2012 Train of Lights
Frequently Asked Questions
- How do I purchase tickets?
- How long is the train ride?
- Where do I board the train?
- Are the trains wheelchair accessible?
- Do children need a ticket?
- Can I bring a stroller on the train?
- Will our large group be able to sit together?
- Can I save seats if someone in our group are running late?
- How can our group ride in the caboose?
- Are tickets refundable?
- What time should I arrive at the depot?
- Where do I park?
- Where do I pick up my tickets?
- What if it rains?
- Are there refreshments available on the train?
- What should I bring?
- Can I charter an entire train?
- Who do I contact for more information?
Tickets for all seats are $25 for all children, ages 3 to 113.
- How do I buy tickets? Train of Lights tickets will go on sale
on our Web Site on Monday, August 13 at 10 a.m., and you can use a credit card to order
There will be one page for the Niles trains, and another separate page for the Sunol trains.
Please make sure that you know which station you wish to depart from,
before you buy your tickets.
You can also "like" the train on Facebook, or Tweet about it, so that your friends
can make sure they depart from the same station.
Even if the trains sell out, there are often some small number of tickets which become
available a day or two before the train. We will use Facebook and Twitter to let our friends
and followers know if "day of train" tickets are available.
us on Facebook, or
follow us on twitter
to get more information and alerts.
Our trains will run every Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, between
Friday November 23, through Sunday, December 30.
(Children age 2 and younger ride free, if they will be sitting on a parents lap.)
We will be running trains from both Niles and from Sunol.
We will have Bargain Trains, all seats $17, on
three Wednesdays; November 28, December 5 and December 12.
There will be one Caboose on each train, which can be reserved for
private parties. (More info in answer #9.)
There will be two cars with Reserved Seating. These tickets will be $40 per seat..
- One car is the Golden Gate Railroad Museum SP 2979 Lounge Car. This will
be a First Class experience, on this beautifully restored and appointed vintage
Parlour Car with car attendants. (NOTE: All riders in the Lounge Car need a ticket,
including infants. Please see their FAQ.)
(Holiday Lounge Car info -
Holiday Club Lounge FAQ)
- The other car is the Pacific Locomotive Association SF 505 Dome Car, with
swivel seats in the upper level dome for an unparalleled view, and a cozy lounge
below, with car attendants.
(More Dome Car
- How long is the trip? The round trip from Sunol to Niles, and
from Niles to Sunol, takes a little over an hour (not counting boarding and exiting time).
There are Porta-Potties at each station. Note that there are only a few restrooms on board
the train for emergency use, so please prepare accordingly.
- Where do I board the train? For a map and directions to the Sunol
Depot and the Niles Station, Click Here
- Sunol: It is easy to get lost on the dark country roads around Sunol if
you are not familiar with the area. Please check the route ahead of time using
your favorite maps or map website. We will have signs in Sunol, and there will
be some parking attendants directing cars into our parking areas.
- Niles: We will have parking near our train platform in Niles this year!
Please check your route ahead of time, and watch for new signs and traffic guides.
There will NOT be buses this year from Main Street to the trains. You will NOT be
allowed to walk across the tracks from Main Street to our platform! (The tracks
in the middle are active Union Pacific tracks, and the Amtrak trains through Niles
pass there at 40 MPH. Please, think about safety, and don't cross the tracks!)
- What about wheelchair access? The only ADA accommodations are on
designated cars. Wheelchairs may not move about the train due to the narrow aisles of
the antique equipment.
If you will have a wheelchair in your group, or someone in need of special assistance,
please mention this in the comments section when you purchase your tickets.
You can check with the Station Agent in advance by calling (510) 996-8420. Please
call with your special needs as we do not view the Comments portion of the
ticketing site until our manifests are printed.
- Do children need a ticket? Everyone age three or older needs
a ticket. However, infants and children under age three do not need a ticket if they
are sitting on your lap. If your infant will take up a seat, then
your infant will need a ticket.
- Can I bring a stroller? Strollers are discouraged, for a
number of reasons. The aisles of the vintage cars are narrow, there is limited space
in the vestibules of the coaches, and the train will be crowded. Please plan to leave
your strollers in your car.
- Will our large group be able to sit together? All tickets are
$25 for General Seating. There are no other Saved Seats (except for the
handicap-accessible seats). There are no guarantees that a group will
be able to sit together.
You can increase your chances of sitting together if you arrive early, and board as
a group. If you arrive together and form up as a group before boarding, the Car Host
(when available) will attempt to seat you together as much as possible.
Saving seats for passengers who are not present is not permitted.
Each passenger needs their own ticket.
Can I save seats if someone in our group is running late? No.
Seats can not be saved for late arrivals. If a group wants to sit together they should all
arrive early, and when everyone has arrived, board the train together.
