Railroad Museum celebrates 15th season with new acquisition, railbus rides | TheUnion.com

Railroad Museum celebrates 15th season with new acquisition, railbus rides

The Sarah Kidder, left, and Donna Jeanne railbuses stand ready to take passengers on rides at The Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum beginning April 28.
Submitted by Tricia Shelton

The Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum’s summer season begins April 28 with the annual commencement of the popular railbus rides. In celebration of the museum’s 15th year, plans are in place to operate both of the museum’s fully-restored railbuses, the “Donna Jeanne,” and the recently refurbished “Sarah Kidder.”

The Donna Jeanne, also known as #97, takes passengers along Gold Run Creek past the Inn Town Campground to the Northern Queen, paralleling a portion of the original route of the Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad. Originally used as a shuttle vehicle at the Westside & Cherry Valley Railway, the recently restored Sarah Kidder is an open-air railbus with polished wood bench seating and brass accents. The railbus is the president of the museum, who served from 1901 to 1913. She was the first female president of a railroad in the United States.

Rides are approximately 35 minutes in duration and are offered on Saturdays only during the summer season. Reservations are strongly recommended and can be arranged by calling the museum at 530-470-0902. The timetable of departures is available on the museum’s website at http://www.ncngrrmuseum.org.

Docent-led tours of the museum, including restored rail cars in the yard and the restoration shop with its works in progress, are also available. According to John Christensen, director of the museum, there are a variety of ongoing restoration projects, including a newly acquired coach, a former Florence & Cripple Creek 2nd class passenger coach built in 1897. The coach will require extensive restoration before being put into service as a meeting room at the museum.

Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday through Tuesday. There is no charge to visit the museum or ride the railbus, but donations are always gratefully accepted.

The museum is located at 5 Kidder Court at the intersection of Bost and New Mohawk in Nevada City.

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