Railroad will require a professional operation
November 9, 2005
The volunteers who have put in years – decades, in some instances – working to make the Virginia & Truckee Railroad whole again deserve a place in its future operation as well.
But that’s not to say they should be running it – not at the management level, at least. We could be wrong, but we don’t think anybody envisioned it that way.
The feasibility report created 11 years ago relied heavily on Bob Gray’s existing V&T operation for information. It says “we see no reason why his existing staff should not be the core of this railroad,” meaning the extended line from Gold Hill to Carson City.
A decade has passed, and Gray now sees somebody else coming in to operate the whole line. A general manager, marketing manager and controller seem to be the minimum requirements for full-time, year-round employees. The remainder may be seasonal or contractual.
The 1994 report also foresees a nonprofit corporation like the Railway Commission as the overseeing authority and policy-setting institution, with a private company under contract as operator. The Northern Nevada Railway Foundation should also continue to have a role in expanding and enhancing the historic railroad.
These are, of course, sit-in-a-chair-at-meetings tasks, but we’re sure there will be plenty of opportunities to get grease on your hands, some soot in your hair and breathe in the smoke from a historic steam engine. It’s going to be the Nevada State Railroad Museum in motion.
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We have no idea who the operator might turn out to be, or how the management will be structured or what kind of contract could result.
But Mayor Marv Teixeira is on the right track in trying to get on top of this issue now. Putting professional administration in place must be a priority.
This is a $35 million project which will generate more than $2 million a year in revenues and expenses and be the engine, quite literally, for an $11 million annual boost to the local economy. It will succeed only as a professionally run railroad.
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