Virginia and Truckee 18 Dayton

The Virginia and Truckee 18 Dayton is a historic standard gauge steam locomotive on display in Carson City, Nevada. It spent its working life on the Virginia and Truckee Railroad.

4-4-0 Dayton.jpg
Type and origin
Power typeSteam
BuilderCentral Pacific Railroad's Sacramento Shops
Serial number6
Build dateSeptember, 1873
 • Whyte4-4-0
Gauge4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm)
Driver dia.60 in (1,524 mm)
Loco weight78 short tons (70.8 t)
Fuel typeWood
Boiler pressure130 psi (0.90 MPa)
CylindersTwo, outside
Cylinder size17 in × 24 in (430 mm × 610 mm)
Performance figures
Tractive effort12,716 lbf (56.56 kN)
OperatorsVirginia and Truckee Railroad
Official nameDayton
Current ownerNevada State Railroad Museum
Dispositionstatic display
Official nameVirginia and Truckee RR. Engines No. 18, The Dayton; and No. 22, The Inyo
DesignatedDecember 18, 1973
Reference no.73002245[1]

The locomotive was placed on the National Register of Historic Places, along with the Inyo, because of their association with the Virginia and Truckee Railroad and transportation development in Nevada.

The Dayton, a 4-4-0 "American", was built in 1873 by the Central Pacific Railroad, in Sacramento, California, and was based on the design of the CP's 173 engine.[2] The locomotive weighs 78,000 pounds (35,000 kg),[3] has 60 inches (150 cm) driving wheels,[2][3] and carried 2,500 US gallons (9,500 l; 2,100 imp gal) of water and 3 cords of wood. A large snow plow was fixed to the front of the locomotive in 1879, and it performed snow clearing duties on the Virginia & Truckee lines during the winters for most of its operational life, in addition to its normal passenger hauling duties.[2]

In 1906 the locomotive had the honor of opening the branch line between Carson City and Minden, Nevada, but after that it was used less frequently. In 1908 it was converted to burn oil rather than wood. In 1937, the locomotive, minus the plow, was sold for $1,000[2] together with No. 22 Inyo to Paramount Pictures who then had the locomotive overhauled at the Southern Pacific Railroad shops at Sparks, Nevada. Paramount had the locomotive repainted and renumbered for use in motion pictures.[4]

The Dayton film historyEdit

The Dayton appeared in several movies, beginning with Union Pacific. It traveled to New York City in 1939 to promote this film. Other movies featuring the Dayton include Young Tom Edison,[2] The Harvey Girls and Duel in the Sun.


In 1937 the locomotive was sold to Paramount Pictures. In 1969 the locomotive participated in ceremonies for the centennial of the Golden Spike. Dayton was modified to represent Union Pacific's No. 119. It remained at the Golden Spike National Historic Site throughout most of the 1970s, along with the V&T's Inyo, which was modified to represent the Central Pacific's Jupiter. In 1974, both locomotives were sold to the State of Nevada, but remained in Utah while brand-new replicas of the Golden Spike locomotives were under construction.[5] Both Inyo and Dayton finally arrived at the Nevada State Railroad Museum in Carson City in late 1978.

Once at the museum, the Inyo and Dayton were evaluated for possible restoration to operating condition. The boiler of the latter was found to be in poor condition and would require replacing for the engine to operate. Since the Dayton's boiler was original, it was decided to instead give the engine a cosmetic restoration. Dayton made its debut at the museum on Memorial Day weekend, 1982.[6]

In 2005, the Dayton was moved to the Comstock History Center in Virginia City, Nevada,[7] where it was displayed until April 2018. It was then returned to the Nevada State Railroad Museum in exchange for Virginia and Truckee 4-6-0 No. 27, which took the Dayton's place on exhibit at the Comstock History Center.[8]


  1. ^ "NPS Focus". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. Retrieved November 7, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d e Koenig, Karl R. (1980). Virginia & Truckee Locomotives. Chatham Publishing Company. p. 58. ISBN 0-89685-102-8.
  3. ^ a b Beebe, Lucius; Clegg, Charles (1963). Virginia & Truckee: A Story of Virginia City and Comstock Times (5th ed.). Howell North. p. 68. LCCN 63-14279.
  4. ^ Earl, Phillip I. (1973). "Virginia and Truckee RR engines no. 18, the "Dayton"; and No. 22, the "Inyo"". National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination Form. National Park Service. Retrieved April 27, 2009.
  5. ^ "Everlasting Steam: The Story of Jupiter and No. 119" (PDF). United States National Park Service.
  6. ^ "V&T No. 18 "DAYTON"". Friends of the Nevada State Railroad Museum. October 1, 2010.
  7. ^ Bosshart, Becky (June 21, 2005). "The Dayton is coming to VC History Center". Nevada Appeal. Archived from the original on December 27, 2010.
  8. ^ Clifton, Guy (April 16, 2018). "Dayton locomotive returns to Railroad Museum". Nevada Appeal.