This grand marshal won’t be waving
October 25, 2006
This Nevada Day, the parade grand marshal will not be wearing a broad grin, nor waving at the crowd.
This year’s 34-ton grand marshal will be cruising on the back of a low-boy trailer. And if anybody is waving, it’ll be the passengers in the engineer’s cab.
The Virginia & Truckee Railway No. 22 Inyo will lead the long line of floats, bands and vehicles in the Saturday parade. Capurro Trucking, of Sparks, will be transporting the engine down the parade route. The locomotive is a classic in its own right, built in 1875 by the Baldwin Locomotive Works of Philadelphia at a cost of $9,065. As for its worth today, the director of the state railroad museum said it has no equal. He knows of a few people who are building replicas for $2 million.
“Typically tractor trailers are put on trains,” said Peter Barton, director of the Nevada State Railroad Museum. “We’re changing the program and putting the train on the truck.”
If the Nevada Day committee doesn’t choose someone to put inside the cab, two of the museum’s train crew members will be selected to sit up high in their conductor costumes.
“We’re just delighted a piece of our collection has been honored in this way,” Barton said.
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Inyo is an American Indian word meaning “dwelling place of a great spirit” and the Nevada Day board believes the Inyo is the most accurate symbol for this year’s parade theme: Nevada Day meets the V&T Railway.
“We thought about what really represents the V&T, and that’s the actual engine, the locomotive that ran down the tracks,” said Reg Creasey, president of the Nevada Day board. “When people think of the V&T, they think of that engine.”
Typically, the grand marshal is an honorary position given to someone who has stood out from the masses as an exemplary person. Past marshals include Hollywood star Clark Gable (1951), “Bonanza” stars Loren Greene and Michael Landon (1964) and casino mogul Benny Binion (1981), according to the Nevada Day Web site, which has a list of marshals dating back to 1950. The list includes beauty queens, politicians and pioneers.
But no industrial artifacts.
The No. 22 worked the daily Reno to Virginia City route in the 1890s. The V&T retired the locomotive by the 1930s, according to Barton. Paramount Pictures bought the locomotive from the V&T in 1937. It was bought back by the state of Nevada in 1974 and restored to its 1893 appearance.
It’s operated annually on July 4 at the Nevada State Railroad Museum, 2180 S. Carson St. The Inyo will be back on exhibit at the museum following the parade.
The Sunday following Nevada Day, a steam locomotive will run at the museum from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The train ride costs $5 for adults, $4 for seniors and $3 for children over 6.
• Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1212.