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Railtown’s Water Tank Back In Place

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By Joseph Kreiss

Web News Editor

Vintage steam locomotives at Railtown 1897 State Historic Park in Jamestown will soon be able to get water again along the line.

The picturesque water tank made famous in the 1960´s television show Pettycoat Junction is back up in place. The old tank was torn down by the state in January to make way for a new one that meets seismic standards and is historically accurate for the 1890´s era the park represents.

Construction crews from A. Bellagio Wood Tank Company of Healdsburg and Gatewood Construction, Inc. of Sonora have been rebuilding the 15,000 gallon tank used by vintage steam locomotives at the state park in Jamestown.

Phil Willis, forman with Bellagio, says his crew used specially-milled and beveled tight-grain redwood boards to construct the tank sides. Thick, black metal bands wrap around the tank and hold it firmly together.

George Sapp with Railtown is pleased with rapid progress in reconstructing the 15,000 gallon tank. He estimated water would be pumped into the new 12-foot-tall tank by Friday. The tank will leak for a while, he said, until the wood swells and the joints close together.

The tank should be ready to use next week when Railtown 1897 kicks off its new season of steam train excursions. Train rides begin Saturday, March 30. Free trips will be offered to all Tuolumne County residents on Sunday March 31.