Uphill climb for V&T project
August 13, 2002
From the start we’ve been supporters of the project to reconstruct part of the Virginia & Truckee Railroad line, and backers deserve applause for their perserverance in keeping the dream alive.
It’s been a long haul.
In the 11 years since Carson City lost its most visible link to the historic rail line, the V&T shops, the effort to revive it as a tourist attraction has sometimes seemed to move like an overweight train on an uphill climb.
The potential cost has climbed steadily over the years, as well, from about $20 million to now probably $30 million to connect Carson City with Gold Hill, where the V&T is still making its short run to Virginia City.
Fortunately, the spirit of the V&T lives in the Northern Nevada Commission for the Construction of the V&T Railway. As they keep pushing the project forward — it’s now waiting completion of an environmental impact statement — this is as good time a time as any to remind people why it’s worthwhile.
At the top of the list, we put history. Virginia City’s renowned historic district is the heart and soul of the Comstock Lode’s legacy, but there is so much more. The V&T Railroad path down the Carson River canyon can tell the story from construction of the mines to smelting of the ore like nothing else.
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From a pragmatic and capitalistic point of view, there is the economic boost a reconstructed V&T will create. The dollars put into the project during construction will almost immediately find their way back into the local economy, and then it will provide a steady stream of tourism dollars.
Finally, the V&T project is important to the vision of Northern Nevada — its future as well as its past. It is symbolic of the kind of pioneering and entrepreneurial effort which shaped the region, the basis for what we know it to be today.
Reconstruction of the Virginia & Truckee Railroad will show Northern Nevada is still capable of such an effort, and not merely holding onto ghosts of its past.