Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad

233 Blossom Hill Rd, Los Gatos, CA 95032, United States

By Ben Loomis – DSC_9441.jpg, CC BY 2.0,

Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad, Inc. is a registered 501(c)(3 ) non-profit organization committed to preserving the legacy of Billy Jones and to preserving history and entertaining the public. The Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad runs and maintains a one-third railroad with both steam and diesel locomotives as well as a restored antique carousel in Oak Meadow Park.

What is a one-third size railroad? Their engines are all true engines, but they are one-third the size of a normal engine. They run their historic 100 + year old steam engine # 2, as well as the Diesel 2502 and 3502 engines, and have added a new steam locomotive to their fleet # 5. These motors, along with their six passenger cars, run on an 18 “gage track through Oak Meadow and Vasona Parks. Riders will admire the breathtaking scenery of Vasona Lake Park as they pass their miles of tracks.

The Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad still runs a historic carousel. It’s the W.E. “Bill” Mason Carousel is over 100 years old and has a rich past. Originally designed in the United Kingdom for the Panama-Pacific Exhibition in 1915, the carousel was transported to North America around the South American horn before the Panama Canal opened. After the Panama Pacific, the carousel became part of a traveling circus until it was bought by Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad Inc. in the 1980s.

Visitors will expect not only a fantastic park experience when they visit them, but they are also immersed in the rich past of this train and carousel. In addition to their rides, the railroad still runs a snack barbecue and treats.

The proceeds from the selling of tickets and food goes back to the maintenance of the organization. They are also working to create job opportunities for people seeking to gain experience in their professions. With a flexible schedule, the railroad provides year-round jobs mainly on weekends. They provide instruction in customer support, money management, ticketing, food and retail sales.

At the heart of the Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad are volunteers who work hard to ensure that all maintenance is taken care of while keeping costs down. The railroad is still searching for the best volunteers to uphold the tradition and legacy of Billy Jones. If you don’t have time but cash, all contributions are tax deductible. Any aid goes a long way to this little railroad.

BJWRR is composed of a Board of Directors that meets on a monthly basis to decide the strategy and ensure that the railroad and carousel remain true to the mission statement of the company.

Billy Jones

Billy Jones has been a railroad man for almost his entire life. He was born in 1884 in Ben Lomond, California, and at the age of 13 he started working on the railroad as a roustabout on the South Pacific Coast Railroad. He would later work on the Southern Pacific Railroad, operating locomotives up and down the coast of California, until he retired in 1950.

Billy was on a layover in San Francisco in 1939 and saw a rusty old steam locomotive in a scrap yard bound for shipment to Japan. Billy wanted to buy a one-third scale locomotive and then moved it to his ranch in Los Gatos, where he would spend countless hours repairing the engine. The No. 2 will continue to be the centerpiece of Billy’s railroad, which finally opened on his ranch in 1943.

For 25 years, Billy ran the “Wildcat Railroad” on his ranch free of charge, accepting donations as his only means of payment. Children and families from all over the valley loved coming to his ranch and enjoying the excitement of riding behind a true steam engine. One of the many visitors on the Wildcat Railroad was Walt Disney, who became friends with Billy and also invited him to visit Disneyland and the Disneyland Railroad engineer.

Billy was also an active member of the community and involved himself in a number of charitable organizations. He would also contribute to various children’s hospitals, orphanages and special-interest organizations, but only on the condition that he remained anonymous.

This amazing town of Los Gatos, California prides itself to have many must-see landmarks you don’t want to miss:

  • New Museum Los Gatos
  • Vasona Lake County Park
  • Los Gatos Creek Trail Urban
  • Oak Meadow Park
  • Testarossa Winery
  • Fantasy Of Lights
  • St. Joseph’s Hill Preserve
  • Venture Christian Church

All of these wonderful landmarks are located just a short distance from our location located at 3880 South Bascom Avenue in San Jose, California! Stop by for a visit anytime!