Railtown 1897 State Historic Park, located in the Sierra foothill village of Jamestown California, recently earned the coveted honor of being designated a State Monument. And with good reason, as Railtown is home to one of America’s last intact, operational railroad roundhouses. It is also one of the few historical railway facilities that maintains fully operational steam engines, in addition to their diesel electrics, and offers visitors regularly scheduled scenic railway journeys through the Sierra Foothills.
Sierra Railway was formed in the 1890s to serve the region’s freight needs and transport lumber from a Tuolumne mill. It was the last operational narrow gauge logging railway in America when it ceased serving the mill in the 1960s. But the past lives on at Railtown and the railway’s savior was Hollywood. The railway and environs have served as silver-screen on-location film settings from the 1920s through the present. Railtown trains have starred in than 200 movies and TV shows, including High Noon with Gary Cooper, Eastwood’s Unforgiven, Back to the Future Part 3, Little House on the Prairie and Petticoat Junction.
Check out this episode!I’m Tom Wilmer, come along and join me for an exploration of discovery at Railtown in Tuolumne County where we’ll visit with Park Superintendent Kim Baker, followed by Mike McReynolds who worked for 28 years with a Modesto short line railroad and he’s been a volunteer at Railtown since 1989. We’ll also ride in the cab of legendary steam engine #3, fondly known as Railtown’s Hollywood star as it’s been in more movies than any other stream engine in the world. Climb aboard for a rail journey through the Sierra foothills with engineer, Warren Smith on the NPR.ORG podcast, “Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer”, winner of the 2013 “Silver” Lowell Thomas Award for best radio travel broadcast.
To learn more about the Railtown experience: www.railtown1897.org
Check out this episode! on the NPR.ORG Podcast “Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer” produced by NPR affiliate KCBX