McKeen Motor Car to debut its makeover |

McKeen Motor Car to debut its makeover


After 12 years of restoration, the McKeen Motor Car, V&T No. 22, will make its debut again Sunday, exactly 100 years ago to the day that it arrived in Carson City

100 years ago.

When the McKeen runs again, it will be the first time the car has been in passenger service since it was decommissioned from the Virginia & Truckee Railway in 1945, said Teresa Moiola, spokeswoman for the state’s Department of Cultural Affairs.

The ceremony will begin at noon Mother’s Day, at the Wabuska Depot in front of the Nevada State Railroad Museum, 2180 S. Carson St.

“We found some people who rode the McKeen in its last day of service, and they’ll be there, too,” Moiola said.

The depot will be transformed into what it looked like 100 years ago, with old cars and period re-enactors, she said.

The officials and donors who made the McKeen restoration possible are scheduled to be on hand to participate in the ceremony.

The McKeen is considered a valuable asset in the national records of railroad history throughout the world. William Riley McKeen Jr. began producing motorcars in 1904. McKeen’s cars represent the first use of the internal combustion engine in rail service. McKeen built about 160 of the cars between 1904 and 1920.

The Virginia & Truckee paid $22,000 for the 70-foot motorcar, which arrived under its own power in Carson City from Omaha, Neb., on May 9, 1910. The restoration started in 1998 and cost just under $1 million.

When the McKeen Car was donated to the museum, the restoration team discovered that the car body had been modified for use as a diner, lounge, pottery shop and plumbing supply store.

After a public ceremony and inaugural trip, rides will be available to the public every half hour from 1:30 to

4 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children.