Carson City. NV…The Virginia & Truckee Railroad has partnered with an architectural design class at Truckee Meadows Community College for a conceptual redesign of the V&T’s depot in Carson City, Nev. The project provided an opportunity for 16 students to take their imaginations inside the classroom out to the community – in this case for ideas to transform the current depot into a memorable train station.
The unique challenge for students was to reflect the period’s western heritage while also providing a contemporary working design for today’s customers. The V&T Railroad depot is the gateway for thousands of guests annually to ride the historic steam and diesel trains from Carson City to destinations including Virginia City, the Carson River Canyon and the mythical North Pole aboard The Polar Express.
“Even with challenging budget guidelines, the ideas presented by the students were incredibly creative, practical and progressive,” said Candy Duncan, sales and marketing manager for the V&T. “Each person provided a signature concept and many offered additional suggestions.”
Presented as a mock client, the V&T presented the class with requirements for the new design keeping history in mind, which students utilized to construct floor plans to meet the needs and wants of the railroad and its guests. Students gathered inspiration from various sources to develop their plans.
Proposals for the current 3,000 square-foot building included exterior awnings and railings reminiscent of traditional stations, outdoor deck areas overlooking the tracks to make the train experience more relative. The transformation from frog to prince, also included more lighting via windows, French or double doors, and ceiling skylights. Other ideas included a traditional oversized clock: “It’s a train station. You need to know when the train arrives and departs,” offered the author of that pragmatic idea. Various paint schemes were offered for aesthetical and decorative purposes. Historical elements related to train stations: hand cars, luggage wagons, period benches, decorative period lighting and signage were also in the mix.
The station’s interior received serious consideration as a more functional and experiential centerpiece. In addition to layouts routing visitors through historic displays, video presentations and memorabilia, photo booth, souvenir displays and onto the ticket counter with waiting area and period benches, others included that most traditional of Nevada offerings: a bar – and a snack area. Area rugs, or painted cement floors were offered as options to freshen the look and complement the plethora of options. With opportunities for hosting weddings and celebrations, most offered movable walls and flexible space options to accommodate guests during special events.
“We jumped at this opportunity since one of our core directives at Truckee Meadows Community College is for community involvement,” said class instructor Kreg Mebust. “The V&T train station project offered a unique opportunity and one that required a good deal of thought, preparation and individual challenge as well as legitimate commercial experience for each student.”
Over a six-week period students researched, designed and developed designs before presenting their individual concepts to classmates and a panel of V&T representatives who visited the school. Three designs were chosen with the idea to incorporate the best of each, along with complementary ideas from various students. V&T staff will present the concepts to the Nevada Commission for the Reconstruction of the V&T Railway, then apply for historical grants in the hopes for taking concepts to reality.
The Carson City passenger station is located at Eastgate Siding on Flint Drive off U.S. Highway 50 East. For the latest train updates or to purchase tickets visit www.vtrailway.com call (877) 724-5007.