V&T Railway’s new operations coordinator hits the tracks a-chugging

V&T railway will host a triple-inaugural event Saturday, Aug. 28 at the Eastgate Depot: the first train ride since the pandemic; the first ride for their new operations coordinator, Allyson Bolton; and historic Engine No. 18’s first time carrying passengers since 2015. (Photo: Faith Evans/Nevada Appeal)

V&T railway will host a triple-inaugural event Saturday, Aug. 28 at the Eastgate Depot: the first train ride since the pandemic; the first ride for their new operations coordinator, Allyson Bolton; and historic Engine No. 18’s first time carrying passengers since 2015. (Photo: Faith Evans/Nevada Appeal)

After 18 months of train-less tracks, V&T Railway will be blowing the whistle on Saturday, Aug. 28 at the Eastgate Depot for a celebratory round-trip ride from Carson City to Virginia City.
The upcoming trip also marks the inaugural ride for the railway’s new operations coordinator, Allyson Bolton. She and her team at Atypical Consulting were hired in May.
“It was, ‘Welcome on board. Let’s get trains going!’” Bolton joked with the Appeal, in an interview at the Eastgate Depot.
She said that in March 2020, the railway resigned itself to the fact that running a socially distanced train is simply infeasible. They’ve been relying on their railbike tours to generate revenue during the pandemic.
V&T hadn’t planned to have any engines on the tracks until mid- to late fall, but when the state started to open more facilities unmasked in June, Bolton knew it was go-time.
“You can’t really push a button and run a train,” she said. “We had to do some track maintenance, make sure we had some fire safety things in place.”
The railway will be requiring masks in the depot and aboard the trains, subject to change over the season, depending on state mandates. Station staff have increased sanitation efforts to keep riders safe.
Next Saturday’s ride is especially exciting for V&T, not only because they’ll finally have more than railbikes to get customers on the tracks, but because historic Engine No. 18 will be carrying passengers for the first time since 2015.
Built in 1914, the train was featured in the 2011 movie, “Water for Elephants,” and it’s been in “extreme renovation mode” for the past half-decade, as Bolton described it.
The railway will host a return celebration at 9 a.m. next Saturday, right before Engine No. 18’s launch at 10 a.m. All are welcome to join in on the depot’s pre-ride festivities, which will include food, beverages, and music. Tickets are required for the train ride, available at vtrailway.com.
Celebration guests (who opt not to purchase tickets) may RSVP to Bolton at admin@vtrailway.com.
The regular season will run every weekend until Oct. 31. Tickets for the Polar Express in November and December will be available soon on V&T’s website.
As for the ever-changing pandemic situation, “We’re just going to ride with any changes that come our way,” Bolton said.

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