The Virginia and Truckee Railway was built with the intent to haul mined silver ore from Virginia City to the processing mills along the Carson River in Carson City. Previously, silver was moved via horse and wagon, which proved difficult over the rough terrain. Interestingly enough, the railroad had no connection to the outside world and thus the infrastructure (ties, rails, etc.) had to be brought manually.
Eventually, the line was extended from Carson City northwards to Reno and a connection with the Central Pacific Railroad.
Service along the line declined over the years in tandem with the silver mines in the area. Part of the line was abandoned in 1938, while the remainder of the line followed in 1950.
Today, the end portion of the Virginia City branch line has been reconstructed as a tourist railroad by the Virginia and Truckee Historical Society. It runs between Virginia City and Gold Hill.