Historic Locomotive Restoration Begins at Railtown 1897 State Historic Park

Sierra No. 28 on December 14, 2008--the last day it ran

Sierra No. 28 on December 14, 2008–the last day it ran

Rail fans and casual visitors to Railtown 1897 State Historic Park have the rare opportunity to see repairs to the historic steam locomotive “Sierra No. 28” up close thanks to a newly signed donor agreement that provides funding for the project. Visitors are invited to tour the shops to see the work as it progresses, and follow frequent updates at railtown1897.wordpress.com and at Railtown’s facebook page.

Sierra No. 28 has been a mainstay for passenger operations since the facility became a state park in 1982. The locomotive will be repaired while on public display in the roundhouse. Visitors can watch as crews remove and replace  worn parts and inspect and repair the boiler. The work is anticipated to be completed by the summer of 2014.

California State Parks recently finalized a matching fund partnership donor agreement with the California State Railroad Museum Foundation to keep Railtown 1897 State Historic Park open and fund this project. The agreement was made possible by the AB 1478 Match Program, which appropriated $10 million back to State Parks to match contributions by donors and operating partners.

The Association has been Railtown 1897’s SHP’s non-profit partner for over 20 years. The agreement also represents an enormous effort by the local community. As part of the “Keep Railtown Rolling” effort, five Tuolumne County Rotary clubs united with business and community leaders to raise over $75,000.  The Sonora Area Foundation and the Irving J. Symons Foundation for Tuolumne County, a Supporting Organization of the Sonora Area Foundation, provided matching funds.

“The last couple of years have been very challenging ones for the park and it’s been gratifying to see so many come together to work to keep the doors open. We are pleased to see that our fundraising efforts are going to result in something that will help the park better meet its potential into the future” said Kathy Daigle, Executive Director of the California State Railroad Museum Foundation

In addition to deferred maintenance projects, the matching funds will be used for operational expenses, interpretive program development and to enhance the park’s public and school programs. Funding will also be used to complete National & State Historic Register nominations for locomotives and buildings. Together, these projects will better position the park to increase visitation, improve revenue generation and demonstrate the park’s statewide significance.

Behind the Scenes shop tours are scheduled every Tuesday from 10 a.m. to noon and are free to the public with paid park admission.  The work is also on public display from the Roundhouse doors at any time the park is open.  Railtown 1897 SHP admission costs are as follows: $5 for adults, $3 for youths ages 6-17 and free for children five and under.

Excursion train rides run hourly between 11-3, Saturday & Sunday through the end of October, with special trains in November and December. Steam excursion train rides are pulled by the Sierra No. 3 on Saturdays, and Vintage diesel train rides are offered every Sunday. Train ride tickets include Park admission and are available for advance purchase at http://www.railtown1897.org as well as at the ticket window beginning at 10 a.m. the day of the train ride (based on availability). Tickets are $15 for adults, $8 for youths ages 6-17 and kids five and under are free.

Railtown 1897 Presents Popular “Singing Rails” Railroad Music Festival on August 3

Special Evening Event Includes Music Contest and Live Performances by
Red Dog Ash and Headliner Sourdough Slim

Sourdough Slim and the Sierra No. 3

Sourdough Slim and the Sierra No. 3

JAMESTOWN, Calif. – Railtown 1897 State Historic Park (SHP) is proud to present an entertaining, upbeat and festive “Singing Rails” musical event on Saturday, August 3, 2013, that reflects America’s longstanding love affair with trains and the railroad through the magic of music. New this year, “Singing Rails” will include an amateur music contest leading up to special live music performances by Northern California Bluegrass Red Dog Ash and award-winning musician and headliner Sourdough Slim.
The family-friendly music festival will take place outdoors on the sprawling Roundhouse lawn starting with the entertaining music contest that starts at noon. Contestants will be judged in six primary categories that include the following: Vocal, Guitar, Banjo, Fiddle, Mandolin and Miscellaneous. In addition, a special “Boxcar Willy Award” will be given to the best vocally-generated train sound. Each contestant will perform two songs, one of which must be train-related. Awards will be announced at 5 p.m. when cash prizes of $50 will be awarded to the top contestant in each category. The contest entry fee is $15 – and includes a ticket to the evening event and a train ride. Interested contestants are encouraged to register online in advance.
After the spirited contest, the live music really kicks into high gear when Red Dog Ash performs at 5:30 p.m. followed by headliner Sourdough Slim — the last of the cowboy Vaudevillians — on stage at 7 p.m. Tickets to the music festival are free to same-day train ride ticket holders, $10 in advance, $12 at the gate (if still available) and children 12 and under are free. While refreshments and food will be available for purchase at the “Singing Rails” event, guests are encouraged to bring lawn chairs, blankets and picnic items. Advance train ride and “Singing Rails” tickets are available online at http://www.railtown1897.org and more information about the event or Railtown 1897 SHP is available by calling 209-984-3953.

