Wednesday, May 12, 2010

McKeen Motor Car Celebration

Carson City always offers a great selection of family activities, and this past Mother’s Day was no exception. After its decade-long restoration and on the 100-year anniversary of its arrival in Carson City, rides on the historic McKeen Motor Car No. 22 (click on link to see photos of the car) were made public on May 9, 2010. Railroad fanatics of all ages, as well as donors who made the McKeen restoration possible, turned out to celebrate this grand event.

Friends of the Nevada State Railroad Museum turned out in record numbers dressed in period costumes and brought history to life as they told how the restoration process unfolded over the years. Some folks who rode the McKeen Car when it was in service (1910-45) on the Virginia & Truckee Railroad attended the event.

The restoration of the car was beautifully done, and the conductor on board supplied great info during a discussion with our party. We discussed windows, floorboards, light fixtures, and even the artistic scroll work on the ceiling of the car, a surprise that was found during removal of the panels in the restoration process (see interior photo below).

Not to be forgotten, the museum was a hit with adults and children. A museum store, old locomotives, tools of the trade, and photos provide a wealth of knowledge to anyone interested in learning. A to-scale (1/87th actual size) working model railroad is operated by volunteers on weekends and group-tour days. At all other times a push-button enables visitors to operate a train on demand. In addition, there are toy train tables and an engine car exhibit with knobs and levers for kids to operate. After riding on the train and seeing all the old equipment, this is a perfect way for any child to end the afternoon.

Text & photos by Carrie Roussel