The Nevada State Railroad Museum (NSRM) in Carson City, Nevada is the proud owner of the former Virginia & Truckee (V & T) Railroad Motor Car #22. This 70′ car was purchased in 1910 for service between Reno, Carson City, and Virginia City and was later used on the Minden Branch of the V & T to haul passengers, mail, and express packages. The McKeen Motor Car Company of Omaha, Nebraska built similar cars for other railroads; however the V & T car is one of the few remaining examples of this companies work and is reportedly the only operating McKeen car left in the world. Car # 22 has been fully restored by the NSRM and was unveiled earlier this year on the 100th anniversary of the car on May 9, 2010. Car # 22 was retired by the V & T in 1945, and became a diner in Carson City. The car was later moved and became part of a local plumbing business. The owner of this business later donated the car body to the Nevada State Railroad Museum in 1996. The museum began an intensive research and restoration effort that was completed in 2010. With approximately 150 cars manufactured by the McKeen Company, this car is truly a rarity, providing us with a glimpse of early 20th century rail transportation.
Each year, the Friends of the NSRM holds an annual Symposium in Carson City, and this year, as a special treat, Symposium attendees were permitted to ride the restored car on September 8, 2010. The car was removed from its storage bay under its own power and was turned on the museums turntable. Museum and Friends of the NSRM members took the opportunity to capture this unique car on film and video as it moved to the former Wabuska, NV railroad station which is located on the museums property. Once at the station, guests loaded onto the 100 year old car for a trip around the museums circle of tracks. Approximately 80 people made the trip, with emotions running high among participants as many members never thought that they would see this car run again.
Motor cars were designed to carry passengers, mail and express freight on lightly traveled rail lines for short hauls between rural communities in an effort to reduce operating costs. Rail cars did not require a locomotive as they were self contained and propelled by a gasoline powered engine. In addition, they required less personnel to operate, making them popular through the depression years. The Virginia & Truckee Railroad served the communities of Virginia City, Reno, Carson City, and Minden during the period from 1870-1950. Known as the Silver Short Line, the railroad carried ore and processed gold and silver from mines in the famous Comstock Lode of Virginia City and Gold Hill. The railroad has been revived in recent years, and trains once again run from Carson City to Virginia City along the old route, allowing visitors the opportunity to relive the glory days of the old west.