Virginia &Truckee #29 (former Longview, Portland & Northern Railway #680) leads McCloud River #18 in a double-header over a pass at Gold Hill, NV, in a race to Virginia City with freight train, the majority of the load being ore from the Yellow Jacket mine.
Traces of gold were first discovered in the Gold Hill outcropping in 1857. The two brothers that made the discovery, Ethan Allen and Hosea Ballou Grosh of Pennsylvania, perished that same year. Henry Comstock, a gentleman left to care for the brother's cabin, along with a chest of silver and gold ore samples, laid claim to the lands upon learning of their death. It was not until January 28th, 1959, however, when the "Comstock Lode" was rediscovered. Later that same Spring, two miners, Peter O'Riley and Patrick McLaughlin, finding all the paying ground already claimed, went to the head of Six Mile Canyon, and began prospecting with a rocker on the slope of the mountain near a small stream fed from a neighboring spring. It was there that they found ore that was 3/4th silver to 1/4 gold and thus began the Nevada "Silver Rush". Henry Comstock worked himself into that deal claiming ownership of that parcel of land.
Mules were initially used to haul both gold and silver to Reno, NV. The V&T broke ground on February 18th, 1869 first connecting Virginia City to Carson City on January 28th 1870 and finally Virginia City to Reno on August 24, 1872.
The double-header "pan" shot is a fitting tribute to the area, as the Comstock Lode contained record amounts of both silver (represented by MCR #18's smoke box ) and gold which was found in smaller amounts - nicely represented by V&T #29!