Railway enthusiasts were crowded into the "V&T; Lives" silent auction at the Plaza Hotel Saturday night within a half hour of the doors opening.
Folks gazed at tables full of train memorabilia and metal sculptures along the walls, while others chatted and dined at tables in the middle of the room.
"The community realizes (the V&T; project) is going to bring in a lot of business," Northern Nevada Railway Foundation trustee David Harrison said. "People see this project coming to a head and now the community support is really coming on board."
Other than the complimentary champagne, fried zucchini and pot stickers, people at the auction had the option to bid on V&T; license plates, a Southern Pacific belt buckle, Union Pacific timetables, a Magnaflow Performance exhaust and a book called "Train Wrecks -- A Pictorial," along with many other items.
"People should know that they can come by the (Northern Nevada Railway Foundation) office and purchase any of the items that don't go tonight," said Janice Ayres, president of the foundation. The new office is located at 105 West Telegraph. "Those souvenir license plates make great Christmas presents."
Attendees at Saturday's auction were real rail fans.
Self-described "train buff" Clyde Lippincott, a Carson resident for 51 years, was interested in more than just trains, however.
"I think it's a great project not just for Carson City but for the whole of Northern Nevada," he said. "We need to have other attractions besides just gambling due to the Indian casinos."
Washoe County Commissioner Ted Short and his wife, Ruth, showed up and were excited about the V&T; project.
"We're gonna do it," he said. "We're gonna go all the way to Virginia City. Janice and I are gonna take the first ride!"
"If I live long enough," joked Ayres.
"You will," Short shot back.
"We're getting the steam built up, now," agreed Lippincott.
The original V&T; Railroad supplied the mines of Virginia City with lumber and transported ore to the mills in the Carson River Canyon. Financed by private investors, the V&T; was the only railroad known to have carried its entire weight of locomotives, track and equipment in silver.
The room for Saturday's auction was offered free of charge by the owner of the Plaza Hotel, Dwight Millard.
"I think the train is going to be important for Northern Nevada's tourism industry for the next 20 years," he said.
He was glad he could help with the effort to bring the V&T; back to life.
"Everybody's got to have something to donate. It just turns out ours is a room."
Atlantis Casino Resort, International Games Technology and Western Nevada Supply Co. also sponsored the event.
If you Go
Visit the Northern Nevada Railway Foundation office at 105 West Telegraph St. or call 885-6833.