V&T steaming closer to Carson City | NevadaAppeal.com

V&T steaming closer to Carson City

Dave Frank
Appeal Staff Writer

Submitted photoA train ran through Tunnel 2 last week for the first time following more than two years of work. The tunnel was used in the original V&T and hasn't been used since the 1940s.

The V&T Railway is close to a third of the way done, and work on the newest phase is expected to start in about a month.

The 18-mile tourist railroad running from Virginia City to Carson City and modeled after the original 18th-century track will finish the most recent 4.5-mile section from American Flat in Storey County to outside Mound House in Lyon County in about a month, according to project engineers.

This will be a total of six miles of track. About 1.5 miles from Gold Hill to the Overman Pit was finished in 2005.

The next five-mile section will run from Mound House across Highway 50 into Carson City over bridge and is expected to start around late October and last about 10 months, depending on the weather.

One of the most exciting parts of the nearly finished section is the reconstruction of Tunnel 2, a tunnel used in the original V&T that hasn’t been used since the 1940s, said Gary Luce, an environmental engineer for the project.

A train ran through it this week for the first time following more than two years of work. Lyon County had closed the tunnel in 1969 with dynamite because of vandalism.

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“They did a heck of job, believe me,” Luce said.

The tunnel was first built in 1869 and was hit by two fires.

The next phase of the track will be good for the project, said Ken Dorr, project engineer, because many more people will be able to see the work.

“It’s going to put a bridge smack dab over the highway with ‘V&T’ on it,” he said.

The section is also an important part of the management of the project. The state board that runs it, the Nevada Commission for the Reconstruction of the V&T Railway, has considered running the operation on the amount of track that will be finished after the next phase is done because of a lack of funds.

The project will cost at least $55 million and the commission has about $37 million of that, with $21 million of that from Carson City room and sales taxes.

Carson City voters will decided on a ballot question in November whether to raise sales taxes one-eighth of a cent to give another $10 million to the project in exchange for part of the operation revenue.

Jim Lohse, who has criticized the commission for not being open enough, said what’s happening with the project “leaving aside the politics, it’s really exciting”

He said he is concerned, however, because the project will probably cost closer to $70 million in the end, and taxpayers are tired of paying.

Mayor Marv Teixeira, the commissioner behind the ballot question, has acknowledged that the project will probably cost more than $55 million, but said that his ballot question is important to keep the project moving.

– Contact reporter Dave Frank at dfrank@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1212.

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