Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad on track to start 2012 season at the end of March

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The popular Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad is making their final preparations to kick off the 2012 season. The nearly century old steam engines will start offering tours March 31.

Engines 10 and 15 of the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad are authentic, nearly century old Shay locomotives that give tours through the Sierra National Forest just a few miles south of Yosemite National Park

Engines 10 and 15 of the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad are authentic, nearly century old Shay locomotives that give tours through the Sierra National Forest just a few miles south of Yosemite

The popular attraction is a historic journey through time as a pair of nearly century old steam locomotives, rail cars, gold panning and museum await those looking for a bit of authentic history.

The sounds of train whistles will once again soon be heard echoing through the Sierra National Forest as the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad prepares to kick off its 2012 season.

The popular attraction, located just minutes south of Yosemite’s southern entrance, is a historic journey through time as a pair of nearly century old steam locomotives, rail cars, gold panning and museum await those looking for a bit of authentic history.

The season kicks in to full steam March 31, offering rides on the two authentic steam locomotives, Jenny Railcars and more.

The two engines are narrow-gauge Shay locomotives originally built for hauling lumber through the steep mountain terrain. The youngest, engine 10, was built in 1928 while the older of the two, Engine 15, was built in 1913.

The Jenny Railcars, also known as “speeders” in the logging days of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, they were used to quickly ferry men and materials to work sites. Built around a Ford Model A, these conveyances are a fun way to ride the rails.

In addition to the trains and railcars, guests can try their luck at gold panning. Amateur miners can get a lesson from an expert and will always find at least a few flakes of the precious metal, making their efforts much more successful than many of the miners who came to this area during California’s gold rush.

The Thornberry Museum is another popular attraction here, showcasing what life was like for the men who logged the forest. Most notable are the tools they used. Far from the portable, easy to use equipment commonly seen today, many items were bulky and cumbersome, oftentimes requiring more than one person to operate.

In May, the railroad will resume its popular Moonlight Specials. An evening train ride through the cool mountain air also includes a barbecued steak or chicken dinner and a stop at the picnic sight to enjoy live music by the band Sugar Pine.

A special concert is also planned for this summer. On August 17, Carmel Helene will perform at the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad. Helene is an up and coming singer known for her strong vocals. She recently spent more than a year touring with Miley Cyrus, and performed at major venues and television shows, including American Idol, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and more.

To learn more about the railroad, book tickets or see a full schedule, visit http://www.YosemiteSteamTrains.com or http://www.Facebook.com/ymsprr. All events and runs are scheduled weather permitting.

For lodging and other attractions, visit http://www.YosemiteThisYear.com

Jarrod Lyman
Director of Media
Yosemite Sierra Visitors Bureau
(559) 683-4636

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