Crew for a Day
Railtown 1897’s Crew for a Day program is a unique one that allows you to get up close and personal with the steam engine, as well as gives you one-on-one opportunities to ask questions and learn from the knowledgeable volunteers and staff who maintain the locomotives. This educational and hands-on experience will have you greasing the locomotive, wiping down rods and the tender, opening valves and taking water at the iconic water tower featured in the 1960’s series “Petticoat Junction.”
You will learn from the Conductor about hand signals, throwing switches and performing air tests. Enjoy a cab ride while blowing the whistle and ringing the bell. You will be on alert, looking for fires, as part of the Fire Patrol and ride along in a speeder car. End your exciting day with a leisurely ride on the train as a passenger, or enjoy a roundhouse tour. Followed by a professional photographer, your day will be documented for you to share with your friends. Wrap up your day with a ride as a passenger on the train, or take a guided tour of the park. Show off your dirt and brag about your unforgettable experience.
Your program includes an Engine Crew for a Day certificate and your photograph taken with the members of your train crew. A professional photographer will be taking photos during the event and you will be provided one (1) flash drive with up to 25 photos of your experience.
Cost is $500 for a party of one, $750 for a party of two. Advanced reservation is required. Only available on Saturdays during regular operating season (April-October). Two (2) people maximum per day. A $300.00 deposit is due upon reservation and is refundable up to 2 weeks prior to event date. The balance is due on day of event. No full or partial refunds are offered for missed activities or latecomers.
For more information, or to book your Crew for a Day program, call 209-984-4408.
Coming Soon! Cab Rides
Have you ever wanted to ride in the cab of a steam locomotive? Here’s your chance! Paid cab rides will be offered to the general public and members this summer as a behind-the-scenes experience and opportunity to get a close up look at a working steam locomotive. Cab riders will take a one hour ride in the cab of either the Sierra No. 3® or Sierra No. 28 steam locomotive (based on operating schedule). Cab riders will receive a certificate at the end of their cab ride signed by the locomotive engineer and fireman. Engine crew and cab rider will take a photo in front of the locomotive once back at the depot.
Paid cab rides will be available on steam operation days during the regular excursion train season (April – October). No cab rides will be offered on event days or during scheduled training. Paid cab rides will be offered on the 12 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. departures only. A maximum of two (2) paid cab rides will be offered each permitted cab ride operating day.
Cost is $50 per person. Members pay $45 per person.
Self-Guided Walking Tour
Self-guided walking tours of the grounds at Railtown 1897 State Historic Park provide an overview of the Historic Jamestown Shops and Roundhouse complex. Complimentary self-guided tour maps are available at the Railtown Depot Store.
Several points of interest are called out, including an overview of the compressed air-powered turntable and locations where guests can look into the Shops and Roundhouse. Please note that, for safety reasons, access to portions of the Shops and Roundhouse is available only during Guided Roundhouse Tours. Please do not climb on the locomotives and railroad cars displayed, for your safety and for the protection of these artifacts. Certain areas of the Park grounds are off-limits to the public at all times.
Another highlight of a self-guided tour is the opportunity to view movie props and other artifacts used in the production of feature films, TV shows, and commercials. One of the most popular of these is the mock-up of an 1880s railroad caboose used in filming for “Back to the Future III.” A timeline exhibit shows the many movies and TV shows that were filmed on the Sierra Railway.
Roundhouse Tour (Daily Park Tour)
One of the highlights of a visit to Railtown 1897 State Historic Park is a guided walking tour of the Park’s authentic, working railroad roundhouse and air-powered turntable. Tours are offered year round during the week and weekends. Guests experience the locomotive repair area and view historic locomotives and cars in storage or undergoing repairs. Your tour guide explains the history of the facility and how repairs were accomplished.
Continuing on the tour, your guide will take you to view movie props and other artifacts used in the production of feature films, TV shows, and commercials. One of the most popular of these is the mock-up of an 1880s railroad caboose used in filming for “Back to the Future III.” A timeline exhibit shows the many movies and TV shows that were filmed on the Sierra Railway.
If touring on a weekend during our regular train season (April – October), we recommend that visitors come early and take a tour prior to their train departure. After the 3:00 pm train ride, on steam operating days, visitors can enjoy the opportunity to gather by the historic turntable and view the locomotive being put back in the roundhouse.
Tour availability is subject to change due to staff availability, weather conditions and special events. We recommend calling ahead for guided tour schedule: 209-984-3953.
Want to go deeper inside the rich history of Railtown 1897? Take our special Behind-the-Scenes tour, held every 2nd Tuesday, all season long. After a video presentation, this unique two-hour tour will take you beyond the roundhouse doors and inside coaches closed to public access. See restoration projects up close, and visit the Tri Dam building to get a look at the day-to-day operations at the park.
Behind-the-Scenes Tours are available on the 2nd Tuesday of each month, April – October at 10 a.m. Tour is included with the purchase of park day use, $5 for adults and $3 for children ages 6-17.
Junior Ranger Program
The Junior Ranger Program is a statewide educational program for children age 7-12. The program offers a creative and educational, hands-on experience, and will engage children’s interest and emphasize stewardship pertaining to California’s rich history and environment within these parks. Badges, certificates and patches are awarded to participants as they progress through the program. Children are able to discover the rich natural and cultural heritage preserved in California State Parks through this exciting program.
The Junior Ranger Program is offered on Wednesdays, June 20 through August 15, 2018 at 11 a.m. and is included with the purchase of park day use, $5 for adults and $3 for children ages 6-17.
Story Time in the Caboose
Children can enjoy fun story time reading activities in the red caboose on Wednesdays, June 20 through August 15, 2018 at 11 a.m. Story Time in the Caboose recommended for ages 2-6 and is included with the purchase of park day use, $5 for adults and $3 for children ages 6-17.
The working shops and roundhouse, operating steam and diesel locomotives and activities surrounding them give your students the rare opportunity to visit an historic, industrial work site. The shops of the Sierra Railway are a rare survivor—an example of the type of facilities once found in every medium-sized town, essential to the development of towns and cities, agriculture and industry in the state. The Sierra Railway, its ties to the logging and mining industries, and role in the building of many dams in the Sierras, including Hetch Hetchy, provide a tangible connection to the development of California. Students are able to compare and contrast everyday life in different times and places around the world and recognize that some aspects of people, places, and things change over time while others stay the same.
Tour the historic roundhouse. See 125 year old steam locomotives at work and the workers who operate and repair them. Learn about the movies filmed on the Sierra Railway and see locomotives and props used to create the movie magic. Enjoy outdoor activities on our expansive lawn and picnic area.
With the exception of special charters, trains run on weekends only, from April-October. If your school group is able to visit on a day when the trains are operating, the cost is $5 per person (adults or students) for a park tour and train ride. Charters can be arranged on weekdays, starting at $500. We will work with you to tailor a custom-experience for your group.
To arrange special park tours or charter train rides, any day of the year, call the park office at 209-984-3953.