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Sierra No. 3 Nominated For Federal Historic Designation

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Jamestown, CA — What is nicknamed the “movie star train” is up for nomination to join the National Register of Historic Places.

Highlighted in films like Back to the Future III, the Sierra Railway Locomotive No. 3 at Railtown 1897 in Jamestown was built by Rogers Locomotive and Machine Works in New Jersey in 1891. Originally fired by coal, it was converted to an oil-fired locomotive and received several repairs during its time at the Sierra Railroad.

In 1920, it became the railroad’s principal train used in films and later television programs. To facilitate its use in movies set in different time periods, it has several parts that can be switched out and disguised, including the smokestack, pilot, and headlight.

While it has been featured in legendary films like High Noon and Unforgiven, and television shows like Gunsmoke and Little House the Prairie, it arguably gained iconic stature after being converted into a time machine in the 1990 film Back To The Future III, starring Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd.

It is one of thirteen nominations that the California State Historical Resources Commission will review this Friday at 9 am in Sacramento. The state action is a required step if the locomotive is later to be approved for addition to the National Register of Historic Places.