2nd Annual “Spotlight on Railtown” Evening Fundraiser Scheduled for Saturday, July 20

Evening Festivities Centered in Historic Roundhouse and Aboard Train

Image 

JAMESTOWN, Calif. – In partnership with California State Parks and the California State Railroad Museum Foundation, Tuolumne County’s Rotary and Kiwanis clubs will host the 2nd Annual “Spotlight on Railtown” fundraiser on Saturday evening, July 20, 2013, at Railtown 1897 State Historic Park (SHP) in Jamestown. The goal of this special fundraising event is to support the continuing operation of Railtown 1897 SHP.

The festivities will begin at 6 p.m., with local wines and delicious appetizers served in and around the Park’s signature facility, the Historic Jamestown Roundhouse and Shops. As guests tour the facility, they will enjoy live music, turntable demonstrations, historic railcar rides, Sierra No. 3 “Movie Star Locomotive” in operation and a silent auction.  Then, for a relaxing grand finale to the evening, guests will enjoy a memorable ride aboard Railtown 1897’s excursion train, with silent auction results announced as the train arrives back at the Depot.

“Spotlight on Railtown” is presented by the Sonora Rotary Club, ‘49er Rotary Club, Twain Harte Rotary Club, and Kiwanis Club of Sonora, and sponsored by the Black Oak Casino, Chicken Ranch Casino & Bingo, H&R Block of Sonora, California State Parks and the California State Railroad Museum Foundation.  Featured wines will include Chatom Vineyards from Calaveras County, Gianelli Vineyards from Jamestown, Indigeny Reserve and Mt. Brow Winery both from Sonora, and Twisted Oak Winery and Zucca Mountain Vineyards both from Murphys.

Tickets for “Spotlight on Railtown” are $50 per person and all proceeds directly benefit the historic park.   Advance tickets are available from local Rotary club members, at the Park itself during regular hours, or online at www.railtown1897.org.

Railtown 1897 Announces Train Rides on Wednesdays July 10 through August 28

JAMESTOWN, Calif. – Beginning on July 10 and continuing through August 28, 2013, Railtown 1897 State Historic Park (SHP) in Jamestown will begin offering diesel train rides on Wednesdays at noon and 2 p.m. While the Park is open daily, steam-powered excursion train rides are typically offered on weekends only except for holidays and special occasions. 2013 is the first time Railtown 1897 SHP has offered Wednesday train rides through the summer.
All train ride passengers will be treated to a six-mile, 45-minute round trip ride along the rails of the famous “Movie Railroad,” passing through California’s scenic Gold Country where scenes from many Hollywood movies were filmed. Tickets for all excursion train rides include Park admission and cost $15 for adults, $8 for youths ages 6-17 and kids five and under are free. Advance train ride tickets are available online or at the ticket window beginning at 10 a.m. the day of the train ride on a first-come, first-served basis depending on availability.

Guests are encouraged to spend the day at Railtown 1897 SHP by touring the Park and learning more about its authentic railroad facilities and fascinating role in the Hollywood and television industry. Also, guests are invited to bring a picnic lunch to enjoy on the sprawling Roundhouse lawn while enjoying the day.

Advance train ride tickets are available at http://www.railtown1897.org and more information about excursion train rides or Railtown 1897 SHP in general is available by calling 209-984-3953.

Railtown 1897 Celebrates 4th of July Extended Holiday with Live Music & Rides Behind Sierra No.3!

Special Holiday Activities Offered Four Days – July 4-7

4th july at rt

JAMESTOWN, Calif. – The 4th of July extended holiday is a perfect time to visit Railtown 1897 State Historic Park (SHP) and enjoy memorable train rides behind the “Movie Star Locomotive” Sierra No. 3 while being entertained by festive live music performed by local musicians. Train rides behind Sierra No. 3 are available for four days – Thursday, July 4 through Sunday, July 7, 2013. Live music will be provided on board the train by the talented Bill Schneiderman on July 4 & 5 and by local favorite Dave Rainwater on July 6 & 7. In addition, Park visitors will be entertained by live music on Saturday, July 6, from noon to 3 p.m. under the big ancient oak tree performed by the Starlight Serenaders Vintage Jazz.

