Sac History Happenings

News and developments in Sacramento and California history

June 30, 2011
Exhibits highlight trains used in movies, television

Sierra Petticoat Junction.JPGThe California State Railroad Museum has extended its popular "Rails and Reels" exhibit which explores the important role trains have played in the making of Hollywood movies and television series. The displays feature many railroad-related artifacts, such as train models used in crash scenes of the 1939 epic Union Pacific, station signs used in High Noon and a costume from the 1979 TV movie Orphan Train. Visitors will also find sheet music, movie posters, lobby cards, original film scripts, and promotional items from films going back to the early 1900s.

And speaking of train "movie stars," the vintage steam locomotives of Railtown 1897 State Historic Park will be running all three days of the July 4th weekend. Excursion rides take passengers on a six-mile, 40-minute trip through California's Gold Country where many scenes from Hollywood movies were filmed. Visitors to Railtown can also take tours of the historic working Roundhouse where the old locomotives and cars are repaired.

What: Lights, Camera, Action! "Rails and Reels: Hollywood, Trains And the Making of Motion Pictures"
Where: California State Railroad Museum, corner of Second and Streets in Old Sacramento.
When: 10 to 5 p.m. Exhibit runs through Feb. 14, 2012.
Cost: $9 adults; $4 youths ages 6-17; children ages 5 and under are free.
For more info: 916-323-9280 or

What: Steam-Powered Excursion Train Rides Over 4th of July Weekend
Where: Railtown 1897 State Historic Park, Jamestown (Tuolumne County).
When: July 2-4.
Saturday & Sunday - trains depart hourly from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Monday only -- trains depart hourly from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Cost: General: $13 adults, $6 youths ages 6-17, free for children 5 and under.
For more info: 209-984-3953 or visit

News Release

PHOTO CREDIT: Railtown's Sierra No. 3 locomotive dressed in red petticoat for the Petticoat Junction TV series. Courtesy of the California State Railroad Museum

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About Sac History Happenings

California and Sacramento have a long, rich, vibrant history. And our region is blessed with an abundance of historical resources maintained by museums, libraries, archives and societies. This blog aims to alert readers to the latest developments in local/state historical education and research.

Send tips concerning upcoming exhibits, tours, lectures and meetings, as well as new books, magazine articles and online collections to the blog's contributors.

The Contributors:

Michael Dolgushkin

Michael Dolgushkin is Manuscript Librarian at the California State Library History Section. He is co-author of San Francisco's California Street Cable Cars and is a frequent contributor to the California State Library Foundation Bulletin. Contact him at

Amanda Graham

Amanda Graham is a Certified Archivist working in the Sacramento Room of the Sacramento Public Library. She earned a BS in History from Southern Oregon University and a MS in Information Studies with an emphasis in archives from The University of Texas at Austin. Contact her at

Pete basofin

Pete Basofin is Director of Editorial Research at The Sacramento Bee. He previously worked at The St. Petersburg Times and Columbia (Mo.) Daily Tribune. Contact him at

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