V. and T. Railroad tunnel 2 being dug out

Helitac Sep 17, 2005

  1. Helitac

    Helitac TrainBoard Member

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    They've touched off a blast to open the east face today, then they'll dig some out and get the engineering data started. I never thought they'd get this far, now I'm starting to think it's going to happen.
     
  2. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    What was this tunnel like? Timber lined? Can you get close enough to take pictures?

    :D

    boxcab E50
     
  3. Helitac

    Helitac TrainBoard Member

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    At least timber braced,maybe square set?, it had burned a couple of times and was finally sealed in 69 or so. It wouldn"t be too bad a hike, I worked several wildland fires in that area, my problem would be getting to the start point. I think the fill across American Flats is done so the Right of way might be an out of season option.
     
  4. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    It will be interesting to follow what they do. To reopen. And make it safe for use. Am sure modern techniques will be required. Some sort of lining. The great thing being this is happening at all!

    :D

    Boxcab E50
     
  5. John Barnhill

    John Barnhill TrainBoard Member

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    Ok, I know they bypassed a "collapsed" tunnel, used another and are now working on #2. My question is are they going to be using the original row as close as possible from here on down to Carson City?
     
  6. Helitac

    Helitac TrainBoard Member

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    I'm not sure where the RoW was, I think they want to cross US50 at Moundhouse, then maybe along the Carson River to get into Eagle Valley. (the area where Carson City is) I'll try and clear this up and update this thread. ( EDIT) A website at www.steamtrain.org has more info on the project

    [ September 17, 2005, 10:51 PM: Message edited by: Helitack ]
     
  7. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    I've heard the name before. What was at Moundhouse? More mining? How did it get that name?

    :D

    Boxcab E50
     
  8. John Barnhill

    John Barnhill TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks Helitack,
    The link you provided has answered many questions. [​IMG]
     
  9. Helitac

    Helitac TrainBoard Member

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    You're welcome: Boxcab I don't remember where it comes from so I called my favorite librarian. She'll find it, and then I'll post it here in this thread. Also I read a news blurb that #18 "Dayton" has been trucked to V.C.
     
  10. John Barnhill

    John Barnhill TrainBoard Member

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    I believe Moundhouse was an Indian thing. A type of structure they built for either living quarters or religious gathering or something of that nature. The site might have been a major camp site for the natives and thus taken the name. Course this is pure speculation. :D

    Yes, #18 Dayton has been trucked to V.C. and will be on display in the new museum. It has also been proposed to change this display every few years to a different loco from Carson City. That would be kinda cool. [​IMG]
    By the way, this #18 is not to be confused with the #18 coming from the McCloud.
     
  11. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Please keep the progress reports coming. I find these kinds of restoration efforts quite exciting to follow!

    :D

    Boxcab E50
     
  12. Helitac

    Helitac TrainBoard Member

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    John, I think you're right, but I just can't be certain. The co-operation between the entities involved is a great thing. I think it's one of the reasons for the progress we're seeing. Next weekend a shopping mall in Carson City is hosting a Modular show, depending on how my sleep schedule works I'm gonna' try to get there. I don't much care for working graveyard, and I'm tired of being a Vampire.
     
  13. John Barnhill

    John Barnhill TrainBoard Member

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    The V&T was such a classical and well loved old west railroad. With so many of its locos preserved and the row intact and not over developed, plus the history of the area and the tourism economy of said area, it only makes sense to rebuild it! IMHO :D Very neat stuff taking place. I can't wait to get back up that way for a railfanning trip.
     
  14. Helitac

    Helitac TrainBoard Member

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    I'd love to see some of the real Nevada preserved before it gets lost to development, and the accompanying agon.
     
  15. John Barnhill

    John Barnhill TrainBoard Member

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    New news. I've read now phase 1 of the row work is done. The Overman (or Oberman??) Pit has been conquered. Course I should probably go look at that site listed above again. [​IMG]
     
  16. Helitac

    Helitac TrainBoard Member

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    That's one massive fill! Too bad a Photogenic trestle isn't an option, of course in the real world most of them were filled in also,(dirt rarely burns). Winter's coming, and soon the desolate beauty of Nevada will be quiet again. That's when I like to go explore.
    I just had a random thought, and it's probably not original, but, maybe the V & T might get off the Fallen Flags list? [​IMG] [​IMG]

    [ October 29, 2005, 10:09 PM: Message edited by: Helitack ]
     
  17. cap187

    cap187 New Member

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    Hi locals! Glad to hear about the progress on the V&T. I get up to VC about once a year. Will have to check it out again when I have time.
     
  18. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    cap187-

    Welcome to TrainBoard!

    I'd really like to learn more about what's been happening with the V&T. Last time I'd checked, their web site didn't have any current news. :sad: If you get into that area, please report what they're doing!

