V&T gets rail; needs more...

John Barnhill Sep 14, 2006

  1. John Barnhill

    John Barnhill TrainBoard Member

    V&T Gets Rail; Needs More
    VIRGINIA CITY, NV -- The managers of a railroad project want to get their bids in before the steel prices soar much higher.
    The state commission reconstructing the $40 million Virginia & Truckee Railway will advertise for bids for 10 miles of track for the next construction phase, which will stretch from American Flat to Mound House. The project engineer said acquiring the rail will be one of the most expensive parts of building the railway.
    The railway is expected to begin carrying tourists from Virginia City to Carson City in 2010. Its reconstruction is funded mostly by public sources.
    Project engineer Ken Dorr said he anticipates the next 10 miles of rail will cost $1.5 million to $2 million. With the price of steel increasing almost weekly, project managers are concerned that there may not be any future abandonments of railroads, which provides a cheaper source of light rail.
    "Nobody is coming forth to say that they are going to donate (rail), so let's go ahead and bid the rail purchase out separately from the construction contract," Dorr said.
    He said asking for bids from specialty firms that market used rail will be cheaper than relying on the project's next contractor to find and purchase it.
    "That could be the cause, we're going to have to see how the bids come out," Dorr said.
    About five miles of rail will probably be needed by next summer.
    The commission obtained four miles of track from the Reno trench project in 2003. A little more than a mile of that track was used to build the first phase of the V&T project, from Gold Hill to American Flat.
    Griffin Group LLC, a Reno company, was awarded a contract to salvage and sort the remaining Reno retrack rails, which engineers believe is too heavy and worn out for the next phase of the V&T reconstruction.
    Joe Hattrup, company owner, said the salvage of the 132-pound rail paid for all their costs, and they realized a 10-15 percent profit. In exchange, Hattrup will provide one mile of lighter rail for the V&T.
    "We will start shipping 90-pound rail to Nevada in the last week of September," he said.
    Dorr said this rail will be used for side tracks and the future Carson City depot yard. The project engineer said about 16.5 miles of track is needed to complete the project into the Carson City depot. The commission wants 100 to 119-pound rails that are a standard 36 or 39-feet-long to lay from American Flat to the Frehner Pit, off Industrial Parkway, in Mound House. This phase will cost $6 million to $7 million. - Becky Bosshart, The Nevada Appeal

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