Learn about the programs we offer.

Crew for a Day

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Railtown 1897’s Crew for a Day program is a unique one that allows you to get up close and personal with the steam engine, as well as gives you one-on-one opportunities to ask questions and learn from the knowledgeable volunteers and staff who maintain the locomotives. This educational and hands-on experience will have you greasing the locomotive, wiping down rods and the tender, opening valves and taking water at the iconic water tower featured in the 1960’s series “Petticoat Junction.”

You will learn from the Conductor about hand signals, throwing switches and performing air tests. Enjoy a cab ride while blowing the whistle and ringing the bell. You will be on alert, looking for fires, as part of the Fire Patrol and ride along in a speeder car. End your exciting day with a leisurely ride on the train as a passenger, or enjoy a roundhouse tour. Followed by a professional photographer, your day will be documented for you to share with your friends. Wrap up your day with a ride as a passenger on the train, or take a guided tour of the park. Show off your dirt and brag about your unforgettable experience.

Your program includes an Engine Crew for a Day certificate and your photograph taken with the members of your train crew. A professional photographer will be taking photos during the event and you will be provided one (1) flash drive with up to 25 photos of your experience.


Cost is $500 for a party of one, $750 for a party of two. Advanced reservation is required. Only available on Saturdays during regular operating season (April-October). Two (2) people maximum per day. A $300.00 deposit is due upon reservation and is refundable up to 2 weeks prior to event date. The balance is due on day of event. No full or partial refunds are offered for missed activities or latecomers.

For more information, or to book your Crew for a Day program, call 209-984-4408.

Cab Rides

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Have you ever wanted to ride in the cab of a steam locomotive? Here’s your chance! Paid cab rides will be offered to the general public and members this summer as a behind-the-scenes experience and opportunity to get a close up look at a working steam locomotive. Cab riders will take an approximately 45 minute ride in the cab of either the Sierra No. 3®, the Sierra No. 28 steam locomotive or a historic diesel locomotive (based on operating schedule). Cab riders will receive a certificate at the end of their cab ride signed by the locomotive engineer and fireman. Cab rider will be allowed time to take a photo in front of the locomotive with the engine crew once back at the depot.

Paid cab rides will be available on select operating days during the regular excursion train season (April – October). No cab rides will be offered on event days or during scheduled training. Paid cab rides will be offered on the 12 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. departures only. A maximum of two (2) paid cab rides will be offered each permitted cab ride operating day.

It is recommended that paid cab rides be booked in advance and full payment is due at time of reservation. Walk-ins will be accepted as long as time permits and there is no advanced cab ride booking. Cancellations are eligible for refunds if made at least two weeks prior to scheduled cab ride. On the day of the scheduled cab ride, riders must arrive at least half an hour early to complete a brief safety training and sign release of liability. Trains will not be held for latecomers and there are no refunds.


  • Must be 16 years of age if riding alone, or at least 13 years of age, when accompanied by an adult parent or guardian. Both must pay full fare.
  • Must be physically capable of standing for the duration of a train experience.
  • Must have full mobility of all limbs and able to climb up to six vertical steel ladder type rungs or stairs unassisted and without the aid of any assisting device. (Climbing into the locomotive cab requires strength, balance and agility using both arms and legs). Riders must always face the ladder when climbing to and from the cab of any locomotive. Stairs are open metal grates or steel ladders. Steel decking surfaces may be slippery or uneven. The sensation of motion within the locomotive cab is different than aboard a passenger rail car. Riders may find space in the locomotive confining. Fuel oil and exhaust fumes, horns, bells, whistles, and mechanical and loud compressed air noises are part of the sensory experience for riders. Hearing protection will be provided if requested.
  • Must wear proper clothing (no tank tops, shorts, high heels, or open toed shoes). Natural fiber, and long sleeved clothing must be worn. Shoes must be non-slip, closed toe and closed heel). Clothing may get soiled, dress accordingly. Sun protection (hats, sunglasses, sunscreen, etc.) is recommended.
  • No self-contained breathing equipment (oxygen) or service animals.
  • Cab riders who are vision or hearing impaired must be accompanied by a companion 18 years of age or older. Companion fare will be waived.
  • Riders must agree to follow the instructions of the train and engine crew. While the train crew is free to converse with riders at their discretion, there are important duties they must attend to, without becoming distracted. Cab rider must remain in the cab of the locomotive until instructed to exit by the engine crew. Failure to follow the instructions of the train and engine crew will result in the cab ride being terminated or canceled with no refunds.
  • Cab riders who appear to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol will have their ride canceled, with no refund.
  • Use of cellular telephone camera and video is permitted with permission of the crew.
  • No firearms or weapons are permitted.
  • On the day of the scheduled cab ride the cab rider will be given a brief safety training and will be required to sign a release of liability and photography consent form. If under 18 years of age, a parent or guardian must sign these releases. Photo ID will be required at check in.


