Man chained to rail raises $24,794 for V&T project
Tied to a rail on Virginia City’s C Street since Dec. 18, Kim Fegert of the Gold Hill Historical Society raised $24,794 to finance the transport and storage of four miles of rail and ties salvaged from the Reno train trench. Fegert said he needs more money and will be tied to the track through Christmas and beyond.
“If I stop here, we’ll have just enough to move and store the track,” he said. “I’ve got to hang on until we get a little more operating money.”
This effort is just one aspect of the V&T reconstruction project and is expected to save the $40 million project about $500,000.
After hearing about Fegert’s effort, State Historic Preservation Officer Ron James pledged $20,000 from a National Park Service grant.
“A couple of other donors have given me thousand-dollar checks,” Fegert said. “But the rest of the money came from people walking by, giving me $10 to $20. It all adds up.”
Before Fegert’s effort, half the money was raised through donations and the sale of commemorative coins. The total is about $70,000.
Project officials say $90,000 should cover the costs for the track and officials from the Northern Nevada Railway Foundation and the Nevada Commission for Reconstruction of the V&T Railway have offered to supplement money already raised.
“I’m not worried about getting this project going,” Fegert said. “But there are still opportunities for me to gather more material and get more things done if I have a little more money to work with.”
Fegert knows of a few warehouses with salvageable track and equipment available, but he will need the money to transport and store the materials.
“Four miles of track will get us from the bridge (Highway 50 East) to Silver City,” Fegert said. “We need the money to keep going, and it’s important that we do.”
Fegert will take a couple of hours to spend time with his family today, but then he’ll be back on the rail.
“This isn’t just a hobby project for a bunch of fools,” Fegert said. “This is about economic development. Anyone pitching in for this project is helping the economic picture in five counties in the future. A lot of people aren’t paying attention to that.”
It’s been more than 60 years since the V&T last ran between Virginia City and Carson City. Built between 1869 and 1872, it supplied the mines of Virginia City with material and transported ore to mills in the valley.
Fegert said all donations are tax deductible. For information or to donate, call 847-0140.
Contact Susie Vasquez at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1212.