Railtown 1897 is one of the California State Parks on the closure list. We want to visit as many of the parks on the list as possible and since we love trains this was a good place to start.
We chose May 21 for our visit because they would be using the recently restored engine #3 for their Saturday excursion. Currently the park is open daily but the train runs only on Saturday and Sunday for a six mile round trip.
We arrived early so that we could see them back the engine onto the turntable. Steam from the locomotive is used to operate the turntable.
After fueling it's backed up to the old water tank. This is the same water tank seen in the TV show "Petticoat Junction"
Although it is a state park, all of this work is done by volunteers.
This little car follows the train down the track to check for fires. I couldn't help but wonder what was done in the days when all railroads were operated by steam. I suspect that a lot of fires went undetected until the next train came along.
A visit to Railtown is a like a step back in time. Volunteers in period dress add to the ambiance.
The state hopes to find partners to take over the parks it will close. Considering the amount of work already done by volunteers and the economic value to the town of Jamestown, I think it likely that this park will continue to operate.