The sound of train whistles once again will be echoing through Fish Camp as the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad has started its season, and is preparing to celebrate a special milestone.
The railroad, about 4 miles from the southern entrance to Yosemite National Park, started offering tours aboard the Jenny Railcars on Sunday.
The railcars are Ford Model A's modified by the rail crews back in the early 1900s to transport personnel and materials to job sites much faster and more economically than by steam engine. The Jennys continue to run today, offering another way to tour lines used by the railroad, and carry about a dozen passengers.
The steam engine tours will start March 27, running Wednesday through Saturday that week.
This season is a special one for the railroad, which has been in operation since the 1960s. Engine No. 15, the smaller of the railroad's two Shay locomotives and originally belonging to the West Side Lumber Co., celebrates its 100th birthday this year, a milestone for the historic railroad.
"We're planning a big celebration this year to commemorate the centennial of the engine," said Max Stauffer, owner of the railroad.
"It's not every day that we get to celebrate something turning 100, even with all the history out here, so we plan to make a big deal of it," he said
The railroad's "Moonlight Specials," which include a train ride, barbecue dinner and entertainment from the folk group Sugarpine, will start May 25 and run on Wednesday and Saturday nights through July, and then just on Saturday nights in September and October.
Other activities at the railroad include gold panning and the Thornberry Mu-seum, which is a popular spot for birthday parties and other special events.
For more info, go to www.yosemitesteamtrains.com.