Reopening. The first steps…

While we remain closed, we are taking our first steps to getting back into our steam engine cabs to fire up our engines and provide rides again to the general public. Please take a moment to read the letter from our PLA President, Henry Baum, on our Re-opening Plan and our new COVID-19 Health and Safety Policy available below. You may also take our visitor survey at the link at the bottom of this page.

June 18, 2020

Dear Friends,

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a truly unprecedented situation which affects us all. Our hearts go out to anyone who has been impacted by the virus, either directly or indirectly. During this time, the Pacific Locomotive Association, operator of the Niles Canyon Railway (NCRY), wants to reach out and update you on how we are approaching the next phase toward re-opening to ensure the health and safety of our volunteers and guests. For the last few weeks, some of our essential volunteers have been working safely behind the scenes to maintain our equipment and our facilities. Other volunteers have been working from their homes on the necessary preparations needed to welcome you back to experience our historic heritage railroad with train rides in Niles Canyon. Our intention is to implement new health and safety procedures in line with industry best practices, resume train operations, and work diligently toward making a future announcement about our holiday event: “Train of Lights”.

Upon reopening, our typical Sunday schedule will be temporarily suspended in favor of special summer trains that will operate with limited capacity and with new protocols in place to comply with our local Alameda County Public Health guidelines.

We’re doing our part to keep you safe, but we can’t do it alone. The success of our reopening plan requires the cooperation of all our guests.  Guests of the Niles Canyon Railway will be required to follow all of our policies while on our property and our trains.  When you are again able to visit, we ask that you please take the time to review the procedures and policies below. We expect that these will be temporary, and we intend to modify them in phases as health conditions and government leaders permit. Furthermore, in accordance with our current policies, our Guests can help us ensure the health and safety of all by agreeing to the following:

  • Guests who have been exposed to COVID-19 recently or have symptoms of COVID-19 (including a fever, cough, or shortness of breath) will not visit, and
  • Guests who have underlying health conditions or are otherwise concerned about contracting COVID-19 acknowledge their option to not visit the Niles Canyon Railway.

Since the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and shelter in place orders remain in place in Alameda County and the State of California as of the writing of this letter, our Niles Canyon Railway remains temporarily closed until further notice. We will certainly let everyone know as soon as we are able to offer trains again. Signing up for our email list (see below) or liking our Facebook page is a great way to let us let you know as soon as our train operations resume.

If you would like to support us to help us get through this time and loss of our operating revenue, you can make a donation or consider joining us. Membership is a great way to support our railroad, and it comes with many other perks as well.

COVID-19 presents us with challenges we never could have imagined, but the NCRY is committed to safely planning for the day when trains are running again to ensure you have an enjoyable experience. We ask everyone to please stay safe, and we hope to be back out of the engine house and back in the cab soon enough.


HKB Sig copy

Henry K. Baum
Pacific Locomotive Association, operator of Niles Canyon Railway

COVID-19 Health and Safety Policy
Niles Canyon Railway

  • Volunteers will undergo a temperature check and Health Assessment before the start of their shifts.
  • Volunteers will also be required to wear face coverings and gloves.
  • Entry without a ticket or reservation will not be permitted.
  • Contactless Guest check-in will be conducted by staff at our Depot ticket window.
  • Face masks are required for all Guests over the age of two (2) years old.
  • Volunteers and Guests unwilling or unable to wear a face mask must refrain from visiting until the face mask requirement is lifted.
  • Guests must practice a six-foot social distance while onboard unless arriving as a group of no more than 12 (Social Bubble).
  • Time between train departures will be extended to allow time to thoroughly sanitize the train and to limit Guest density throughout our boarding platform, porta-potty corral, Chinese Railroad Workers Exhibit, and retail spaces.
  • Train capacity will be limited to no more than 50% of the available seats.
  • Hand sanitizing stations are located throughout the property and on select railcars. Our public restrooms remain available for handwashing.
  • Retail transactions must be cashless and shields are installed at retail registers to protect guests and NCRY volunteers.
  • Frequent and enhanced cleaning and sanitization will be occurring throughout our property and railcars, with focus on high-touch areas.
  • Signage throughout the property reminds everyone of mandated social distancing, use of face masks, and good hand hygiene.

We would welcome your input on what you, the Niles Canyon Railway visitor, would like to see when we re-open. Please take a moment to fill out our online survey as we greatly value your thoughts and opinions.