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Steam & Excursion > VERY depressing news,V&T Reno:-(

Date: 06/10/05 11:48
VERY depressing news,V&T Reno:-(
Author: ls

I have some very depressing news to tell. The legendary V&T #11, the Reno, is in a very poor state right now. The once proud locomotive, gleaming in brass, sits on display on a rough peice of track in the Old Tucsan amusment park outside of Tucson, AZ.

The Reno, has lived a hagered life these past ten years. It was just a short time ago, in 1994, that this historic lady was fully operational, easily capable of dashing along at 60 mph. She was fully intact, with few differences from when she last ran on the V&T. All this changed in 1995. That was when a devastating fire burned through 40% of Old Tucson. The Reno was caught in that fire, but got off rather lucky. The only casualty she suffered was the loss of her cab, and her wood footboards. This fire closed down the park for 3 years, while it was being rebuilt. The Reno, however, recieved little attention. Then, in 1997, she was asked to participate in the movie "Wild Wild West". Even though she was not operational, she would be portrayed running under her own steam, thanks to a little camera magic. Even though modifications would be made and she would not be made operational, Old Tucson didn't mind this as long as she was cosmeticaly restored when she was returned.
Unfortunatly, they didn't do such a great job. Even just a few years after her return, the 'restoration' is shown to be anything but thorough. A peice of rebar welded to her bell is her bell crank, cheap brass plate (now as black as her paint) adorns her domes. They didn't even remember to add the brass to her walkways or various other fine points. Her Boiler jacket has buckeled, and asbestos is seen squeezing out the joints. Her tender's in bad shape, with the trucks, frame, and paneling all damaged. The rear coupler is about to fall out of the pocket, and all the wood is begining to dryrot.

So, that's how she stands; alone in the desert, with a patched together boiler, a bolted on stack, and a black dress. She seems to be forgoten, her brass tarneshed as black as the paint of her funeral gown. With her crippled condition, and no possible demand for her in sight, it seems as though she is doomed to rot in the Arizona sun.

When I went to Old Tucson today, I was hoping to see that the Reno had at least some care taken of her. But to see that the moment she returned, she was dumped on a ragged peice of track, and untouched since she came home, I was outraged. I have never felt such sorrow before, and I have never been so passionate about anything as I am about her now. What is really agrivating, is that in brosiours and on their website, you are made to believe that she is about the most important thing there, that she is in perfect shape with shining brass and colorful paint. Unfortunatly this is not the case. I really would not be upset at all, if they had shown at least a little caring for her. But it was clearly evident that they have resigned her to the desert. As such, I cannot help but feel a deep sense of rage against Old Tucson.

I demand that she be returned home, and donated to the Nevada State Railway Museum. That is the only proper place for her. They alone can appreciate the entire value of her history. They also have the means, and the will, to restore her to her original operating condition. And while it would be nice to have her donated to my museum, I think the only place she belongs is with her sisters in Carson City.

The Renos fate is an unkind one, especially when there is so much value placed on steam locomotives today. However, I feel that unless she is rescued from here deathbed in the desert soon, she will lost forever, being destroyed by time and neglect. Standing next to her today, I could hear the wind howl around her, and whistle through her body that it was as though her soul had cried out in despare.

Sadly I currently do not have the means alone to save her. But, if I can manage to creat enough interest in her, and get enough help from museums, the public, and you, we might just be able to see to it that she has a long life yet to live.

Thus, I'd like to ask for you're support, in petitions, with letters, and with whatever means you have, to make a difference in preserving a wonderful peice of american history.

I have decided that I cannot stand by and watch as this historic locomotive dies in the heat of the desert sun. I will do whatever I can to preserve and restore her.

Date: 06/10/05 12:36
Re: VERY depressing news,V&T Reno:-(
Author: CPRR

Where do we write or call? This is an example of stupidity in the US for anything historic....

Date: 06/10/05 13:07
Re: VERY depressing news,V&T Reno:-(
Author: ls

Date: 06/10/05 13:14
Re: VERY depressing news,V&T Reno:-(
Author: zephyrus


Little confused here. How is writing to the Nevada Northern going to help? They do not own the Reno and they are not NSRM.

