Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Little Locomotive that Did

While out in Nevada in 1999 I had a chance to drive up to historic Virginia City, for me it was bought to life by memories of the old television series of the 1960's called "Bonanza" which rather explained the theme song that didn't leave my head the whole time there. At one point in its peak, due mostly from the famed Comstock Load nearby, the population of Virginia City was about thirty thousand but soon declined as the Comstock mines started drying up in the late 1800's.
The Comstock Load mines were at Gold Hill just down the road from Virginia City and the old V&T (Virginia & Truckee) Railroad still has tracks running between the two areas.
No.8 at the time of this photograph was proudly bringing visitors on a historic trek from what seemed to be a step back in time on a round trip from Virginia City to Gold Hill, many of the old mines and structures are still visible in the desert sand and sagebrush making the excursion delightful for both RailFans and history buffs.

No.8 has a rather lengthy history from its creation in November 1907 through its many sales and donations to various companies and organizations throughout its lifespan, the 2-6-2 Prairie steam locomotive was built by Baldwin and first sold to Sierra Nevada Wood and Lumber Company in Hobart Mills, California, this was the first stop of many for this little survivor which has been under restoration from the time of this photograph and will soon ride again at Gold Hill. More of its very interesting history and the history of this fascinating area can be found at the Gold Hill Historic Society (GHHS) website which is an excellent read.

I especially would like to thank Steve Stough from the Gold Hill Historic Society for his help on the information given to me on No.8 and if you would like to donate to this wonderful organization just click here.


Sea Serpent said...

Great photo of the train!

Makes me want to go back to Virginia City.

I've also been there and found its history very fascinating.

Richard Rizzo said...

Thank you Sea Serpent, my only regrets of the trip was the limited time frame I had but then again even those few days were most memorable to me.