  • $100 for Steam Locomotive Cab Ride – Please call for Steam Availability
  • $75 for Diesel Locomotive Cab Ride

Buy Tickets

*Members receive $5 discount
For more information about Cab Rides call 209-984-3953

Self-Guided Walking Tour

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Self-guided walking tours of the grounds at Railtown 1897 State Historic Park provide an overview of the Historic Jamestown Shops and Roundhouse complex. Complimentary self-guided tour maps are available at the Railtown Depot Store.

Several points of interest are called out, including an overview of the compressed air-powered turntable and locations where guests can look into the Shops and Roundhouse. Please note that, for safety reasons, access to portions of the Shops and Roundhouse is available only during Guided Roundhouse Tours. Please do not climb on the locomotives and railroad cars displayed, for your safety and for the protection of these artifacts. Certain areas of the Park grounds are off-limits to the public at all times.

Another highlight of a self-guided tour is the opportunity to view movie props and other artifacts used in the production of feature films, TV shows, and commercials. One of the most popular of these is the mock-up of an 1880s railroad caboose used in filming for “Back to the Future III.” A timeline exhibit shows the many movies and TV shows that were filmed on the Sierra Railway.

Click Here for Self-Guided Walking Tour PDF

Roundhouse Tour (Daily Park Tour)

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One of the highlights of a visit to Railtown 1897 State Historic Park is a guided walking tour of the Park’s authentic, working railroad roundhouse and air-powered turntable. Tours are offered year round during the week and weekends. Guests experience the locomotive repair area and view historic locomotives and cars in storage or undergoing repairs. Your tour guide explains the history of the facility and how repairs were accomplished.

Continuing on the tour, your guide will take you to view movie props and other artifacts used in the production of feature films, TV shows, and commercials. One of the most popular of these is the mock-up of an 1880s railroad caboose used in filming for “Back to the Future III.” A timeline exhibit shows the many movies and TV shows that were filmed on the Sierra Railway.

If touring on a weekend during our regular train season (April – October), we recommend that visitors come early and take a tour prior to their train departure. After the 3:00 pm train ride, on steam operating days, visitors can enjoy the opportunity to gather by the historic turntable and view the locomotive being put back in the roundhouse.

Tour availability is subject to change due to staff availability, weather conditions and special events. We recommend calling ahead for guided tour schedule: 209-984-3953.

Junior Ranger Program

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The Junior Ranger Program is a statewide educational program for children age 7-12. The program offers a creative and educational, hands-on experience, and will engage children’s interest and emphasize stewardship pertaining to California’s rich history and environment within these parks. Badges, certificates and patches are awarded to participants as they progress through the program. Children are able to discover the rich natural and cultural heritage preserved in California State Parks through this exciting program.

The Junior Ranger Program is offered daily and is included with the purchase of park day use, $5 for adults and $3 for children ages 6-17.

School Trains

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The working shops and roundhouse, operating steam and diesel locomotives and activities surrounding them give your students the rare opportunity to visit an historic, industrial work site. The shops of the Sierra Railway are a rare survivor—an example of the type of facilities once found in every medium-sized town, essential to the development of towns and cities, agriculture and industry in the state. The Sierra Railway, its ties to the logging and mining industries, and role in the building of many dams in the Sierras, including Hetch Hetchy, provide a tangible connection to the development of California. Students are able to compare and contrast everyday life in different times and places around the world and recognize that some aspects of people, places, and things change over time while others stay the same.

Tour the historic roundhouse. See 125 year old steam locomotives at work and the workers who operate and repair them. Learn about the movies filmed on the Sierra Railway and see locomotives and props used to create the movie magic. Enjoy outdoor activities on our expansive lawn and picnic area.

With the exception of special charters, trains run on weekends only, from April-October. If your school group is able to visit on a day when the trains are operating, the cost is $5 per person (adults or students) for a park tour and train ride. Charters can be arranged on weekdays, starting at $500. We will work with you to tailor a custom-experience for your group.

To arrange special park tours or charter train rides, any day of the year, call the park office at 209-984-3953.