Railroad renaissance man aids V&T

If the Virginia & Truckee railway isn't completed between Gold Hill and Deer Run Road in Carson City, it won't be Kim Fegert's fault.

The Gold Hill Historical Society director is working to acquire rail from the Reno trench project for the restoration, a move that could save the project about $500,000. Donated by Granite Construction, the 4 miles of track will be salvaged from the trench.

That acquisition is expected to cost about $100,000 to transport and store the rail. The historical society is dedicated to the restoration of the Gold Hill Depot in Storey County and is working with the Northern Nevada Commission for the Reconstruction of the V&T Railway.

"We have until December to get the money," he said. "But after the contracts are signed, the commission takes over."

Any extra money the society collects could be used to buy more track, Fegert said.

"The original estimate for this project, from Gold Hill to Deer Run Road, was $20 million," he said. "We're shaving a lot off that estimate. The more we save, the faster the V&T will be completed."

A member of the society for 20 years, Fegert is also involved in the restoration of the Gold Hill Depot.

Thanks to grants, fund-raisers and matching funds, the depot has a new roof and the first foundation since it was built around 1869. The society is planning to restore the ticket office, put in a sprinkler system, and develop a museum in a former warehouse.

Since the early 1980s, Fegert has done most of his work in the rail yards, far from board rooms and commission meetings. He describes the effort as heavy and dirty.

Recently, Fegert took a full-time position with the society.

"Right now, this is a full-time project," he said. "I could've gotten a backhoe job, but we've (members of the Gold Hill Historical Society) all worked hard this project and decided we needed a full-time employee. I'm not making much money, but I'm getting a lot accomplished."

Fegert, 41, moved here from northeastern Nevada, where his father, Lee Fegert, worked for Kennecott Copper Corp. in Ely and McGill. The family moved here permanently after Kennecott closed its pit and smelter.

"I spent my childhood climbing down old mine shafts,"he said.

Fegert met his wife, Pauline, on the Comstock. Their daughter, Jolene, is 13, and son Don will be 6 this month.


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