Shop Tours of Locomotive Restoration at Railtown 1897 State Historic Park
JAMESTOWN, Calif. – On two upcoming Wednesdays—November 11 and December 9—Railtown 1897 State Historic Park (SHP) will offer special, behind-the-scenes viewing opportunities for visitors to see the restoration progress of Sierra No. 3, known as the “Movie Star” steam locomotive for its many appearances in motion pictures and television shows. As part of the special viewings, Railtown staff will present a two-hour program which will also include a shop tour for visitors.
Tours will consist of an overview of the project to date followed by a tour of the Tri Dam shop where much of the work is currently taking place. Restoration staff, utilizing a combination of historic and modern methods, is restoring this historic locomotive. Staff will be on hand to demonstrate the machinery and methods being used as well as to answer any questions.
Built by the Rogers Locomotive Works in New Jersey in 1891, the Sierra No. 3 spent the early years of its life in Arizona, and was brought to Jamestown in 1897, where it saw over a century of use on the short line, hauling ore, lumber, marble and other goods out of the foothills. With the advent of diesels in the middle of the 20th century, many steam locomotives were destroyed for scrap, but Sierra No. 3 found a new career in the movie industry, appearing in more than 100 films and television shows over the years.
In September and October, the boiler erecting is occurring at the Sacramento Shops of the California State Railroad Museum. Once completed, the locomotive will be returned to Railtown for the completion of the project. This work is being funded by a California Cultural and Historical Endowment grant, the Sonora Area Foundation, the Irving J. Symons Foundation, the California State Railroad Museum Foundation and others.
Cost for the special, behind-the-scenes shop tours is $5 for members and $10 for non-members and includes park admission. Advance reservations may be made by calling 209-984-3953. The popular Sierra No. 3 locomotive is expected to return to operation at Railtown1897 SHP in April of 2010.