Train operations in Virginia City shut down for summer – Stretch of track removed as result of lawsuit settlement

A stretch of train tracks in Virginia City is being removed as the result of the settlement agreement of a four-year-old lawsuit between the Montana Heritage Commission and Joseph Bardswich. The removal of the tracks will make it impossible for any tourist train to run this summer between Virginia and Nevada Cities.  Submitted photo

A stretch of train tracks in Virginia City is being removed as the result of the settlement agreement of a four-year-old lawsuit between the Montana Heritage Commission and Joseph Bardswich. The removal of the tracks will make it impossible for any tourist train to run this summer between Virginia and Nevada Cities. Submitted photo

This summer might seem kind of quiet in Alder Gulch without the sound of a train whistle.

As the result of a lawsuit settlement, the Montana Heritage Commission is removing a stretch of track in the gulch, which will prevent any trains from operating this season, said Marilyn Ross, executive director of the commission.

The lawsuit was filed by Joseph Bardswich in 2007 because a stretch of the train track was on his property.

The settlement agreement made recently called for the removal of a stretch of track the tourist trains used to turn around on their trips between Virginia and Nevada Cities, Ross said.

The agreement also called for the heritage commission to pay Bardswich about $16,000, said Marrissa Kozel, spokesperson with the Montana Department of Commerce.

The track removal is another setback in what’s been a rough couple of years for the train operation in Virginia City.

Last year the popular Baldwin number 12 steam engine didn’t operate. The engine needs some routine maintenance that will cost about $135,000. The heritage commission launched a fundraising campaign last year to help raise money for the work. So far they’ve raised about $15,000.

In lieu of running the big steam engine, the heritage commission operated a smaller train last year. With the piece of track gone, that train won’t run this season either.

“No train will run this summer because it’s just too close to the opening of the season to get any of these things in place,” Ross said.

Right now the next step with the tracks is to get engineers to look into the possibility of rebuilding the train tracks on heritage commission property, she said.

Both trains will be on display at the train barn for the summer, Ross said.

And though the news about the tracks is unfortunate, she emphasized that the heritage commission is committed to getting the trains up and running and the problem with the track and the steam engine solved. Ross is currently working with private donors to try and secure funds for the steam engine’s repairs and is also looking at new plans to operate the entire train operation between the two towns. This could mean taking on a private business to run the operation, she said.

For more information about the trains and the tracks, call Ross at the heritage commission at 843-5247.

6 Responses to Train operations in Virginia City shut down for summer – Stretch of track removed as result of lawsuit settlement

  1. Patty Lutton says:

    What a looser!

  2. Liz McCambridge says:

    I’m so sorry to read this article and the one about the three recent robberies. As if the economy isn’t enough. I wish Virginia City good luck with resolutions to these recent, negative events. The city has so much to offer to visitors.

  3. Tom Krummell says:

    Not only will the trains not run, the badly needed and well-deserved tourist dollars won’t come into the local area, and to the state, either. Might more information about Mr. Bardswich’s position be forthcoming? Is there an underlying matter?

  4. Mark Weber says:

    What scares me about this article is where the Heritage Commission says they will “look into the possibility of rebuilding the train tracks”. You mean you don’t know! I would like to know more about the lawsuit. It is difficult for me to believe that anyone (Bardswich) would be such a dog-in-the-manger as to disregard summer employment for about three people and potentially catastrophically hurt summer tourism. Why would he not let the HC run the trains for one more summer so that the State could reroute tracts during the off-season?

  5. Patrick L. Beres says:

    Its pitiful that Joseph”Big Joe” Bardswich is a local Mine Owner who is making big money on his molybdenum mine can’t allow more people an opportunity to make a living too.The State “gave” him a Small Mine Permit for his operation too. He is using Forest Service Roads for mine ore haulage without a haulage permit or for paying for the roads’ upkeep. Would be a pity if someone found some historic sites where “Big Joe” is mining. Even on private lands SHPO can stop landowners from mining. I spose theres greedy people everywhere, even in Montana.

  6. Patrick L. Beres says:

    If you do your research you can learn a lot about a man and his chief interests…Big Joe just came into some big money for his Molybdenum Mine— RX Exploration Received $17,750,000. Pity he can’t help his neihbors out.
    RX Exploration Inc. is a gold exploration company whose strategy is to re-examine gold projects within North America that have previously reached advanced exploration, underground development or past gold production. The Company is currently focused on re-starting production from its Drumlummon Mine, a past producing high-grade, bonanza-type, epithermal underground gold and silver mine in Montana. Ore from a current test mining program is being trucked to and processed in a leased mill located in Phillipsburg, Montana.

    The Company’s shares are listed on TSX-V (Symbol: RXE) and on the OTCQX (Symbol: RXEXF). There are 156,065,805 common shares issued and outstanding. http://finance.denverpost.com/mng-denver.denverpost/news/read?GUID=15607319

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