Steam Railroads near Yosemite Valley

The main reason we went to California recently was to serve as “Crew for the Day” in the cab of America’s oldest operating steam locomotive, the Sierra Number 3, based in the “Railtown 1897” state park in Jamestown. The 1891 treasure was restored five years ago, and carries passengers on trips through the Sierra foothills. 

The steam engine has been used in more Hollywood movies and TV shows than any other engine. It was the train used in the 1960’s TV series, “Petticoat Junction”, and had a prominent role in “Back to the Future 3”. It is a beautiful example of American engineering at its best. 

Steam 2Sierra No. 3   1891


Shay Side ViewOn the south side of Yosemite is another historic railroad, The Yosemite Valley Sugar Pine Railway, and we rode behind this historic “Shay” style locomotive through forest of Redwood and giant Sugar Pines. After each of our runs, we were taken aboard small “Speeder” cars that were used for fire patrol in the old days. Being in these small open air contraptions was in many ways, more exciting than being in the larger trains.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

Railtown Speeder Car

Wildflower Track

I’ve produced a 12 minute video of both journeys. If you’re viewing this as part of your e-mail, click on the headline above to go directly to my blog, and see the video. It will be worth your while.

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