The historic Virginia & Truckee Railway will stoke its boilers, blow the whistles and highball again this holiday season for a series of theme rides over four weekends during Thanksgiving and Christmas, Nov. 27 through Dec. 19.
"Train rides to celebrate family and the season in Carson City and Virginia City will make this holiday one to remember," said Candy Duncan, executive director of the Carson City Convention & Visitors Bureau. "Folks can combine history with the present: A train ride with shopping, dining, sightseeing and overnight stays."
Costumed historians in Victorian dress, cowboy regalia and other period attire will represent "living legends" of the area, riding along with passengers on the V&T's seasonal round-trip trains and answering questions about the area and taking photos with travelers.
Theme rides include an Early Bird Shopper's Special, Family and Friends Train, Comstock Night Train, December Danish Run, and Christmas on the Comstock train. The holiday trains will be the last to run the 12.8-mile route until re-opening next year with special event trains and a full schedule in May 2010.
Classic steam and authentic diesel engines will take passengers on 60- and 90-minute rides (one way or roundtrip) with scenic vistas of the Old West countryside, historic cemeteries, abandoned mine shafts, two tunnels and occasional sightings of wild horses, all with the nostalgic sounds of steel wheels to track and the steam whistle cutting the crisp air.
The reconstructed V&T opened along 12.8 miles of its original 16-mile route to great fanfare in August after 70 years. Every ride through October sold out, making the Holiday Tour a special gift to visitors and residents.
Holiday themed rides include:
• Early Bird Shopper: It's the biggest shopping day of the year so cross some items off your list. A vintage steam train will travel from Virginia City to Carson City one way on Friday. Train departs Virginia City at 8 a.m. and arrives in Carson City at 9:30 a.m. A bustling antique district in Carson City and authentic Western shops in downtown Virginia City make for a shopping experience well beyond the mall or department store norm. A return shuttle back to the Virginia City station is available for $11. Seating is limited, call 687-7410 for reservations. Price: $29 adults, $25 seniors (65+), $20 kids 12 and younger.
• Friends and Family: Catch up with loved ones on the ride, share some fresh holiday pastries, hot cider and take a group photo in front of the train. The Friends and Family ride runs roundtrip from Carson City to Virginia City on Friday and Saturday, departing at
10 a.m. Departs Virginia City at 3:30 p.m. Price: $48 adults, $40 seniors (65+), $30 kids 12 and younger.
• Comstock Night Train: Venture through the desert at night on Sunday on a one-way diesel train. The train arrives just in time to enjoy dinner at one of Virginia City's restaurants. Departs Carson City at 5:30 p.m., arrives in Virginia City at 7 p.m. On Sat., Dec. 5, departs Carson City at 8:30 p.m., arrives in Virginia City at 10 p.m. On Sat., Dec. 12 and 19, departs Carson City at 5 p.m., arrives in Virginia City at 6:30 p.m. Price: $17 adults, $15 seniors (65+), $12 kids 12 and younger.
• December Danish Run Saturdays: A side order of history is served on Dec. 5. This trip from Virginia City serves fresh pastries, coffee and juice to its passengers at the station. Departs Virginia City at 10 a.m., arrives in Carson City at 11:30 a.m. On Dec. 12 and Dec. 19, departs Virginia City at 8 a.m., arrives in Carson City at 9:30 a.m. Price: $17 adults, $15 seniors (65+), $12 kids 12 and younger.
• V&T Christmas Parade Train: On Dec. 5, tickets include hot cocoa, holiday cookies, costumed elves on the train, Christmas lights and decor. A complimentary shuttle is available to and from the depot to view the Virginia City Lighted Christmas Parade that begins at 5 p.m. Departs Carson City at 12 p.m., departs Virginia City back to Carson City at 6:30 p.m. Price: $39 adults, $35 seniors (65+), $28 kids 12 and younger.
• Christmas on The Comstock Train: A round-trip holiday ride offers passengers hot cocoa, Christmas cookies, Santa's elves and lots of lights and decor to ring in the season. A holiday shopping spree before or after the ride at the quaint shops in downtown Carson City or Virginia City will provide some holiday spirit. Offered Dec. 12 and 19. Passengers on the Dec. 19 train can disembark just in time for the Dickens Festival in Virginia City, a free shuttle will pick guests up and bring them back to the station. Departs Carson City at 10 a.m.; departs Virginia City at 3 p.m. Price: $39 adults, $35 seniors (65+), $28 kids 12 and younger.
For information, go to www.visitcarsoncity.com or call the Convention & Visitors Bureau at 687-7410.