First phase of historic railroad could begin next summer |

First phase of historic railroad could begin next summer

CARSON CITY — Nevada Department of Transportation officials told the V&T Railway Commission on Thursday that, if everything goes as planned, the first phase of the reconstruction will go to bid by July.

Dan McMartin told the Nevada Commission for the Reconstruction of the V&T Railroad the environmental assessment is in its final phases and actual engineering and design should start this winter.

Commission chairman and Carson Mayor Ray Masayko urged them to get the first phase of construction over Overman Pit at Gold Hill under way.

“This crossing of the pit, unless something hits us out of the blue, is funded,” he said. “Let’s get it done.”

He and other members of the commission said that would greatly help efforts to raise the rest of the money needed to rebuild the historic rail line connecting Virginia City and Carson City. The total cost of that project is estimated at $28.4 million including Union Pacific’s agreement to donate the rails and railroad ties necessary for the 17.5-mile run.

But new board member John Farahi, owner of the Atlantis Hotel/Casino in Reno, said he wants the board to get more organized about addressing some of the details in the project — such as whether the donated rails are heavy enough to handle the proposed railroad and how much it will cost to get necessary equipment including steam-powered locomotives. He said those things are necessary to produce an accurate estimate of the final costs.

Don Minor, who represents Douglas County, said one of those costs not included in current estimates is extending the line south to Minden/Gardnerville. He urged the board to include that in its calculations saying, “It’s not just an idea. It’s an historical route.”

Member Ted Short of Reno said Thursday, he was just “thrilled” the commission was looking at approving the Overman Pit section of the process.

“What will keep this thing going is get that project going, fill in the pit and start laying track,” he said.

The first mile and a half of the project is being funded by the state and federal government. That is crossing the pit at Gold Hill for between $4 million and $5 million. The 8.3-mile section of track from the pit to Highway 50 at the Carson City-Lyon County line will only cost $8.3 million.

The proposed budget includes $800,000 for a railroad bridge to cross Highway 50 so the track can continue on toward Carson City.

With equipment including new engines and train cars, construction of terminals at both Virginia City and Carson City and other costs, the total will be at least $28.4 million.

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