Railroad museum in Carson City receiving nationwide support

Fire roads at the Nevada State Railroad Museum have became impassable due to the recent flooding severely limiting emergency access.

Fire roads at the Nevada State Railroad Museum have became impassable due to the recent flooding severely limiting emergency access.

The Nevada State Railroad Museum is getting responses nationwide from people who have heard about the flood damage suffered last month.

Museum Director Dan Thielen said there have been calls from as far away as Florida from people concerned and wanting to help.

“We were even in the Washington Post,” he said.

The best call, he said, was from a trustee at the John H. Emery Rail Heritage Trust inviting the museum to apply for a grant.

The trust was created by John Emery, a Chicago native and lover of classic passenger trains. Its purpose: “To help recreate and preserve, to the extent possible, the rail passenger travel experience as it was in the U.S. from approximately 1920 through 1960.”

“It’s a foundation that reached out to us and encouraged us to apply for a grant,” Thielen said.

The trust grants can be used to restore or rebuild facilities, trestles and grade crossings to support “a working demonstration passenger railroad.”

He said he and his staff are now working on exactly what to apply for.

In addition, Thielen said the museum has gotten offers from multiple volunteer organizations to help with clean-up and repairs at the museum.

The flooding was caused when Carson City crews diverted the flow of water down Rhodes Drive onto Curry Street to prevent it from flooding Carson Street. Unfortunately, they ran out of sand bags near the entrance to the museum property, causing thousands of gallons of water to spill onto and through the museum property. The water undermined tracks and inundated shops and outbuildings on the property. Thielen said it will cost at least $500,000 to repair the damage and Public Works estimates another $1.6 million to redesign and construct drainage to prevent future flood damage.

Before they can call on those volunteers, Thielen said the ground has to dry. It’s been pretty much raining every day for two weeks but he said they haven’t suffered any more damage.

“We’re actually doing OK because the city is not diverting any water,” he said.

He said water filling the fire alarm vault keeps setting off alarms but staff is managing to control the flow despite the constant rain.

“Until we get more dried out, we can’t do the big cleanup,” he said. “The ground is so saturated.”

But Thielen said with the winds, the ground is “stiffening up” more quickly than he had expected.

“That gives me hope we can start the work a lot sooner than I thought,” he said.

Because of the damage, he said the museum is closed. But they plan to have the show room area cleaned up and host a grand re-opening in early March, offering area residents free admission for two days.


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