Ride a Caboose
Rent a Train
February 5, 19
March 4, 18
April 7, 8, 22
May 5, 6, 13**, 19, 20
June 2, 3, 16, 17
July 7, 8, 21, 22
August 4, 5, 18, 19
September 2, 16
October 7, 21
* (No daytime trains)
** (On Mother's Day, trains will run on the Excursion timetable)
Steam Excursions only run on the dates shown in BLUE above.
IN NILES CANYON
The history of trains in Niles Canyon dates back to the building of the original transcontinental railroad. The first Western Pacific Railroad Company (formed in 1862) started construction in San Jose towards Sacramento. It built twenty miles of track that reached into Alameda Creek canyon in 1866. Its first passenger excursion entered the canyon on October 2 of that year. Construction was halted shortly thereafter, however, because of disagreements between the railroadís contractors and its financiers.
In September, 1869, four months after the famous golden spike ceremony at Promontory Summit, Utah, the Central Pacific Railroad completed the transcontinental rail link between Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay, finishing the track through the canyon. The CP had acquired the Western Pacific and other local railroads and built track to connect them at a waterfront terminal at Alameda Point.
The Central Pacific constructed a freight terminal at the west end of the canyon and a town quickly sprang up around it. The town was named for Addison C. Niles, a prominent judge and former railroad attorney.
The Central Pacific eventually became part of the
Southern Pacific railroad system. Over the years, the SP invested heavily in a main line
to the north through Benicia and Martinez. The tracks in the canyon became a secondary
main line. Very few rebuilding programs by the railroad left the Niles Canyon line
with much of its original cut stone bridge abutments, culverts and retaining walls from
the original Western Pacificís right of way (circa 1865). These unique constructions
can still be seen today.
Steam locomotives pulled trains through Niles Canyon for eighty years before diesels took over in the 1950ís. In 1984, after twelve decades of railroading in the canyon, the Southern Pacific ceased operating trains on the right-of-way, pulled up the tracks, and deeded the land to Alameda County.
The Pacific Locomotive Association entered into an agreement with the County and began rebuilding the rail line in 1987. Association volunteers worked for over a year on the first part of the track reconstruction between Sunol and Brightside. On May 21, 1988, almost 122 years after the first Western Pacific excursion, the Pacific Locomotive Association brought railroad passenger operations back to life in Niles Canyon.
Presently, the Pacific Locomotive Associationís Niles Canyon Railway provides historic train ride experiences to the public year round from the 1880ís depot in Sunol and from Niles Station in Fremont, California.
READ MORE ABOUT THE PLA & NCRy...
October 2, 1866
First passenger train
in the canyon
Through train to
San Francisco Bay
Early town platt for