Train Rides Begin This Weekend- April 5 & 6- and County Residents Ride FREE!

With Train Rides Behind the Historic Sierra No. 3
All Weekend, Railtown 1897 Steam Train Operating Season Begins on Saturday, April 5  
Calaveras, Mariposa and Tuolumne County Residents Visit & Ride FREE All Opening Weekend!  

Photo by Dave Henry

Photo by Dave Henry

JAMESTOWN, Calif. – Beginning in April, Railtown 1897 State Historic Park (SHP) in Jamestown will resume offering popular steam-powered excursion train rides on weekends from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.  While the Park is open daily, on weekends beginning April 5-6, guests will enjoy a memorable six-mile, 45-minute round trip ride along the rails of the famous “Movie Railroad.”  And to kick off the new season, excursion train rides on opening weekend will be offered behind the “Movie Star Locomotive” Sierra No. 3. And, during opening weekend only, residents of Calaveras, Mariposa and Tuolumne counties can visit the Park and ride for free with proof of residency.  Especially given California State Parks is celebrating its 150 year anniversary this year, visitors from near and far are encouraged to visit Railtown 1897 SHP to step aboard a historic train ride that passes through California’s scenic Gold Country and enjoy the unique offerings provided by the State Park.

To kick off the first day of operations on Saturday, April 5, the public is invited to attend the “Early Bird” program that starts at 7 a.m. in the historic 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.  After Sierra No. 3 makes its spectacular season debut, the Great Mother Lode Brass and Reed Band will provide live music beginning at 10 a.m. Then in the afternoon, behind-the-scenes tours of work being done on Sierra No. 28 will be available from 2 to 4 p.m. on Opening Day.

Photo by Craig Peterson

Photo by Craig Peterson

Throughout the day on Saturday and Sunday, many other special activities will be offered as well, including live music by local favorite The Brothers Strong & Co on Sunday, April 6, as well as tours of the Roundhouse and demonstrations of the historic belt-driven machine shop both days.

Capacity is limited for tickets for the steam train excursion rides so visitors are encouraged to arrive early.  All tickets include Park admission and are available online at www.railtown1897.org or in person on a first-come, first-served basis at the ticket window beginning at 10 a.m. on the days the trains are running.  Excursion train ride tickets are $15 for adults, $8 for youths ages 6-17 and kids five and under are free.

After opening weekend, Railtown 1897 SHP plans to offer steam-powered excursion train rides behind Sierra No. 3 on Saturdays and vintage diesel locomotives on Sundays through the 2014 operating season.  Additionally, diesel train rides will be offered on Wednesdays throughout the summer season (July 9 through August 27). Because the schedule is subject to change with expanded service on holiday weekends, etc., visitors are encouraged to call 209-984-3953 or visit http://www.railtown1897.org for updated information.

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