A time-honored tradition: The Burning of Rome. Back in the 1940s, when legendary railroad photographers Lucius Beebe and Charles Clegg spent their days photographing operations on the Virginia & Truckee between Reno and Minden, NV, it was pretty well known that they used to "bribe" the crews in one way or another to give them some copious black smoke, when they were spotted with their cameras trackside. They liked a nice, black plume in their photographs and were fond of referring to the phenomenon as a re-enactment of "The Burning of Rome." So it goes today that when we visit the V&T every few years, we like to carry on that tradition. We don't have to force it. It usually just happens. While we typically ask the crew for a little gray smoke on each runby, once in a while, the crew will forget and come by completely clean stack. Of course, that leads to a few photographers grumbling and a gentle reminder to the crew over the radio that we need more smoke....and you know what happens next! Although the technical term is "overcompensation", we call it: "The Burning of Rome." Here, we see V&T #29 on a caboose hop, doing the traditional re-enactment as she exits Tunnel #2, just above the vast open space known as American Flat.