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Railtown steam trains start rolling on April 2

Railtown steam trains start rolling on April 2

One of the operating trains at Railtown 1897


POSTED March 11, 2011 10:57 p.m.

Railtown 1897 State Historic Park (SHP) in Jamestown will begin the first weekend of steam train operations for 2011 on April 2-3.

Once underway, the steam-powered excursion trains will depart on-the-hour from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekends through October. Visitors from near and far are encouraged to step aboard for a six-mile, 40-minute roundtrip ride along the rails of the famous "Movie Railroad," passing through California's scenic Gold Country.

To kick off the first day of operations on April 2, the public is invited to attend the "Early Bird" program that starts at 7 a.m. in the Roundhouse to watch as the crew lights the fire and prepares the locomotive for the day. The locomotive is started with the tossing of a burning rag into the firebox, then the crew works to fuel, lubricate and water the engine as the boiler is slowly brought up to temperature. Knowledgeable guides will be on hand in the Roundhouse to narrate every step of the process. Then, interested spectators can follow it out into the yard and watch the turntable in operation as the crew moves the locomotive into place at the Depot. The official ceremonies begin with Vietnam veteran Jim Sutherland performing the National Anthem and a raising of the flag at 9:45 a.m. followed by a grand entrance and ceremonial whistle blowing.

Throughout the day on April 2-3, many other special activities will be offered as well, including railcar rides, tours of the historic roundhouse and demonstrations of the historic belt-driven machine shop.

Tickets for the steam train excursion rides aboard "mountain observation cars" are $13 for adults, $6 for youths ages 6-17 and kids five and under are free. All tickets include park admission and are available on a first-come, first served basis at the ticket window beginning at 10 a.m. on the days the trains are running.

Railtown State Historic Park is located at 11855 5th Ave. in Jamestown.

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