Railtown opens restoration shop to tours

By popular
demand, the restoration shop tours at Railtown 1897 State Historic
have been extended. On
three upcoming Wednesdays — April 15, May 13, and June 10 — Railtown
1897 State Historic Park will offer special, behind-the-scenes viewing
opportunities for visitors to see the restoration progress of Sierra No. 3,
known as the “Movie Star” steam locomotive for its many appearances
in motion pictures and television shows.

As part of the
special viewings, Railtown staff will present a 90-minute program which will also
include a shop tour for visitors. Cost for the tours is $5, and reservations
may be made by calling 209-984-3953.

will consist of
an overview of the project to date followed by a tour of the Tri Dam shop where
much of the work is currently taking place.  Restoration staff, utilizing
a combination of historic and modern methods, is restoring this historic

Built by the Rogers Locomotive Works in New
in 1891, the Sierra No. 3 spent the early years of its life
in Arizona, and was brought to Jamestown in 1897, where
it saw over a century of use on the short line, hauling ore, lumber, marble and
other goods out of the foothills. 

With the advent of diesels in the
middle of the 20th century, many steam locomotives were destroyed
for scrap, but Sierra No. 3 found a new career in the movie industry, appearing
in more than 100 films and television shows over the years. 

Last December, the Sierra No. 3’s boiler was sent to Washington State to be used as a pattern for a new
boiler fabricated by Chelatchtie Boiler Works, a major step in the restoration
process.  This work is being funded by a California Cultural and
Historical Endowment grant, the Sonora Area Foundation, the Irving J. Symons
Foundation, the California State Railroad Museum Foundation and others.

The popular Sierra No. 3 locomotive is expected to return
to operation at Railtown1897 SHP in 2010.

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