    :D

    Boxcab E50
     
  19. Leo Bicknell

    Leo Bicknell TrainBoard Member

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    So, for those of us not familiar with the V&T, how about a history lesson?
     
  20. JDLX

    JDLX TrainBoard Member

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    Leo-

    Quick history lesson...here goes.

    To understand the V&T you first need to know a little bit about the early economy and topography of western Nevada. This is basin and range country, where you have long mountain ranges seperated by long valleys that both run north-south. The valley floors generally sit 4000-5000 feet above sea level, with the mountain ranges topping out at 8,000-10,000 feet. Going east-west across the state you cross over range after range after range, unless you are on Interstate 80. I-80 follows the Humboldt River, which weaves around the ends of most of the ranges.

    In 1859 some prospectors discovered gold on one slope of Mount Davidson, which started the great rush into the area. The miners looking for gold kept running into the blue slushy material that constantly got in the way of the gold, which got the miners upset. The miners had been throwing the blue sludge aside for months when one of them finally took a closer look at it only to find that it was silver. Once news of the abundant silver leaked out the boom really took off, with thousands upon thousands of people pouring into the Virginia City-Gold Hill area. The strikes became known as the "Comstock Load".

    Transportation was one of the biggest problems faced by the miners. The mines were located way the hell up on the side of a massive mountain, with no real room to locate mills and processing plants. Those plants that did locate consumed massive quantities of fuel that had to be brought in over long distances. Many more mills located along the Carson River that flowed near the base of the mountain, but the ore mined on the hillside faced a long and steep road to reach them. To add to the problems the mines went into some unstable geologic formations, which required a lot of timbering to hopefully keep the mines from collapsing. The Sierra Nevada range had a lot of fine timber that could be used to make timbers and that could be burned for firewood, but once again it had to be transported all the way down the east side of the Sierras, across the Carson Valley, and then back up into the hills to reach the mines.

    The Virginia & Truckee came into existence in 1868, with construction starting in 1869. By late 1869/early 1870 the original route had been completed. The route started at Virginia City and went roughly south and west from there, passing through Gold Hills before starting the steep decent down to the Carson River. The railroad then ran down the Carson River Canyon to Carson City.

    The new railroad solved most of the transportation problems of the region. It hauled raw ore downhill to the many mills along the Carson River, where the ore could be processed. By this point large organized lumber firms were turning out boards for use in constructing buildings and bracing mine shafts, and those lumbermen built long flumes that carried the finished lumber down the Sierras to the flats south of Carson City, where the new railroad established vast lumber yards to hold the lumber until it could be loaded on flatcars and hauled up the hill. The new railroad also went into the passenger business between the two cities.

    In 1872 the railroad completed a new line connecting Carson City with the Central Pacific transcontinental mainline at Reno, which allowed for through passenger service to the mines at Virginia City. The railroad ran up to 50 trains each day, with most of them engaged in hauling ore down and lumber up the mountain.

    The railroad gained a lot of agricultural traffic in early 1906 when it completed a branch that ran south from Carson City to the Minden/Gardnerville area. The V&T reached its final form.

    The Comstock Lode mines gradually trailed off, and by the mid-1930's Virginia City was basically a ghost town. The V&T abandoned operations east of Mound House in 1938. The rest of the system survived until 1950, largely due to an owner who covered annual operating losses and the sale of much of the historical equipment on the property to movie studios. If you watch any western movies made in the 1930's-1950's chances are real good the railroad equipment used is fomer V&T equipment. Eventually time caught up with the line, however, and the V&T ended operations at the end of May 1950.

    Virginia City successfully re-invented itself as a tourist town. Aman named Bob Gray started re-assembling the right-of-way in the Virginia City area starting in the late 1950's/early 1960's, and by the mid-1970's he commenced rebuilding a portion of the railroad. By the late 1980's his reconstructed V&T extended from Virginia City to Gold Hill. After several decades of speculation and organization a local transportation commission took on the job of re-building the rest of the original line from Gold Hill to the edge of Carson City. They do plan to use the original grade for the entire length except for the Mound House area, where recent development has completely obliterated the original alignment. The commission has purchased a Baldwin 2-8-2 logging mikado from the McCloud Railway and six Harriman "subs" (former commute cars) from the museum that had to leave Hunters Point. One of the big unanswered questions out there is how this new V&T is going to mesh with the old V&T...no one seems to be saying how that is going to work.

    I hope this answers your question.

    There are two good books out there about the V&T...back in 1983 or so Ted Wurm and Harre Demoro published The Silver Short Line, a very well done book about the railroad. Mallory Hope Ferrel published a second book titled The Virginia & Truckee about ten years ago...it has a lot of pictures but is not organized nearly as well as the Wurm/Demoro book. That's just my opinion.

    Jeff Moore
    Elko, NV

     

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