Train of Lights

Take the whole family on an enchanting holiday excursion!

Enjoy a 1.5 hour-long round trip through Niles Canyon filled with refreshments, music, and cheer aboard our antique coaches and open cars that feature holiday lights and decorations inside and out.

The Train of Lights offers a rare opportunity to experience a train ride through Niles Canyon at night.  With one departure from Niles at dusk and a second departure from Sunol after dark, you can choose your favorite time to ride.

The Train of Lights has been an annual tradition for many Bay Area families for more than a decade.  Make it yours too!

The 2021 Train of Lights is SOLD OUT.
For those who may not have been able to get tickets this year, one of the best ways to learn about TOL ticket on sale dates is to join our mailing list. Sign up is available at the bottom of this page.
Thanks to everyone that purchased tickets in support of the Train of Light, our largest yearly fundraiser for the NCRy.

Covid-19 Information

Please be advised-

By purchasing on FareHarbor, and clicking the box online, you acknowledge and agree to the following terms:

1.   Masks will be required onboard the train and in the ticket areas for all passengers aged three and above. