Jamestown, CA – The group that runs the Sierra Railroad Dinner Train in Oakdale would like to be a part of the future of Railtown 1897.
The park in Jamestown is one of 70 that the state is scheduled to close July 1st. Chris Hart, who runs the passenger and entertainment division of the Sierra Railroad Company, is watching the Railtown situation closely. He recently reached out to the group of local government leaders that is investigating ways to keep the park open. Hart says his main hope is to see that Railtown is preserved. That said, he sees a lot of potential for its future.
Railtown currently operates on track owned by the Sierra Railroad Company. The nearby Oakdale dinner train is one of four that Hart overseas, and feels something similar could work out of Jamestown. The other trains are based in Sacramento, Fort Bragg and Santa Cruz. He says there would be the potential to cross-market Railtown with those other venues.
In an ideal scenario, Hart says his company could take over the train operations, and a non-profit group would run the onsite museum. He says a portion of the receipts from the train rides would likely go to help support the museums operations.
Sometime down the road he would also like to see a new station built along the Sierra Railroad line, near a major freeway, that could connect to Railtown. Hart says this could increase Railtown’s visibility and make it a bigger destination for tourists.
The Sierra Railroad Company is not connected to the Sierra Railway Foundation, a group led by Tuolumne County resident Isaac Kight, that is also coming up with ideas to keep Railtown open. To read an earlier article about that group, click here.
Allowing a particular group to take over operations at Railtown would have to be approved by the State of California.