JAMESTOWN, Calif. – 2022 is a special year for Railtown 1897 State Historic Park in Jamestown as it marks 125 years of the Sierra Railway Company of California and the 100th birthday for the historic steam locomotive Sierra No. 28, a Baldwin locomotive built in 1922. Families, friends, and rail fans of all ages are invited to celebrate Opening Day on Saturday, April 2, 2022, complete with Speeder hayrides, special demonstrations, live musical entertainment performed by the Black Irish Band on board the train, souvenir giveaways, historic equipment on display, special tours, hot dogs, popcorn, ice cream (for purchase), and more. Excursion train rides powered by the historic Sierra No. 28 will be the main attraction, departing from the Jamestown depot at 10:30 a.m., noon, 1:30 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. Operating in compliance with TSA’s (Transportation Security Administration) COVID-19 guidelines, masks are currently required on all excursion train rides.
The Sierra Railway has an impressive and entertaining history, and it remains one of the most intact steam railroads in the United States. The railway first began operations in 1897 and played an important role in the development of the economy of Tuolumne and adjoining Calaveras County. Operations on the historic railroad have evolved over time as it has been used for hauling freight, agriculture products, US mail, and passengers. After catching the eye of Hollywood producers during a time when Western movies were at the height of popularity, the Sierra Railroad – along with its various historic equipment and locomotives – has been the site of more than 200 movies and television productions. To this day, weekend train ride guests delight in rides along the rails of the famous “Movie Railroad,” including past the iconic water tank seen in “Petticoat Junction,” a popular TV show that aired in the 1960s and early 1970s.
The Sierra Railway purchased the No. 28 steam locomotive in 1922. Weighing a whopping 71 tons, the historic steam locomotive was recently rebuilt in the historic Roundhouse and Shops in Jamestown. Throughout its history, Sierra No. 28 has been a loyal, industrious hauler of all types of freight, and has also been featured in several films and television shows. The powerful locomotive was also once used to haul construction materials to dam construction projects around Tuolumne County, delivering gravel from the Atlas Quarry in Oakdale to several transfer sites. The cars of material were transferred to the rail lines that went to construction sites for the Don Pedro and Melones Dams. Train carloads of concrete were hauled for the building of the O’Shaughnessy Dam, and the train was also used to haul huge turbines on flat cars to the Melones site. A special photo charter with the Sierra No. 28 will take place on June 11th of this year, celebrating the engine’s 100th birthday.
In 2022, the Park will celebrate the last 125 years of history. A visit to the park is sure to bring back the feel and the romance of the past. Excursion trains, programs, and activities will continue throughout the year and visitors are encouraged to plan a historic train ride or a day at the Park to enjoy a tour, picnic, or leisurely stroll around the grounds.
After resuming regular operations on April 2, popular and picturesque 45-minute excursion train rides will continue weekends through September 2022. In addition, Railtown will be running special Halloween trains on Saturday evenings October 8 through 29. Visitors are encouraged to purchase excursion train ride tickets online in advance. If still available on the day of the train ride, tickets can be purchased at the Depot Store on a first-come, first-served basis. All paid train ride tickets include Park admission and cost $15 for adults, $10 for youth ages 6-17 and are free for children five and under. Park-only admission costs $5 for adults, $3 for youths ages 6-17 and is free for children five and under (pricing is for regular weekend excursion train rides and may differ for Halloween train rides and other specialty excursion trains).
Advance excursion train ride tickets are available via this link. For more information about Railtown 1897’s events and activities and the park in general, please visit www.railtown1897.org or call 209-983-3953. For more information about the California State Railroad Museum Foundation, please visit www.californiarailroad.museum.
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About the California State Railroad Museum Foundation
The mission of the California State Railroad Museum Foundation (CSRMF) is to generate revenue and awareness on behalf of its destinations, while supporting the preservation, interpretation, and promotion of our railroad heritage. The Foundation provides funding for ongoing support of numerous programs, both at the museum's Old Sacramento location and at the historic park in Jamestown, Calif. For more information, please visit www.californiarailroad.museum.