Step into the frame of an authentic TV western aboard the historic Virginia & Truckee Railroad.
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The 2014 season is taking to the rails Memorial Day weekend. Steam train rides from Nevada’s capital, Carson City to the 1860s boom-era mining town of Virginia City begin May 24 and extend weekends through Oct. 19. Friday diesel train tours start June 20.
From the rumble of the iron wheels to the blast of the steam whistle, the sights and sounds of this 75-minute trip are the same today as they were in 1869. With tracks through the Comstock-era right-of-away, the historic train is one of the area’s leading attractions with ridership increasing more than 15 percent in 2013 from the previous season.
Passengers travel through sagebrush flats dotted with pinyon pine and mountain junipers, along the Carson River, and often see sights like herds of Nevada’s wild mustangs. The train’s conductor spins tales of the 1860s silver boom offering each guest a window seat to the area’s Wild West history.
Weekend steam trains feature a 1916 Baldwin Consolidation 2-8-0 or a 1914 Baldwin-built Mikado 2-8-2 steam engine leading 1914 Pullman cars. Trains depart Carson City Saturdays and Sundays at 10 a.m. Diesel trains run Fridays from June 20 to Aug. 29, departing Carson City at 10 a.m.
Roundtrip steam train tickets are $52 for adults, $32 for children ages 3 to 16 (toddlers and infants are free) and $48 for seniors 65 and older. Friday diesel train tickets are $36 for adults, $22 for children and $34 for seniors. Tickets are available online at vtrailway.com or 877-724-5007.
The Toast of the Canyon wine and appetizer round trip train from Carson City through nearby scenic canyons will run the last Saturday of each month beginning June 28. Designed for train enthusiasts with a taste for the finer things, it pairs a “vintage” train ride through the canyon among spectacular high desert scenery with appetizers and a glass of wine.
Returning for another season is the “Kids Ride Free” program where children 12 and under ride the V&T Railroad diesel trains Fridays throughout the summer for free. This promotion runs online only with the code KIDSFREE. (One free kid ticket per paying adult is available with online purchases only).
In addition to the V&T’s Carson City-Virginia City Sisters in History 16-mile excursion, a 4-mile, 35-minute historic route loop through Virginia City and Gold Hill is offered. The V&T initially reopened the historic route in 1972 under the ownership of the Gray family who have preserved the railway’s heritage. With the family’s help, the reconstruction project between Virginia City and Carson City became a reality for future generations.
For Historic Route schedule and ticket prices visit virginiatruckee.com or call 775-847-0380.
Discounted private group charters are also available. For group fares and special excursion trains contact Candace Duncan at 775-721-6255, 775- 291-0208 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Carson City passenger station is located at Eastgate Siding on Flint Drive off U.S. Highway 50 East. To keep the memories rolling passengers can stop by the station’s gift shop stocked with V&T souvenirs.
For the latest train updates or to purchase tickets visit vtrailway.com or call 877-724-5007.