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Jamestown: The 209’s ‘living’ railroad state park

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Jamestown: The 209’s ‘living’ railroad state park

There is plenty of authentic railroad roiling stick from days gone by at Jamestown.

Photo contributed/

POSTED April 6, 2012 9:43 p.m.

JAMESTOWN — Railtown 1897 State Historic Park in the heart of the Sierra foothills invites visitors to experience the thrill of traveling back in time to the era of steam railroading.

Located about an hour from Manteca on Highway 120/Highway 108, the park is a unique treasure trove of preserved railroad buildings, equipment, locomotives and railroad cars.

Many of these date back to Railtown’s 1897 origins. The Railtown roundhouse - a semicircular building for housing and maintaining locomotives - stands as one of only two continuously operating steam locomotive roundhouses in the United States.

Charles Crocker - a descendant of one of the original investors - decided to bring the Jamestown shops back to life as an excursion train theme park in the 1970s.

In 1982, California State Parks acquired 26 acres of land between Jamestown and

Oakdale, through a gift from Charles Crocker. This acquisition included trackage rights on the Sierra Railroad.

Railtown’s locomotives, vintage passenger and freight cars, and historic buildings give visitors the chance to travel back in time to the exciting days of steam-train travel.

However, Railtown 1897 offers more than train rides. Visitors will see the historic facilities of a short-line railroad from the days of steam transportation, including three locomotives original to the railroad.

Railtown 1897 general information:

• OPERATING HOURS: Railtown 1897 State Historic Park is open Thursday through Monday from 9:30 a.m to 4:30 p.m., April through October. From November through March, Park operating hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (closed Tuesday and Wednesday and Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day).

: Free parking is available on-site, in a small lot located immediately adjacent to the Railtown Depot, and a larger lot located just to the west and across the tracks from the Depot.

: $5 adults; $3 youths ages 6-17; children ages 5 and under are free. For those purchasing excursion train ride tickets, Park Admission is included in the train ticket price. See below for additional details.

of the Park provide an overview of the Historic Jamestown Shops and Roundhouse; complimentary maps are available at the Railtown Depot Store. Several points of interest are called out, including a movie prop area plus 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 as part of Guided Roundhouse Tours. Certain areas of the Park’s grounds are off-limits to the public at all times.

: Guided Tours of the Historic Jamestown Shops and Roundhouse are a highlight of any visit to Railtown 1897, and are free with park admission. Tour frequency is typically hourly between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. during the busy summer months; for the balance of the year, tour frequency depends upon the availability of volunteer Tour Guides.

• TRAIN RIDES: Offered weekends only, April-October, plus selected weekends November-December.

: go to or call (209) 984-3952 daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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