Truckee’s Got Trains!   Leave a comment

By Tim Hauserman

 

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Amtrak’s California Zephyr train on its way to Reno from the Truckee train station

 

For many of us, Truckee’s trains are the frequent background sounds of life in town. They are a chance to simplify our lives as we watch the cars rhythmically clatter down the tracks. Or they are the thrill of the roaring locomotive drowning out the raucous sounds of Truckee Thursday. But Truckee’s rail line is more then just a blast from the past, or a brief interlude in our day, it is one of the things that makes Truckee the place that it is. Truckee is a railroad town, with well over a dozen trains a day rolling through. And trains are also an important part of how Truckee became more then just a blip on the radar.

 

Vintage train at the Truckee Train Station

Truckee Railroad Museum in a vintage train car at the Truckee Train Station

 

The Transcontinental Railroad made its way through Truckee in 1867 on it’s way to its’ eventual completion in Utah in 1869. Building the first railroad all the way across the country was an impressive feat at the time, especially the section just to the west of Truckee over Donner Summit. There Chinese laborers took two years to build the routes longest tunnel through solid granite.

 

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Vintage safe inside the Truckee Train Station

 

 

 

Truckee’s position as the last stop before the climb over the Sierra crest was key to it’s development as a town. Once the line was complete, the railroads quickly went to work transporting logs to feed the immense silver mines of Virginia City. By 1900, the railroad dipped its toes into tourism, with a new railroad station that is still standing, and a narrow gauge railroad to Tahoe City. Visitors would transfer to the Lake Tahoe Railroad in Truckee, and take the 13 mile line to the shores of Lake Tahoe and the swank Tahoe Tavern. Both the railroad to Tahoe City and the hotel are gone, but for awhile, tourists prime mode of transit to Tahoe was via train. Now, there are just two Amtrak trains a day through Truckee, the rest are freight trains providing the materials needed to keep America moving.

 

The Truckee Train Station also is home to the Truckee Visitors Center, Chamber of Commerce and a variety of local craftsmen

The Truckee Train Station also is home to the Truckee Visitors Center, Chamber of Commerce and a variety of local craftsmen

 

For more information on the impact of trains on Truckee and the development of the Sierra, visit the Truckee Railroad Museum in the caboose next to the Amtrak Station in downtown Truckee. The newly opened Donner Memorial Visitor Center also has an exhibit on the Chinese workers who built the railroad.

 

View of train tracks towards Donner Summit

Train tracks in downtown Truckee going west

 

THINK OF ME, LYNN RICHARDSON, FOR ALL OF YOUR LAKE TAHOE AND TRUCKEE REAL ESTATE NEEDS!

http://www.lynnrichardson.net

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