Steam train ride passengers will be treated to a six-mile, 45-minute round trip ride along the rails of the famous “Movie Railroad,” passing through California’s scenic Gold Country where scenes from many Hollywood movies were filmed. The historic locomotive departs on-the-hour from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. all four days of the extended holiday. Tickets for all holiday steam train excursion rides include Park admission and cost $15 for adults, $8 for youths ages 6-17 and kids five and under are free. Advance train ride tickets are available online or at the ticket window beginning at 10 a.m. the day of the train ride on a first-come, first-served basis depending on availability.

Guests are encouraged to spend the day at Railtown 1897 SHP by touring the Park and learning more about its authentic railroad facilities and fascinating role in the Hollywood and television industry. Also, guests are invited to bring a picnic lunch to enjoy on the sprawling Roundhouse lawn while enjoying the extended holiday.

Advance steam train ride tickets are available at http://www.railtown1897.org and more information about excursion train rides or Railtown 1897 SHP in general is available by calling 209-984-3953.

Sonora Photo Club to Present Photo “In Train View” Photo Exhibit at Railtown 1897 through Labor Day. Special Opening Reception Scheduled for Saturday, June 22

"No 3 in Bronze" by Connie Cassinetto

“No 3 in Bronze” by Connie Cassinetto

Railtown 1897 State Historic Park (SHP) will present “In Train View,” an exhibition of 30 photographs showcasing the amazing talent of the Sonora Photo Club, that will be on display June 22 through September 1, 2013.  With a variety of compelling images, portraits and trains in action, “In Train View” also artfully raises attention to the often-overlooked elements of the historic Shops and Roundhouse at Railtown 1897 SHP.

As a special kick-off, Park visitors are invited to join the photographers for an opening reception at 11 a.m. on Saturday, June 22.  Once debuted, the exhibit will then be on display at Railtown 1897 SHP through Labor Day weekend. The rail-related photographs will also be offered for sale, with proceeds to benefit the Park.

The photo exhibit is presented by the Sonora Photo Club, founded in 2005 in the California Gold Country town of Sonora, to promote the art of photography.  Their goal is to explore the entire photographic experience from equipment to photographic techniques, from shooting to post processing and printing.   Photographers of all experience levels from beginner to professional meet on the second Sunday of the month at 1 p.m. in a supportive and friendly environment where they can share their expertise and develop skills in all aspects of photography.

Open daily, the photo exhibit is included with Park admission, which is as follows: $5 for adults, $3 for youths ages 6-17 and free for children five and under.  More information about this exhibit and/or other events and activities happening at Railtown 1897 SHP is available by calling 209-984-3953 or visiting http://www.railtown1897.org.  To find out more about the Sonora Photo Club, call 209-591-8182 or visit http://www.sonoraphotoclub.org.

Railtown 1897 to Give Dads the Star Treatment on Father’s Day With Train Rides Behind Sierra No. 3 and Complimentary Commemorative Chocolate Bars

ImageJAMESTOWN, Calif. – Railtown 1897 State Historic Park (SHP) plans to treat dads and granddads extra special this Father’s Day — on Sunday, June 16 — by pulling out the famous “Movie Star Locomotive” Sierra No. 3 for excursion train rides (regular ticket prices apply).

In addition, Railtown 1897 will give away complimentary commemorative Belgian chocolate bars to all fathers — and grandfathers, too — who take a train ride, while supplies last. Adding to the holiday festivities, train ride guests will be treated to live music performed by strolling cowboy Keith Keenom, the popular wooden Caboose No. 7 will be open for tours, and children will receive complimentary balloons on this special day. 

As usual, Railtown 1897’s excursion trains will depart on-the-hour from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and guests will ride in an open-sided mountain observation car. The six-mile, 45-minute roundtrip ride takes passengers through the rolling Gold Country foothills, passing through meadows and along grassy hillsides covered with ancient oak trees.  Families are encouraged to bring a picnic lunch to enjoy on-site on the sprawling Roundhouse lawn.   In addition, the Railtown 1897 SHP Depot Store, Interpretive Center and grounds are open from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and guided Roundhouse tours are available, too.   

Tickets for steam train excursion rides are $15 for adults, $8 for youths ages 6-17 and kids five and under are free.  All train ride tickets include Park admission and are now available for advance purchase at http://www.railtown1897.org as well as at the ticket window beginning at 10 a.m. on the day of the ride (based on availability).