Steamscape: Collapsed Tunnel #3. On a clear, February day, V&T Consolidation #29 takes her short freight up the hill toward Virginia City, passing the remains of Tunnel #3, once known as "Homestead Tunnel." Located just above Gold Hill Depot at MP 50.3, and just below Tunnel #4, the 448 ft long Tunnel #3 was built in 1869. Unlike Tunnel #4, this one incorporated both a steep grade and a curve. Unfortunately, throughout its existence, it was plagued by unstable geology. Settling of the track bed and shifting rock formations made this tunnel a maintenance headache for the original V&T. By the time the Virginia City Branch was closed in 1938, some of the V&T's coaches would no longer fit through it. When the new V&T attempted to reopen it in the late 1980s, they removed thousands of cubic yards of dirt, but alas, their efforts were in vain. What was left of that tunnel collapsed, resulting in the ruins you see on the right side of the photo. The new V&T was forced to create a shoo-fly and bypass the old tunnel....which turned out not to be a bad thing. Passengers on the train now get a really nice view of Gold Hill as they ascend the steep grade toward Virginia City.