McKeen Motor Car rides the rails this weekend in Carson City
The Nevada State Railroad Museum’s historic McKeen Motor Car — built for service on the Virginia & Truckee Railroad in 1910 — will be making its first runs of 2018 this weekend, May 5-6.
The self-propelled, gasoline powered motor car was one of 150 McKeen Motor Cars built between 1905 and 1917 for various railroads around the country. The Nevada State Railroad Museum’s car — No. 22 — is the only fully restored and operable McKeen Car in existence.
It has a great Nevada history. The aerodynamically designed 70-foot car was built at a cost of $22,000 and delivered to the V&T on May 9, 1910, entering into regular passenger service on June 6, 1910, where it operated until 1929. The car was later used as a railway post office, traveling more than a half million miles before being retired in 1945.
The V&T sold the car in 1946 and for nine years it was used as a diner in Carson City before being sold in 1955 to a plumbing business for use as offices and storage. The remains of the car were eventually donated to the Nevada State Railroad Museum in 1995. Crews completely restored it and it was rededicated on May 9, 2010 — the 100th anniversary of its delivery to the V&T.
The McKeen Motor Car was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005 and was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 2012.
It operates only a few select weekends each year.
This weekend’s rides will take place between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Fares are $8 for adults; $4 for children ages 4 to 11; and free for children 3 and younger.
The Nevada State Railroad Museum is located at 2180 S. Carson St., in Carson City. For information, contact the museum at 775-687-6953.