You could take a train from New York City to Carson City up until May 30, 1950 (service all the way to Virginia City ended in 1938). Then it was gone forever. It’s surprising it lasted as long as it did as Virginia City was in decline since well before the turn of the century. It wasn’t until 1921 that a surfaced road was built between Reno and Carson City so the railroad provided an important transportation link between Reno and Minden.
On May 30th the celebrated line passed quietly into the local lore of the Comstock and not many noticed. The Reno Gazette reported that Train No. 1 pulled out of the Southern Pacific depot at 7:30 am with only 40 of it’s available 60 seats filled. “Engine No. 27 and three cars and a caboose headed towards Carson to wind up a faithful career of 81 years. The only formal farewells will be provided by the children of the Brown-Washoe schools at Steamboat Springs as the the train stops at the station at 5;30 on it’s last return trip to Reno. It’s fitting as Steamboat is the only remaining stop on the Reno-Carson run. Huffaker’s, Brown, Washoe City, Franktown, Mill Station and Lakeview have all closed previously.”
The paper reported that several “old-timer” employees, current and retired, manned the Carson Station and the train for the last day. The event also marked the last mail delivered by a short-line railway in the western states.
It was reported that the railroad has received many letters postmarked from all over the United States and around the world since the closing was announced. In the recent years not a small amount of the passenger traffic has been by railroad tourists from around the country.
It was just a couple years ago that we lost some of the last remnants of the line in the fire that destroyed the trestles in Washoe Canyon, north of Highway 395 at the north end of the valley. It’s great that we can still experience the V&T with the rebuilding of the line from Mound House to Virginia City.
The V&T pauses at the location of the Franktown Depot where only the water tower remained. In the background is the Flying ME Dude Ranch popular with divorees in the 1930s and 40s.
Photos above by Al Rose
“Then and Now” of a Virginia and Truckee train passing through Washoe Canyon in North Washoe Valley in the 1880s.
The Now photo was taken in 2009 before the trestles were destroyed by fire.
The folks at http://www.virginiatruckee.com assisted me in correcting some inaccurate information in this article and I appreciate it!