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Railtown To Open And Celebrate Milestones

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Sonora, CA — This Saturday and Sunday is opening weekend at Railtown 1897, and 2022 marks some significant anniversaries.

Park officials report that it is the 125th anniversary of the Sierra Railway (site of Railtown), which remains one of the most intact steam railroads in the country. The railway began operations in 1897 and played an important role in developing the local economy in Tuolumne and Calaveras counties.

Railtown officials report, “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.”

2022 also marks the 100th birthday of historic steam locomotive Sierra No. 28. It was purchased by Sierra Railway in 1922 and weighs an impressive 71 tons. It was recently rebuilt in the historic roundhouse at Railtown. Years ago it would deliver gravel from the Atlas Quarry in Oakdale to several transfer sites. It was also instrumental in delivering materials for the construction of the Don Pedro and New Melones Dams.

No. 28 will be the main attraction this weekend and provide rides departing from the Jamestown depot at 10:30am, noon, 1:30pm, and 3pm (TSA requirements in place -such as masking).

Train rides will continue at Railtown through October then switch back to winter hours. More information can be found here.