V&T #1 "Lyon"
The Lyon was “first” in many ways. It was the first locomotive of the Virginia and Truckee Railroad, delivered in pieces by wagon to Carson City on August 7, 1869. The engine was assembled on the depot grounds next to the Carson City Mint and was placed on the rails on September 29th, at a ceremony marking the first laying of V&T railroad tracks. The Lyon was also the first locomotive, with four construction cars, to cross the Crown Point Bridge on November 13, 1869. And with great fanfare became the first locomotive with train to reach the Comstock.
The Lyon, along with identical engine #2, Ormsby, were used for general freight service for several years but their small size soon relegated the Lyon to duty as the Virginia City yard engine and the Ormsby to pulling the maintenance of way gravel train. With the arrival of a new and larger yard engine for Virginia City in 1875, the Lyon replaced the Ormsby on the gravel train.
By 1879, in need of heavy repairs and with many other locomotives on hand, Lyon was no longer needed and was placed in storage at the old V&T engine house several blocks west of the big stone shops. In May 1887, space was needed for the storage of passenger cars and Lyon and Ormsby were removed from storage and placed on the scrap track at the stone engine house.
The locomotive made its last trip over the road in 1889, when, after boiler repairs, it was towed to Reno and used for several months as a stationary boiler at the Nevada Reduction Works. The Lyon spent its last ten years rusting away on a short siding south of Carson City and was scrapped by the late 1890s.
J. Booth and Company, San Francisco
Date Built: 1869 (modeled to 1869 appearance)
Tonnage: 22 tons
Text by Dale Darney, Reno, Nevada
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Created Monday December 08, 2008