When the last spike is hammered into the first completed phase of track for the Virginia & Truckee Railway, officials want everyone to know about it.
The Overman Pit is filled, and about one-third of the V&T phase one track is laid, prompting railway officials to look forward to a grand "last spike" ceremony near Labor Day.
Steve Oxoby, senior project manager for Carter Burgess, said Monday he yearns for the day when people will see the V&T's steam engine chug across the Overman Pit, and that day is nearer than it's ever been.
"The fill is complete - about 140 feet of it - and you can look down to the bottom of the pit, and it's pretty exciting," he said at the Monday afternoon meeting of the Nevada Commission for the Reconstruction of the V&T Railway.
When completed, the V&T will run from Carson City to Gold Hill. Commissioners plan to run their recently purchased $420,000 steam locomotive on the reconstructed tracks then ride on the railroad line up to Virginia City. The V&T Railroad is a tourist track operated by Bob Gray since 1976.
Granite Construction is the contractor for the first phase of the project, from the old Gold Hill Depot, spanning the Overman Pit then to American Flat. Workers transported 310,000 cubic feet of dirt, laid 140 feet deep, over a 1,000-foot-wide area to fill the old mining pit.
Oxoby said the 200-by-20-foot retaining wall on top of the pit is completed, but a 4-foot-high safety fence still has to be installed.
Railroad subcontractor RailWorks Track Systems must lay more ballast rock, the crushed and graded aggregate rock used as the bed for the rails, and finish some minor grading. The workers began laying track on the south end of the phase one right-of-way on July 6 and are heading toward the Overman Pit.
"Everyone's done a first-class job all the way," said commission Chairman Bob Hadfield.
Workers have also completed the Gold Hill Cemetery parking area and an access to the Catholic cemetery.
Oxoby said workers also have to install two railroad crossings. One will be near the Gold Hill Depot for a private property access the road to the west side of the tracks. The second is to provide westside access for future mining operations.
RailWorks must also shift about 210 feet of the V&T Railroad to align it with the new rails.
"We're no longer small potatoes," said V&T Commissioner John Tyson. "In all reality, we're a large corporation, and we have to start thinking like it."
n Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1212.