began its career with the Virginia and Truckee Railroad as the William Sharon
arriving in Reno on November 26, 1872. By December 11, 1872, #16 was reported to
be hauling freight between Reno and Carson. It was restricted to the Reno
division due to its long rigid wheelbase that made it difficult to make the
sharp curves of the steep climb from Carson City to the mines at Gold Hill and
V&T Locomotive #16 "Ophir"
In February 1873,
the William Sharon and the identical engine, W. C. Ralston,
were renamed Ophir and Aurora, respectively. This name
change was the result of a decision by the V&T Railroad to discontinue naming
locomotives after employees or stockholders.
After spending less
than nine years operating on the V&T Railroad, Ophir was sold to the
Oregon Railway & Navigation Company on September 1, 1881 (possibly as
their number 73). Thereafter it saw
service on various West Coast railroads, and appeared in 1926 as the Yonah
in the movie The General staring Buster Keaton.
Locomotive and Machine Works
Text by Michael A. Collins, Carmichael, California
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Monday December 08, 2008