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Mother Lode History Train

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Date(s) - 05/06/2023 - 05/07/2023
10:00 am - 3:30 pm

Railtown 1897 State Historic Park


California State Parks, Railtown 1897 State Historic Park, and the California State Railroad Museum Foundation are excited to present The Mother Lode History Train on May 6 & 7, 2023. The unique interpretive experience will include living history stories inspired by the Gold Rush era in Tuolumne County and the early days of the Sierra Railroad. Passengers will be treated to a one-hour excursion train ride behind the historic 1952 Baldwin Whitcomb No.1265 engine with colorful historical characters aboard sharing fascinating facts and stories of intrigue, humor, and adventure. Three train rides will be offered each day at 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.

Tuolumne and Calaveras Counties are rich with popular American history and folklore, as many famous historical characters lived and visited in this area over the past 200 years. Aboard The Mother Lode History Train, passengers will hear how Mark Twain became such a popular American writer and storyteller, and how Grizzly Adams earned his nickname, training and wrestling Grizzly bears. Train ride guests will also hear the harrowing story of how young Leanna Donner narrowly survived being trapped in the Sierra Nevada mountains during the winter of 1846-47 and later married a prominent Tuolumne County mine owner.

Many other historical figures may also be portrayed onboard this excursion sharing recounted narratives, including:
• Annie Kline Rikert, the first female President of a railroad;
• Benjamin Wood who discovered gold in what is now known as Tuolumne County;
• William Bailey, a Sierra Railway conductor, and cousin of Thomas S. Bullock, who was killed when Sierra No. 3® derailed at Chinese Station in 1898;
• Miss Adelaide Prudence, teacher at a one-room schoolhouse during the 1890s;
• Colonel George James, the founder of Jamestown;
• William Nevills, owner of the nearby Rawhide Gold Mine and Hotel Nevills in Jamestown;
• Mae West, from Railtown’s distinguished Hollywood movie history.

Excursion train ride tickets for The Mother Lode History Train are available online in advance or at the Depot Store, on a first-come, first-served basis. All train ride tickets include Park admission and cost $20 for adults, $15 for youth ages 6-17, and are free for children 5 and under.

For tickets or more information about The Mother Lode History Train special activities and/or Railtown 1897 SHP in general, please visit