Having dealt with various trade and sale deals in recent years, the only way this happens is if Old Tuscon is willing to deal. NSRM (or some museum) needs to approach them and see what they want. Money, equipment, etc.

If Old Tuscon does not want to deal, then the next best thing would be to see if a group of volunteers can come in and work on her.

Beware: if Old Tuscon suddenly starts getting nasty letters, it may make them decide to do nothing. Most companies and organizations do NOT respond well to threats or angry letters in this kind of situation, and it may lead to the opposite result from what you hope.

Someone responsible from an accredited organization should approach them. I agree that NSRM is the best bet.

That said, I hope she gets the attention she deserves.


Date: 06/10/05 14:00
Re: VERY depressing news,V&T Reno:-(
Author: CPRR

From their website www.oldtucson.com/film_office/old_tucson/old_tucson.htm:

Date: 06/10/05 15:33
Re: VERY depressing news,V&T Reno:-(
Author: Ed_Gyptian

I think I was told that wheb it burnt, the frame was weakened to the point of where it bent and would make it an unlikely candidate for operational restoration. But I would like to see it at least cosmetically restored up at the NSRM. Also, here is their webpage...


Date: 06/10/05 17:53
Re: VERY depressing news,V&T Reno:-(
Author: btflco

The fire at Old Tucson Studios destoyed the backhead guages and fittings as well as the sides of boiler above the firebox. The top shell of the boiler was damaged as well. All of these things could be repaired easily enough by manufacturing new boiler sheets and aquiring new guages and such. But the boiler was damaged long before the fire when the studio, misguidedly, tried to convert the engine to compressed air operation. The result is that the entire boiler will have to be replaced in order for the locomotive to ever steam again. It also pains me to see the way Old Tucson Studios is treating the engine by leaving it exposed to the elements year round and using pyrotechnics on it. The "Reno" is a priceless historical artifact and should be donated to a museum instead of being repeatedly being blown up for motion picture entertainment.

Date: 06/10/05 18:33
Re: VERY depressing news,V&T Reno:-(
Author: px320

Back in 1974 we at Short Line Enterprises discussed the idea of trading our ex-D&R #8 to Old Tucson for the Reno. We had just restored the 8 to operating condition and the Reno was still operating at that time. However, a good look at the boiler and locomotive in general disuaded us from making the trade even though we really wanted a genuine V&T engine for our V&T train. The Reno was operating on reduced boiler pressure at that time (either 75 or 90 lbs)and we had done the boiler work necessary to bring the 8 up to full pressure (140 lbs)The Reno was going to need a new boiler no matter what.

Date: 06/10/05 18:41
Re: VERY depressing news,V&T Reno:-(
Author: Pullman

Don't forget that the Reno also was rather badly damaged during the filming of "Union Pacific" in a staged rollover at speed, with photos of repairs being made at SP LA shops seen in "Silver Short Line" by Harre Demoro and Ted Wurm. According to them, V&T engineers said she never was right after that.

Date: 12/04/19 18:26
Re: VERY depressing news,V&T Reno:-(
Author: lasttoruntheReno11

The Reno, best of my knowledge has never ran at 60 mph since it was brought to old Tucson movie set. The last time it ran under steam was in mid 1988 doing a Dial soap commercial.......best I remember.  It was set up to run on compressed air in the early 1990's and that was a huge failure.  The fire that burned the 133 year old black walnut cab off also melted the gauges, melted the handles; and ruined even the notch lever on the Johnson bar.  It is in dire need of repair and restroation.

Date: 12/07/19 16:00
Re: VERY depressing news,V&T Reno:-(
Author: lasttoruntheReno11

Operating pressure up until 1988 was 110psi.

Date: 08/29/21 14:18
Re: VERY depressing news,V&T Reno:-(
Author: wp1801


Date: 08/29/21 17:10
Re: VERY depressing news,V&T Reno:-(
Author: wabash2800

These engines are very simple compared to modern steam locos. They can be repaired with "relatively less" cost and effort.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/30/21 12:06 by wabash2800.

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