Sierra Railroad
Mother Lode Excursion, August 7, 1971
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By 1971, the Sierra was hosting a budding tourist operation. Jamestown's yard was now known as Railtown 1897. That summer, Great Western Tours operated regular weekend trips to Chinese, billed as Mother Lode Excursions, upon which Wx4 toured on August 7. The roundhouse and yards were considerbly spruced-up from 1964 - even the weeds were cleared a little! Two-and-a-half bucks was pretty reasonable, even in 1971 dollars.

(above right) Number 34 arrives at Jamestown from one of the several-a-day "Excursions". That's the famous Hooterville Cannonball water tank, which is discussed at page bottom. From the Jamestown station windows: (above left) Number 34 simmers after arrival. The track curving to the left of the locomotive once led to Angels Camp. (below) The turntable and shops from the rear of the building.

After photo ops and general discussion, the crew ran around the train and coupled to the rear, for another run down to Chinese tender-first. Notice the planks nailed over the holes in the freight house platform.

At Chinese (below), the process was reversed for the pull home.
The Sierra Foothills are a sea of tall, dry grass in the summer, necessitating a second section of sorts (above). That's the original Hooterville water tank (since rebuilt a couple of times) from the 1960's TV series Petticoat Junction. Although the train and Aunt Bea's nieces were great (hubba hubba!), Wx4 staff couldn't stand the series even the first time around. Inexplicably the show still does well on cable TV, and the official Petticoat Junction Web site is down at this writing, because it has exceeded its monthly bandwidth quota.

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