Railtown Excursion Trains Start This Weekend!

Railtown 1897 Steam Train Operating Season Opens April 3-4

Calaveras and Tuolumne County Residents Ride FREE All Weekend!

JAMESTOWN, Calif. – On Saturday and Sunday, April 3-4, Railtown 1897 State Historic Park in Jamestown will begin the first weekend of steam train operations for 2010.  Once underway, steam-powered excursion trains will depart on-the-hour from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekends through October.  And, during opening weekend only, residents of Tuolumne and Calaveras Counties ride for free with proof of residency.   Visitors from near and far are encouraged to step aboard for a six-mile, 40-minute roundtrip ride along the rails of the famous “Movie Railroad,” passing through California’s scenic Gold Country. 

            To kick off the first day of operations on Saturday, April 3, the public is invited to attend the “Early Bird” program that starts at 7 a.m. in the Roundhouse to watch as the crew lights the fire and prepares the locomotive for the day.  The locomotive is started with the tossing of a burning rag into the firebox, then the crew works to fuel, lubricate and water the engine as the boiler is slowly brought up to temperature.  Knowledgeable guides will be on hand in the Roundhouse to narrate every step of the process. Then, interested spectators can follow it out into the yard and watch the turntable in operation as the crew moves the locomotive into place at the Depot.  The official ceremonies begin with Vietnam Veteran Jim Sutherland performing the national anthem and a raising of the flag at 9:45 a.m. followed by a grand entrance and ceremonial whistle-blowing.

            Throughout the day on Saturday and Sunday, many other special activities will be offered as well, including railcar rides, tours of the historic roundhouse and demonstrations of the historic belt-driven machine shop. 

            Tickets for steam train excursion rides aboard “mountain observation cars” are $13 for adults, $6 for youths ages 6-17 and kids five and under are free.    On most weekends, first class tickets are also available for those who would like to ride in the comfort of a 1901 first-class observation car; cost is $21 for adults and $9 for youths.  All tickets include park admission and are available on a first-come, first-served basis at the ticket window beginning at 10 a.m. on the days the trains are running.