With farewell ceremonies confined to exercises conducted by school children at Steamboat, the Virginia & Truckee railroad will make its final run Wednesday morning.
Historic engine No. 27, out of retirement since her twin No. 26 was destroyed by fire earlier in the month, will pull the train on its early morning haul out of Reno, down to Minden, then back here in the late afternoon.
On the afternoon trip the train will stop at Steamboat where D. Edna Carver has arranged for school children to recite poetry and sing a farewell song or two. The children are from the Brown-Washoe school, descendants of families who have heard the mournful “toot” of the V&T whistles for long remembered years.
That will happen about 5:30 p.m. Afterwards, Engineer Bill Recker and Fireman Grover Russell will head the engine for the barn, and 81 years of service to the public will be ended for the historic shortline. The melancholy sound of the whistle on old 27 will be heard for a few days longer, however, as rolling equipment is hauled back and forth for storage in Carson.
Mob scenes are expected at the Southern Pacific depot Wednesday morning when the train starts to pull out. Hundreds of California people have shown an interest in taking the final ride. Estimates of the number who might seek to board the train range as high as 500.
Only 60 seats were available on a first come-first served basis.
For several days now the sale of tickets for the last run has been heavy and Gordon Sampson, vice president and general manager, last week urged that local people make their last rides early and avoid the crush. It was also announced that tickets were being sold on a “good for date of sale only” basis. Many Western Nevadans heeded the advice. The others will have to compete with visiting Californians for the sixty seats.
Engine 27 was resurrected to serve during the last few days of operation by special order of the Interstate Commerce commission. Retired under an ICC edict in 1948 the engine had been stored in the Carson shops. When engine 26 burned, Mr. Samson applied for, and received permission to put 27 to work again.
Ed. C. Peterson, retired master mechanic, donned his overalls and jumper, washed out boilers, added new parts and put on a smoke-stack and the engine was on the line once more.
To accommodate the 60 passengers who will be able to make the last ride, benches were placed in the baggage compartment.