Dorr said the track should connect the Eastgate Siding where it now ends down to Eureka Siding in the canyon within six weeks.
At the same time, commissioners were told by member Bob Hadfield that the application for a federal stimulus grant that could finish the entire project is being prepared. He said he is working with staff in Sen. Harry Reid's office to prepare the application for the full $29 million and believes the area has a very good chance of qualifying for most if not all of that money.
"One of the major
purposes of the grants is job creation," he said, pointing out that Lyon,
Storey and Carson City all have very high unemployment rates. He said they are
citing not only the jobs created in rebuilding the historic railway but also the
long-term jobs created at the retail businesses that will develop at each end
of the ride once it reaches Carson City. He said it should help not only the
train itself but also gaming, restaurants and hotels at both ends of the route.
He said other arguments for the grant money include the railroad's ability to attract tourists year-round and the train's ability to relieve some of the pressure on the winding two-lane roads to Virginia City.
Finally, the commission was told by operators and officials from the Convention and Visitors Bureau that the train rides have been selling out. The trains are scheduled to run every Saturday until Nevada Day weekend, at the end of October.