V&T one step closer to Carson City route | NevadaAppeal.com

V&T one step closer to Carson City route

Dave Frank
Nevada Appeal Staff Writer

A state commission moved forward with plans to start train rides on the V&T Railway this summer.

The Nevada Commission for the Reconstruction of the V&T Railway said Monday it will vote on an agreement next month to allow a private company to run a tourist train between Virginia City and Carson City.

The V&T Railroad Co. would run round trips and shorter rides on 11 miles of the planned 18 miles of track expected to be completed this summer.

The four-year agreement under negotiation would require the company to run daily trips on part of the 11-mile track and monthly full round trips from Virginia City to the edge of Carson City. The company would have to gradually increase the number of round trips each year.

The commission and the company are negotiating details of the agreement. The two sides disagreed on a few points at a commission meeting Monday.

Tom Gray of the V&T Railroad Co. said it could be difficult for his Virginia City-based firm to start at least half the rides in Carson City as requested.

Ken Dorr, commission project engineer, said the company owes it to Carson City to start the rides there because of how much money the city has given to the project.

The city has provided $21 million in room and sales taxes. Voters rejected a ballot question last year to raise another $10 million through a sales tax increase.

Gray said he also wants promises in the agreement that the commission wouldn’t try to use eminent domain or other legal challenges to take over his company. The commission said last year it would try to buy the company so it could finish the project to Virginia City.

The commission canceled an agreement last year that would have let the V&T Railroad Co. operate on the completely finished track. The V&T Railroad Co. runs 2.5-mile train rides from Virginia City to Gold Hill.

Gray said his company and the commission are “pretty close” to an agreement.

“We really want to do this,” he said. “We’re really excited to do this.”

California-based Sierra Nevada Railroad Corp. has a tentative agreement to operate on the track when it’s done.

The corporation needs to review any agreement with the V&T Railroad Co. because it might also be interested in an interim track agreement, Commission Chairman Bob Hadfield said.

– Contact reporter Dave Frank at dfrank@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1212.