The Virginia and Truckee Railroad has been running great all summer. Ever since opening weekend on Memorial Day they’ve been selling out most of the trains, at least the round-trip trains from Carson to Virginia and back. The one-way trips are still not selling very well, but those trips are necessary deadheads that get the train from the enginehouse to the depot, and any money they make on them is gravy. Probably gravy they had been counting on when they made their budgets, but if they ever end up building shop facilities at the Carson City end of the tracks the need for those one-way trips will go away.
Anyway, with sales so strong, they decided to extend the running season for the V&T this year. Originally the last train was supposed to run on Nevada Day weekend, at the end of October. But they’ve just announced that they’re adding six extra weekends, more trains to provide extra capacity so more people can ride (and so they can bring in more money).
They’ve also added a new trip to their options, an additional run that leaves after the train gets back from Virginia City on Saturday. It’s called “Colors In The Canyon”, and it heads the other direction from Eastgate Depot. It uses the new tracks the run down into the Carson River Canyon, and provides a 45 minute trip to the river and back, showing the fall colors along the way. Although I’ve been along that route, and there’s not a lot of trees to speak of. But maybe we can watch the sagebrush turn from green to a duller green.
Joking aside, this seems like a good option for them to add a trip into the canyon. The price is a lot lower than any of their other options too, at $15. Although that’s still more than the Virginia City to Gold Hill run, which at $10 is the best deal around, as well as the most scenic. This trip through the canyon is supposed to be scenic too, but the truth is that over half of this trip is time you spend just getting down into the canyon. From what I understand, the track ends almost as soon as you catch sight of the river. This might be a more viable option when the tracks are finished all the way through the entire canyon, but right now it seems a little overpriced for what you get.
So I’m glad to see that the V&T is doing well enough to add these runs, and that they’re still selling out a lot of their weekend trips. This is the second year of the experiment, to find out how much demand there really is for these train trips. It’s heartening to know that we haven’t run out of people willing to pay $48 a head yet. It would be interesting to find out how many second-time riders there are on these trains, or if the line of people who want to ride it once because they’re curious just hasn’t run out yet.