V&T still acquiring rights-of-way for railroad | NevadaAppeal.com
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V&T still acquiring rights-of-way for railroad

Karen Woodmansee
Appeal Staff Writer

The second phase of the reconstruction of the Virginia & Truckee Railway keeps chugging along – slowly, but still chugging.

Phase 2, divided into sections A and B, will take the tracks from American Flat, completed in September, to the Frehner Pit at the northern end of Industrial Parkway in Mound House, near the old Lyon County landfill.

The Nevada Commission for the Reconstruction of the V&T Railway is still working to obtain rights-of-way for the railroad, said Ken Dorr, of Capital Engineering. Dorr is head of the design consultant team doing engineering work and rights-of-way maps for the V&T.

He expects all rights-of-way for the second stretch of track to be obtained in six to nine months.

“The railroad was designed in late 1868 and running trains in October of 1869, nine months after its design,” Dorr said with a laugh. “We have been working for 14 years and have 1.4 miles built.”

So far, the commission has obtained 159 property acquisitions on 25 parcels from 14 owners, Dorr said.

“What’s amazing is the amount of right-of-way work we have to do,” Dorr said. “Even if we are using an existing road, private or BLM, we have to get a right-of-way.”

Rights-of-way are needed not only for the track itself, Dorr said, but for access roads, staging areas and other aspects of reconstructing the historic railroad.

“For the most part, everyone has been very cooperative,” he said, noting that only one condemnation was needed to acquire all the rights for the first phase. “We have had substantial donations of land, particularly from Julius Bunkowski and John Serpa.”

Dorr said the commission was also purchasing land and acquiring mining claims.

He added that of the 17 miles from Gold Hill to the proposed Carson City depot location, the commission has obtained 9.6 miles of rights-of-way and still needs 7.4 miles.

“We probably won’t need all of that because the Drako Way site is closer than the Detroit Lane or Deer Run site,” he said.

Phase 2 will go to Highway 50, and the third phase will take the road over the highway into the Carson River Canyon, Dorr said. Phase 4 will take the railroad to the depot site off of either Drako Way, the preferred site, or Detroit Lane.

Dorr said the railroad follows the original route of the V&T, except in some areas of Mound House and Carson City that have been developed.

Completion is expected in 2009 or 2010.

— Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at kwoodmansee@nevadaappeal.com or 882-2111 ext. 351.