The Nevada Appeal has more good news about the Virginia & Truckee Railroad, in two stories this weekend. In the first story, Becky Bosshart reports that the new tracks in Gold Hill, where construction just started in April, are now almost completed. This construction is the first step in the effort the bring the V&T back to Carson City, re-laying the rails that were torn up over 60 years ago. The first phase is only about a mile long, starting from the current end of the line in Gold Hill, travelling across the formidable Overman Pit, and down to American Flat. Construction on the second phase, from American Flat down to Mound House, is supposed to start next year, if they can get the money together for it. But just this little bit of an extension will make for a more exciting ride on the V&T, extending the run from around two miles to over three and a half. At least, that is, if the V&T actually uses the track. Bob Gray, who owns and operates the current railroad, says that he won’t use the new tracks too much at first, maybe just one train a day. But I’m sure it won’t take long before every train goes all the way down.
The second story, also by Becky Bosshart, concerns what’s going to be done at the extreme other end of the line. The plan has always been for the new V&T rails to follow the Carson River from Mound House into Carson City, and then to have a depot somewhere along or close to Highway 50 East. But now a developer has put forward a proposal for much more than just a depot. RIDL Ltd., who had earlier planned to build a Hawthorn Suites along the new 580 freeway, now has plans for a full tourist village at the southern terminus of the V&T. This 153-acre development would include not just the V&T train station, but also a hotel/casino, shopping, museums, and a residential area. This much development might seem out of place in East Carson, which currently is home to little more than warehouses and auto body shops. But it does make sense to build something next to the V&T depot. You don’t want to just have a train station out in the middle of nowhere. You need to have more for people to do, something that will really catch your eye when you’re driving by, or something that might keep you around for a couple of hours after you get off the train. It’s a good concept, so now I want to see how they flesh out the details. They do have another four years before the tracks are going to reach Carson, so that should be plenty of time for them to put together something good.