Steamscape: American Flat Tunnel (Tunnel #2). V&T Locomotive #29 charges out of the west portal of Tunnel #2, near Silver City, NV, hauling freight loads for customers in Virginia City, about 6 miles up the line. I would have used the term "ahead", but on this line, that's not exactly accurate. The train is headed compass west right now and Virginia City is off to the northeast, beyond the distant hills on the right side of the train. The most distant point on the line that you can see in this view is Gold Hill, and that's located in the distance just above the cab. Yes, that's where she's going. The route is anything but direct. It's no wonder that this railroad was nicknamed the "crookedest shortline in America."
Sometimes known as "American Flat Tunnel", Tunnel #2 is located at MP 45.9. Of the 6 tunnels that once existed on the original Virginia & Truckee Virginia City Branch, the longest was the one you see here. Located in the hills west of Silver City, this tunnel had a bore length of 568 feet. In the half century since the original line was dismantled in 1941, this tunnel had deteriorated significantly and there were some sections that had collapsed. After the Nevada State Commission for the Reconstruction of the V&T managed to bridge the Overman Pit a few miles to the north, the re-opening of Tunnel #2 proved to be the next major obstacle to reaching Mound House, above Carson City, NV. It took over several years worth of engineering study and some major construction effort to clear, stablize and shore up this tunnel, but when it was completed in 2007, it paved the way for track construction all the way to Mound House, where the line's current southern terminal is located.