The Sierra Railway & Jamestown, June 24, 2012

July 23rd, 2012 | Posted by Steve in California | Memorials | Museums | Photography | Trains

Our younger son Jonathan is at the University of Texas, Austin, McCombs School of Business studying for his MBA.  Part of what is expected of the MBA students is to get an intern job for the summer.  Jonathan got an offer from E.J. Gallo in Modesto, CA and accepted it.   Modesto is in the middle of the great Central Valley of California.  It is less than 100 miles from San Francisco & Sacramento, and 30 miles from Stockton.  Modesto has an Apple Store and is about 120 miles to Yosemite Valley & a little farther to Sequoia & King’s Canyon National Parks.

Fran and I decided to visit Jonathan during some time off.  After all these years of Jonathan spending his school and army time in Arizona, New Mexico, & Texas we were really excited to visit him only 350 miles away.  We drove up June 21 and stayed until June 25 having a very good time.

On Sunday, the 24th we drove into the Sierra Nevada foothills and mountains to see some of the sights.  Our ultimate goal was the Calaveras Big Trees.  Those will be in the next post.

One of the sights along the way is Jamestown, decorated to seem like it comes out of the 1890s.  It is real touristy, as are some other towns in the area, but Jamestown has the Railtown 1897 State Historic Park and runs a short line named the Sierra Railway.  I drove the kids through here back in 1989, but we didn’t stop.  This time I made a point to stop to see what we had missed.

The Sierra Railway is an old logging road on a 36” narrow gauge track.  The day before we were there the Sierra Railway #23 Steam Locomotive was operational.  Sunday they used their modern Diesel.  If I get back I’ll try for a photo of old #23.

The state park has a long movie history with their rolling stock being featured in many a Hollywood Western.


Also nearby was this conductor in period costume controlling traffic.  I asked permission to make the shot and got it.

After our visit to the railroad we drove about ¼ of a mile into town to eat.  We found The Willow.  This is a plaque commemorating The Willow put up by E Clampus Vitus.

The mail furniture in the bar it original, but the San Francisco Giants jersey & the outfits of the patrons show it is a modern shot.  To give you a flavor of the town here are two of the more picturesque buildings found along main street.



My next post will be of the Calaveras Big Trees.  These are quite spectacular and make for an interesting look into old Califo

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