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Rear View of V&T McKeen Gas Car #22

McKeen Motor Car in Nevada
Photographer Jim Morley captured the unusual gas car during Easter week in May 1941 on, in his words, "a day of searing cold, an icy day with an all-piercing wind. The gas car chugs efficiently through the sage brush" south of Steamboat, Nevada. Historically, the McKeen Motor Car is important as a self-propelled gasoline engine railway vehicle built by the McKeen Motor Car Company of Omaha, Nebraska. This car, now being restored at the Nevada State Railroad Museum, is the best remaining example of the first commercially viable use of internal combustion propulsion in rail transportation, rather than steam locomotion. The McKeen used a 200-horsepower water-cooled gasoline engine as its power, presaging the rise of diesel internal combustion locomotion that swept rail transport after 1940. It could carry a maximum of eighty-four passengers and was operated by a motorman and a conductor/baggage man. the Virginia & Truckee Railway Company purchased it in 1909 for $22,000. It entered regular service as V&T #22 on June 2, 1910. The V&T sold it in 1945. The design was aerodynamtic: a tapered front and curved, unitary body. it was entered on the National Register in 2005; for more information see the nomination.
Source James M. Morley
Coverage Spatial, Steamboat, Nevada; Temporal, May 1941
Rights James M. Morley
Date Created 1941-05
Resource Type
Extent 7-1/16 x 5 in.
Depicted Railroad
Location Steamboat, Nevada
Creator Description Morley started taking photographs when he was eight years old. He learned photography on his own, with support from his father, and specialized in California and Nevada railroad scenes. He worked for the U.S. Geological Survey, making topographical maps, for almost 30 years.
Collection James M. Morley Collection
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