Virginia & Truckee #25, Nevada State Railroad Museum

There is an old saying that “Legends never die”. The Virginia & Truckee Railroad in Nevada proved just that. Even after the original V&T shut down, it was reopened as a heritage line. Fortunately one of the locomotives from the original Virginia & Truckee, VT #25, has avoided the scrappers torch and now steams up at the Nevada State Railroad Museum.

Virginia & Truckee #25 departing the Nevada State Railroad Museum.
VT #25 preparing to depart the museum for excursion. (Photo: Scott Schrantz via CC by 2.0)

A Brief History of the Virginia & Truckee #25

Built over a century ago in 1905, #25 is a standard gauge 10-wheeler steam locomotive with a wheel arrangement of 4-6-0. It was built by Baldwin Locomotive Works for Virginia & Truckee Railroad Company at a time when the Tonopah mining boom was at its peak. Traffic had increased and the railroad company wanted more powerful locomotives to deal with the increased demand. As such, #25 was the first locomotive to be commissioned by the railroad company since 1876.

Originally a coal-burning engine, Virginia & Truckee #25 was converted to an oil-burning locomotive in 1907. It was generally used as a backup locomotive but would cover over 80,000 miles between 1911 and 1937 before its retirement in 1938.

In 1941, it was sold to the RKO Pictures and used in a couple of films. VT #25 was eventually sold to Robert C. Gray. In 1971, it was sold to the State of Nevada who donated it to the Nevada State Railroad Museum. VT #25 was added to the museums roster of operational locomotives that can be used for excursion and special event trains.

Virginia & Truckee #25 steams up at the Nevada State Railroad Museum for special events throughout the year.
VT #25 departing the museum for excursion. (Photo: Scott Schrantz via CC by 2.0)

Current Status

After operating full time for many decades, Virginia & Truckee #25 is used by the railroad museum primarily for special train events. Together with Virginia & Truckee #22, they’re the only two steam locomotives (still in operation) to have operated on the original Virginia & Truckee railroad. You can visit the Nevada State Railroad Museum, plan a visit, and ride behind VT #25; a living legend of the steam era as it makes its way around Carson City, Nevada.

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