Railtown 1897 State Historic Park

Located in Jamestown, Railtown consists of the historic roundhouse complex of the Sierra Railway, including three original locomotives. It has been in continuous operation since 1897, when the shortline railroad was founded to transport lumber, marble and ore out of the foothills, and bring passengers and goods in.

This type of roundhouse architecture is practically extinct in the United States, and it is even more unusual to find it in operating condition, with its original equipment in place.  Visitors are encouraged to visit the historic park to experience the railroad way of life during the late 19th century.

This one-of-a-kind attraction combines industrial heritage and railroad history with the lore of Hollywood's film industry. The Railtown 1897 Interpretive Center, the authentic roundhouse and shops, and the Depot Store (a railroad specialty gift shop) are among the Park's unique year-round offerings.

Steam trains run on weekends, April-October, and Tuesdays see a lot of activity in the yard as volunteers engage in maintenance work projects, often in public display. Visitors who come to ride the trains often overlook the roundhouse and shops. On operating weekends, be sure to arrive early and watch the crew bring the locomotive out of the roundhouse and on to the turntable. The reverse can be seen after the last train.

Railtown 1897 State Historic Park is sometimes called "The Movie Railroad" because of the many films and TV shows filmed here, including High Noon, Petticoat Junction, Back to the Future III, Rawhide, Unforgiven, and many others. It was also the movie industry that provided the financial incentive for the Railroad to preserve and maintain the roundhouse and steam locomotives. They were still in demand for filming, at a time when many railroads were scrapping their historic equipment with the introduction of diesels.

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Location

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Nearby
Latitude: 37.9500106 Longitude: -120.4173979 Elevation: 1476 ft
the best travel advice comes from the people who live here
kim baker

About this Establishment

California State Parks and the California State Railroad Museum Foundation manage this historic site. It is eligible for the National Historic Register, and is managed as a significant historic site. It has been part of the California State Park System since 1983.

Time Period Represented

1897-Present

Hours Open

Tues-Sunday, Daylight hours (restrooms and store open 10-4, generally, with seasonal variation)

Visitor Fees

$13 adults, $6 children, free 5 and under

Seasons Open

All year

ADA Accessibility Notes

The grounds of Railtown 1897 SHP are fully accessible to persons with disabilities. Certain exhibits and programs-including train rides-have limited accessibility. For additional details, please contact the Park.

Pet Friendly Notes

Pets welcome, but must be on a leash. Dogs are not allowed on trains (service dogs excepted).

Comments

The Sierra #3 returns on 4th of July weekend! And then runs every first weekend through October. 2 steam trains at once! That's cool!

Kendall, 6/2/2010

The park is but one element of what once was a short line with a branch line to Angels Camp, as well as operating the Hetch Hetchy railroad during the expansion of the dam in the 1930's. Take some time and find out more about this working shortline that still carries freight.

John, 6/4/2010

Actually, Dogs ARE allowed to ride the train.

kim, 10/23/2014

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