Tuesday, September 01, 2009

V&T seeks grant to complete tracks

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The V&T Railway Commission was told Monday that the latest section of tracks begins going down within the week, according to the Nevada Appeal. Project Engineer Ken Dorr said this extension takes the tracks into the canyon above the Carson River which, when completed, will be the most scenic part of the 17-mile ride between Virginia City and Carson City, Nev.

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.

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