September 22/23rd saw the latest club trip to a Railroad haven!
8 intrepid club members journeyed to Carson City to travel on the Virginia and Truckee railroad from Carson City to Virginia City behind a Steam Locomotive.
We were entertained by a cowboy comedy act before the train departed at 10am. If the jokes had been any cornier we would have died groaning….. but it was pleasant none the less.
The train travelled at a leisurely 12mph uphill to Virginia City across beautiful desert countryside behind a 2-8-0 Baldwin Consolidation built in 1916. The two passenger cars were built in 1910, although the seats may have manufactured somewhat earlier – probably in the stone age 🙂
We passed many mines on the journey, went through a couple of tunnels, passed Gold Hill mining town, saw Silver City in the distance and viewed a car wreck down the hillside although how on earth the driver arrived at his final destination at the bottom of the hill is a mystery since the nearest road was 3 miles away!…
Arrival in Virginia City saw us join the shuttle into town. A few minutes later we were enjoying bison burgers in the Palace Bar. Afterwards we downed ice creams and headed into the Mine that was situated at the back of a bar! Miners back in the day were paid 16 times the rate of those back east. However the only thing they could spend their money on was booze resulting in the average age of death amongst them being 42.
We rejoined the train at 3pm and returned back to Carson City at 4.30pm. We overnighted in Carson and enjoyed dinner at the Black Bear Diner in town. After narrowly avoiding Wayne returning to the hotel with a doggy bag of congealed gravy we retired early.
The following morning took us over to the Nevada State Railroad Musuem. We took a trip on their diesel rail car around their 1/2 mile circular track. The track accommodates both narrow gauge and std gauge. Of most interest was their McKeen rail car which has been beautifully restored. Built by a Ship Designer it has a unusual “bow” like a ship and comes with portholes. The other item hidden away in their workshops was the original passenger car that James Crocker used when he was out building the transcontinental railroad. It was used at the joining ceremony at Promontory Point. An interesting factoid is that we have the Movie Industry to thank for the preservation of the Victorian era rail items. The cowboy films featured early rail locos and cars and the movies bought up everything they could in the 1930s. When that interest dried up, the preservation groups got their hands on the equipment.
From there some journeyed home but 4 remained to go to the US Mint facility at the Nevada State Museum. I find it ironic that the Mint resides opposite a large casino downtown in Carson City. It closed in 1893 after crimes of embezzling by 2 accountants – some of the coinage had gone missing and was never found. A trip across the road might have been fruitful in the search but who am I to comment. The basement houses a complete mine which is worth a view and the complete silverware set given by the State of Nevada to the navy ship USS Nevada is on display.
The journey back across the “Hill” was uneventful and the trip finished well. Many thanks to Gerry and Bob E for organizing and to Jim for driving.