Want a rare peek at how repairs are made on a historic engine? Make for Jamestown and the Behind the Scene tour, which happens each Tuesday.
A RARE PEEK: Railtown 1897 State Historic Park in Jamestown gets a lot of local and regional love, and for dang good reason: Everyone digs those warm weather train rides through the low hilly passes of Gold Country. Sierra No. 3 is the famous engine, the so-called "Movie Train" (because, wait for it, it has been featured in a ton of films). But Sierra No. 28 has been making some waves, too, in recent months, and it isn't even out running on the tracks. The reason? It's having repairs done, "a work in progress," and train buffs and history lovers alike are welcome to lookie-loo. "Visitors can watch as crews remove and replace corroded and worn out metal parts and inspect and repair the boiler." Interesting stuff, especially if you desire a deeper understanding of train mechanics, beyond a sunny day out riding the rails.
AND DEEPER STILL... are the behind-the-scenes-y tours each Tuesday, which take rail mavens into the historic Roundhouse for an eye-full of current projects, including "routine maintenance and specialized work happening on current projects." The steam engine parts "must be manufactured on site," meaning that the work going on has a time-honored and even time-travel-y feel. Can't zip down to most corner stores and pick up a steam engine part, now that we think of it.
GOOD TO KNOW: Sierra No. 28'll be wrapped up by summer 2014, so the thinking goes, so if you want to check out what's going on, lay track. The Behind the Scenes Tuesday walks? They start at 10 a.m. and are five bucks on top of the park admission. Oh, and the summer weekend rides? Those kick up the first weekend in April. Busy times at one of the Golden State's toot-tootiest ye olde train hubs. ("Toot-tootiest"=super charming, of course.)