- Our trains depart on time.
- Everyone is strongly encouraged to arrive early.
How can our group ride in the caboose? In 2012, we will have
one caboose on each train available for private parties. The cost is $600, and can
accomodate up to 24 adults. There are 2 small tables on board for your food and
beverages. There is no access to the regular train during the ride, and there is no
restroom on the caboose. (Please visit our porta-potties in the parking lot before
Follow these links to reserve a caboose; departing either at
from the Niles Station, or at
from the Sunol Depot.
You will have a docent from the railroad riding in the caboose with you, to answer your
questions about the train and the railroad, and to help everyone have a safe ride.
We ask that an adult be stationed by the ladders going up to the cupolla, while children
are climbing up and down.
There is open grating outside the doors of the caboose. High-heeled shoes are not advised.
Are tickets refundable? This is a fundraiser. The tickets are not
refundable. However, you may be able to exchange your tickets for another train (based on
limited availability). Our holiday trains are often sold out months in advance, so there may
not be a sufficient number of tickets on another train available for an exchange. To inquire
about an exchange, contact the Station Agent at (510) 996-8420.
An exchange fee of $10.00, per order, will be charged to change tickets
If the day that you want is sold out,you may check in with the station agent on the day of
the train you prefer and get on the waiting list for that train.
When should I arrive? Arrive early, because
OUR TRAINS LEAVE ON TIME. Boarding begins about 45 minutes before the scheduled
departure time. Please be at the depot no less than 30 minutes before departure. If you need
assistance in boarding, you should plan to arrive earlier, and mention your need to the train
crew or depot/station agents when you arrive.
When you arrive at the station, you will need to exchange your ticketing voucher for
the souvenir tickets, prior to boarding the train.
Where do I park?
- Niles - The parking situation is changing this summer. We will send an
email to the person who bought the tickets, in the Fall, with parking information,
after the plans have been finalized. We apologize for not having that information
available for posting during the summer.
- DO NOT BLOCK residence or business driveways. Your
vehicle may be towed, at your expense, if you block a driveway.
- Sunol - Parking at the depot in Sunol is limited, so please carpool as much
- Parking in the lighted lot at the Sunol Depot is for compact and regular sized cars.
- Five ADA parking spaces are located in the middle of the main lot near the boarding area.
- Full-sized pickup trucks, six-packs, dual rear wheel trucks, campers, small
motorhomes and buses may park at the Sunol Glen
school one block east of the depot. Please DO NOT drive these large vehicles into the
main parking lot unless you have made prior arrangements with the station agent.
- Note: All parking is close to residences. Please be
considerate of our neighbors' peace and quiet when you come to visit us.
- DO NOT BLOCK residence or business driveways. Your vehicle may
be towed, at your expense, if you block a driveway.
Where do I get my tickets? All Train of Lights 2012 tickets
will be available for Will Call at the ticket counter at the station from which
your train will depart.
- Pick up your tickets on the day of your train. The Will Call window
opens at each station one hour and 15 minutes before your train will depart.
- When you purchase tickets on-line, you will be given a confirmation page. Print
that voucher page, and bring it with you on the day of your train.
- Will-Call ticket holders should allow 45 minutes to park, exchange your voucher
for your tickets, and to distribute them to others in your party prior to boarding.
- Group leaders should make copies of the map and
directions, and distribute them to each of the drivers in your group.
- Be sure to check your departure station before leaving home, so you
will go to the correct location. We may not be able to accommodate people who have tickets
for trains departing from the wrong station. Wrong depot departures may be standing room only
if we can accommodate you and there will be a $10.00 exchange fee. We can not determine if
wrong station departures can be accommodated until all ticketed passengers have boarded.
What if it rains? Trains run in any weather. There are NO
refunds if it rains. There is no guarantee of an inside seat, so please be prepared
for inclement weather and dress appropriately. Everyone should allow more time to get
to the depot and park during bad weather.
Are there refreshments on-board? Yes. Hot drinks, juice,
and other snacks are available for purchase on board the train. Please discard any
trash in the provided containers on the train, or on the platform. You may also bring
your own snacks, if you wish. (Note: If you are reserving a
caboose, you will not be able to get to the commissary counter on the main train.
You are welcome to bring your own refreshments with you.)
What should I bring? Bring large doses of good cheer and any
protective clothing you may need against the weather. While we don't often have rain, it is
frequently cold. A small flashlight may be useful to help you move safely between your vehicle
and the train.
Can I charter an entire Train of Lights train?
Yes. Contact the Ticket Agent at 510-996-8420 for rates and availability.
Have more questions? For more information, contact our Station
Agent by email at TOLtickets@ncry.org,
by telephone at 510-996-8420, or at the Sunol Depot during
our regular Sunday train operations.