6 December 2008
Rides on V&T Railway Could Start Soon
Nevada USA - Train rides could start on what is finished of the V&T Railway if the public commission building the tourist railroad approves an agreement Monday.
The private V&T Railroad Company could run rides under the agreement on what is finished of the 11 miles that will be finished next year of the 18-mile track from Virginia City to Carson City. The Virginia City-based company already runs 2.5-mile train rides from Virginia City to Gold Hill.
The Nevada Commission for the Reconstruction of the V&T Railway could also then build a temporary depot on the east side of Carson City so riders could be bused to the track.
About six miles of track from Gold Hill to Mound House has been finished since construction started in 2005. Work has started on the next five-mile section that will take the track across a bridge on Highway 50 into Carson City.
The commission is looking at starting rides on the partially completed track because it won't have money to finish the next phase through the Carson River Canyon after the current work is done next year.
More than 60 percent of Carson City voters rejected a November election advisory question to raise sales taxes for the V&T project, which has raised $37 million of its $55 million expected cost. About $21 million has come from Carson City sales and room taxes.
The railroad is modeled after the original 19th-century track that grew out of the silver mining boom.
Commissioner Larry McPherson said starting rides on the track the commission has finished is the best thing for the V&T in absence of the funding it needs for more construction.
"I think at this time, it's about the only way we can go," he said.
Though the commission is trying to buy the V&T Railroad Company so it can build its own track between Gold Hill and Virginia City, Mayor Marv Teixeira said the company is the best choice.
"Who in the hell else is equipped to run on it?" said Teixeira, a member of the commission.
But the company, which will start powering its locomotive with biodiesel from Bently Biofuels of Minden today, isn't the operator for the finished track the commission picked.
The Sierra Railroad Company is supposed to operate the train when the track is finished around 2014.
Chris Hart, company president, said he wants to wait to talk to the commission about the plan before deciding what the best idea is at the meeting Monday, where the company will ask to change its name as the operator to Sierra Nevada Railroad Corp.
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