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.