All that's left from the "Last Spike" consist. Although the May 10th, 1869 completion of the first transcontinental railroad was a seminal moment in the history of the United States, our country has done a rather poor job of preserving the artifacts from that pivotal event. Both of the locomotives from that historic meeting were unceremoniously scrapped many years later. Eventually, the site of the "Last Spike" was bypassed and after falling into disuse and the original Promontory rails were pulled up and melted down during WWII scrap drive. Were it not for the Virginia & Truckee Railway, and a fortuitous purchase they made in 1876, we might not have any rolling stock remaining from that momentous occasion.
This is V&T Coach #17. As it turns out, this car was purchased from the Central Pacific Railroad back in 1876. Just 7 years earlier, it had been a private car for the officials of that railroad, including Charles Crocker. The car had facilities for eating and sleeping as well as office space. It is believed to be the car that carried Leland Stanford and his party, with the Golden Spike to the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad at Promontory Summit in Utah, on May 10, 1869. So far as is known, it is the only piece of rolling stock that is left from the two trains which met that day. The car currently sits in the museum's restoration shop, lettered for a movie role that it played after its V&T career. As I understand it, there is debate underway as to what will be done to restore the car. As can be seen, some of the wood structures are in rough shape, but there is concern that replacing this material might destroy the original fabric of this very historic piece. Stay tuned, as the very talented team at the NSRM decides how to preserve this car for future generations to enjoy.
Photo taken under escort by a museum staff member.