ready for track. Current estimates have broken the project into three more phases, each one taking a year, with the whole thing finished in 2008. Funding isn’t secured for anything beyond Phase One, though, so it may take considerably longer to finish everything if the money isn’t there. But everything has to start somewhere, and the V&T starts today.

Update: The groundbreaking was on April 6, 2005. Look here for pictures of the event, as well as the Overman Pit!