V&T Railroad reconstruction backers want special license plate

Backers of the Virginia & Truckee Railroad's reconstruction to Carson City are seeking a license plate displaying the famous railroad.

Janice Ayres of the Tri-County Railway Commission said the group needs 250 people willing to order the plates before the Department of Motor Vehicles will issue them.

"We have to have 250 presold," she said. "All the money that we take in will go toward the reconstruction of the V&T."

Ayres said she has approached state Sen. Mark Amodei, R-Carson City, and Assembly Speaker Joe Dini, D-Yerington, for help in getting the license plates through the Legislature.

The plates will cost between $50 and $60 apiece initially and then $20 to $30 a year to renew. About half that fee goes to the railroad.

To date $8.7 million has been raised from public and private sources for the V&T project, which carries a $22 million pricetag.

Built between 1869 and 1872, the V&T played a major role at the height of the Comstock's silver boom, hauling ore to the mills along the Carson River between Dayton and Carson City, as well as millions of timbers from the Sierra used to shore up the soft earth between veins of silver.

Forty-five trains a day arrived and departed Virginia City and during the next 70 years carried millions of dollars in gold and silver ore from the Comstock mines.

But profits sagged as the mines played out, and the last train left the Comstock during the Depression when the line developed cash flow problems.

In an effort to remain viable, the line built a spur to Minden in the early 1900s to serve the agricultural interests. The line was supposed to extend south to the Los Angeles area, but the plan never materialized.

On April 20 , 1950, the U.S. Interstate Commerce Commission declared that rail traffic was insufficient to support continued operation of the line, and the V&T made its final run on May 31 of that year between Reno, Carson City and Minden.

The line experienced a rebirth in 1975 when current owner Bob Gray reopened the rails between Virginia City and Gold Hill along the original right-of-way, and the momentum continued in 1993 the Legislature created the Tri-County Commission to find the means to reconstruct the railroad 17 miles to Carson City.

You can help

Send requests for official letters of intent to the Northern Nevada Railway Foundation c/o WNDD, 3208 Goni Road, Suite No. 183, Carson City, NV 89706.

For more information call the Western Nevada Development District at 883-7333.


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