SHORT LINE ENTERPRISES, INC.
1973-1988

 

Preparation for the V&T project required the Company to accelerate the restoration of locomotive #8 (a Cooke L&M Co 4-4-0 built in 1888), conversion of two flat cars to excursion cars, completion of V&T caboose coach #8 restoration and restoration of V&T miners caboose #10. During the course of this activity the Company purchased an operable 1922 railbus which also needed restoration.

After a lot of planning, discussion and negotiation, agreement was finally reached with Bob Gray and his newly reconstituted Virginia & Truckee Railroad. Short Line's restored locomotive #8 would become V&T #28. Restored and rebuilt 40' flat car #01412 became V&T flat/excursion car #358. Restored and rebuilt 34' flat car #78094 became V&T flat/excursion car #360. Original, 1873, V&T miners caboose #10 was restored to its turn-of-the-century configuration and appearance. Ex-Tucson, Cornelia and Gila Bend railbus #401 was restored and became V&T #50, Washoe Zephyr. The excursion cars and #50 moved to Virginia City, Nevada in late 1975. Locomotive #8 and caboose #10 moved in May of 1976. Operations commenced the last weekend of June, 1976. Bill Oden moved to Virginia City to operate and maintain the equipment. V&T caboose coach #8 Julia Bulette was supposed to move to Virginia City, but it never made it.

June 1974 brought Short Line into the movie business in a serious way. David Wolper was doing a centennial mini series based on Sandburg's book about Abraham Lincoln. They needed a period train that could depict Lincoln's inauguration train of 1861. Locomotive #8, caboose coach #8 and flat/excursion car #358 were essentially complete and ready to go. The Company rushed to finish these three pieces then make needed repairs on V&T Baggage #21 and V&T Coach #3. Filming was successfully completed on June 21, and 28, 1974.

By 1975, the company's collection had stabilized at three 19th Century steam locomotives, one 1920's railbus, one gas-mechanical switching locomotive and fourteen passenger and freight cars. Selected pieces of which were restored to an appropriate historical configuration and a safe, reliable operating condition. This work established the company's founders as recognized experts in the restoration of 19th Century railroad equipment. Short Line's experience in buying, selling and evaluating railroad equipment for restoration also led to its emergence as one of the foremost appraisers in the country of locomotives, rolling stock and other railroad-related items.

In mid 1976 the Santa Fe gave short notice that the Cucamonga Foothill spur had officially been abandoned and the property was being sold. The company had to move. The obvious choice was to take the rest of the equipment to Virginia City. However, strong personalities were involved on both sides and there was a lot of friction between the railroad and Short Line. The next choice was the 50-mile-long Sierra Railroad at Jamestown, California.

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