Ride the Newly Restored Section of the Virginia and Truckee Railway; Trolley Tours, Art Exhibition, Dinners and Entertainment Highlight Two-Day Event
(Carson City, Nev.) ? Train rides along the historic Virginia and Truckee (V&T) Railway, live music and train-robbing bandits are all part of the Carson City/Virginia City Railfest, Aug. 16-17, 2008. Railfest is a celebration of the past, present and future of the V&T Railroad.
The event kicks off Saturday, Aug. 16 at the V&T station on F Street in Virginia City when Engine No. 29, a 1916 steam engine, will pull riders on a five-mile, 35-minute trip on the historic V&T to Gold Hill, an old-time mining town, from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. A 1914 Pullman car and a Railway President’s 1907 gentlemen’s car will be on display. Other activities include historic railroad memorabilia displays, free face painting, a balloon magician, juggler and family photographer. The Chillin’ & Grillin’ food festival will be on C Street with grilled foods and ice cream for visitors.
Narrated rides aboard the Virginia City Trolley will also be available, and the Historic No. 18 Dayton steam locomotive will be on display at the Comstock History Center. At sunset, the V&T wine train, hosted by the Viriginia City Ramada Hotel, takes visitors on a narrated train ride to American Flats, a new section of track completed by the Commission. The ride includes hors d’oeuvres, wine and music. The train departs from the F Street Station at 7 p.m. and returns at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $35 per couple (adults only). For information, call 775-847-7500 or 775-847-4484.
A variety of Silver Line Express, a city pass for savings on train and trolley rides, merchant discounts and local attractions around Virginia City and Gold Hill, are available at visitors center, 86 South C St. Ticket A is $11 and includes one round-trip ride on the V&T train, one Virginia City Trolley Tour and discounts at participating businesses in Virginia City and Gold Hill. Look for Silver Express posters displayed in store windows. Ticket B is $25.50 and includes all of the above and admission to The Ponderosa Mine, Nevada Gambling Museum, Historic Radio Museum, the Mark Twain Museum at the Territorial Enterprise, The Way It Was Museum and the Fourth Ward School. Ticket C is $40 and includes all of the above plus admission to the Chollar Mine and Comstock Gold Mill and two-for-one Cemetery Gin Drinks (must be 21) at participating saloons and restaurants and. For more information, call 775-847-4386 or visit http://www.visitvirginiacitynv.com/.
On Sunday, Aug. 17, Railfest moves to the Nevada State Railroad Museum in Carson City. The fun kicks off at 10 a.m. as the old No. 8 locomotive does a “Steam Up” around the museum tracks. Enjoy rides on an authentic steam train from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets are $5 for adults, $4 for seniors 65 and older, and $3 for children six-11.
The museum will host “Eastern Fare Meets Western Trains,” a dinner and lecture from 5:30-8:30 p.m., as part of Railway Reflections, a major international railroad art exposition. Carson City’s Bamboo Gardens will serve appetizers and entrees in the museum, followed by a slideshow presentation of the Chinese contribution to the V&T. After dinner, guests can ride the train around the museum tracks. Tickets are $25 for the evening’s festivities.
The Nevada Commission for the Reconstruction of the Virginia & Truckee Railway is reconstructing the original V&T Railway to complete the 21-mile route between Gold Hill and Carson City. Currently, crews are working on opening tunnel No. 2 and the four and one-half-mile section of track from American Flats to Moundhouse. The project is scheduled for completion by 2011.
The Nevada State Railroad Museum preserves the railroad heritage of Nevada, including locomotives and cars of the famous Virginia & Truckee Railway and other railroads of the Silver State. Many were purchased from Hollywood studios, where they were made famous in movies and television shows. Among the locomotives and cars in the collection, 40 were built before 1900 and 31 operated on the V&T Railway.
The Nevada State Railroad Museum is located on Route 395 at the south end of Carson City. A yellow train station and red water tank at the entrance to the museum grounds are landmarks. The museum is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and admission is $4 for adults, $3 for seniors and free for children 17 and younger. The museum features exhibits and steam train rides from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays through November. For more information, call 775-687-6953.