The trains of the Virginia & Truckee Railroad will be able to travel on the new track for another year.
Tom Gray, owner of the Virginia & Truckee, reached an agreement with the Nevada Commission for the Reconstruction of the V&T Railway, which is building the track from Gold Hill to Carson City. The agreement allows the Virginia & Truckee to take its 4 p.m. train on the 1.4-mile stretch of track from Gold Hill to American Flat that was completed in 2006.
Gray's Virginia & Truckee Railroad operates a tourist train from Virginia City to Gold Hill.
The 4 p.m. train from the Virginia & Truckee runs on the new track, and Gray said it is the most popular trip of the day during the tourist season.
"They don't realize how many people want to ride on it," he said. "The whole town kind of shuttles everyone to the 4 p.m. trip. That's the nicest time of day, you get the colors, the oranges and the purples, and it's cooler in the summer."
They will not be allowed to use the 4-mile section expected to be completed in July, Gray said. Both the 1.4-mile stretch and the new 4-mile section to the old Frehner Pit belong to the commission.
"It's pretty much the same as last year, but with a little more inspections," Gray said.
"They wanted a 10-day cancellation without cause, but I told them I wouldn't be able to schedule trains on that."
Gray said a 1996 operating agreement that the commission chose to cancel would have allowed the commission to use the Virginia & Truckee tracks.
The commission approved the contract earlier this month, with Washoe County representative Bonnie Weber the only commissioner opposed.
"The State of Nevada doesn't owe the Grays anything," she said.
Commissioner Ron Allen said Gray has to report to government agencies, so any risk was minimal.
"There is no reason not to approve if he's acting in good faith and in a safe manner," he said.
Gray said his crew was now working on Engine No. 8, a 1907 steam engine, and was waiting for two new passenger cars to arrive.
"We're waiting for the weather," he said. "Once we get the steam engine and the old cars on there, it will be nice."
• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at email@example.com or 881-7351.