Sale of proposed V&T operator may be in works

A sale of the company chosen to operate the V&T Railway may be in the works.

Sierra & Central Pacific Railroad Co. Inc., was chosen in 2006 by the Nevada Commission for the Reconstruction of the V&T Railway to operate the tourist train when it opens.

Chris Hart, a representative of the company, confirmed that documents on a proposed sale have been filed with the U.S. Department of Transportation's Surface Transportation Board, a required precursor to any sale. He declined to comment on whether a possible sale to the Patriot Rail Corp., of Boca Raton, Fla., would affect the operator's relationship with the Nevada Commission for the Reconstruction of the V&T Railway.

The company owns Sierra Railroad, Sierra Northern Railway and the Skunk Train in Northern California. Sierra Railroad and the Skunk train are passenger trains. The Sierra Northern is a freight operation.

On July 16, Sierra & Central Pacific filed a motion to keep any information on a sale confidential due to commercially sensitive terms and conditions of intent to sell some or all of the railroad's entities to Patriot Rail Corp. The protective order was approved Aug. 1.

Jim Lohse of the Virginia & Truckee Railroad Historical Society told the V&T commissioners at their meeting Monday that he was 99 percent sure a sale was complete and added that Patriot Rail Corp. has no interest in passenger service and the Skunk Train was up for sale for scrap value.

"Sierra has been trying to sell themselves since January or March," Lohse said.

No one from Patriot Rail Corp. returned calls seeking comment, and Bob Hadfield, chairman of the V&T commission, declined comment.

Gold Hill land

In other business, the commission voted to authorize the chairman to present a counter-offer for two parcels of land along State Route 342 in Gold Hill that provide access to the beginning of the commission's tracks.

The property, owned by Robert and Virginia Svetic of Virginia City, is to be listed at $80,000, but the commission will counter for $65,000 on the conditions that the property appraises at or above that amount, that a survey be completed and the full commission approve.

The property is to be used for an access to the beginning of the commission's track to be used for track maintenance, Rowe said.

Rowe said he obtained an estimated value of the property at $60,000 to $65,000, but it wasn't a full appraisal.

The commission also amended a track agreement with the Virginia & Truckee Railroad owner Tom Gray that allows his train to use commission track with the approval of Granite Construction Co., which is building the track, to the end of the year, when a new agreement will be negotiated.

Free train tickets

Kevin Ray, project manager for the V&T, said he was working with the Carson City Convention and Visitors Board to provide free train rides to Carson City residents in the month of October to show what the commission has been doing. He will be working with Gray to provide the tickets.

More seats

Hadfield did not comment on a question by Kim Fegert that an amendment would be proposed to add two seats to the nine-member railway commission, one for the Northern Nevada Railway Foundation and another for a Carson City supervisor.

- Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at or call 881-7351.


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