Railtown offers year-long look on Engine No. 28 restoration

jholland@modbee.comAugust 20, 2013 


In this file photo, Joshua and Megan Elliott of Lathrop watch as fireman Kevin Zimmerman waives from No. 28 steam engine while passing passenger cars.

BART AH YOU101401 — Modesto Bee Buy Photo

— Fans of old steam locomotives can watch one being restored over the next year.

Railtown 1897 State Historic Park invites the public to observe the work on Engine No. 28 from 10 a.m. to noon Tuesdays.

It is free with park admission.

The engine was built in 1922 by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in Philadelphia. It went right to work for the Sierra Railroad, which runs between Oakdale and Standard, east of Sonora.

At the time, the railroad provided daily passenger service, along with hauling materials for the lumber industry and other users.

No. 28 stayed on when the state park opened in 1982, helping with passenger excursions.

The engine is getting about $231,000 worth of work, including replacement of corroded and worn-out metal parts and inspection and repair of the boiler, Park Superintendent Kim Baker said.

The project is funded by the California State Railroad Museum Foundation, the Sonora Area Foundation and Rotary clubs in the county, she said.

The restoration, expected to be completed next summer, comes three years after the more famous Engine No. 3 emerged from a makeover. It was built in 1891, joined the new Sierra Railroad in 1897 and in 1919 had the first of its many roles in movies and television shows.

The repairs on No. 28 will take place in Railtown's roundhouse, already part of regular park tours. For updates on the work, visit www.railtown1897.wordpress.com.

Railtown basics:

• The park is at 18115 Fifth Ave., just east of Highway 49-108, Jamestown.

• Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for visitors 6 to 17 and free for younger children.

• Six-mile excursions run on the hour between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from April through October, plus special trains in November and December. No. 3 pulls the Saturday trains; vintage diesel engines work Sundays. Diesel rides also will be offered at noon and 2 p.m. today and Aug. 28. Steam trains will run on the weekend schedule on Labor Day.

• Excursion tickets are $15 for adults, $8 for 6- to 17-year-olds and free for younger kids. Ride tickets include park admission.

• Railtown is open from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. from April through October and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. the rest of the year, except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day.

• More information is at (209) 984-3953 or www.railtown1897.org.

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