The Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum’s summer season has just begun 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, has been in service for several years, taking 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. During much of the time that Donna Jeanne has been in service, Sarah Kidder was in the restoration shop getting a makeover.
Originally used as a shuttle vehicle at the Westside & Cherry Valley Railway, the Sarah Kidder is an open-air railbus with polished wood bench seating, meticulously lettered signs, and brass accents that give it a style reminiscent of times gone by. The railbus is named for Sarah Kidder, the former president of the NCNGRR from 1901-1913, and the first female president of a railroad in the United States.
Railbus 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 during normal business hours at 530-470-0902. The timetable of departures is available on the Museum’s website: www.ncngrrmuseum.org.
Summer season museum hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday through Tuesday. Docent-led tours of the museum, including restored rail cars in the yard and the restoration shop with its works in progress, are available. 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.
The Sarah Kidder (left) and Donna Jeanne railbuses stand ready to take passengers on rides at the NCNGRR museum.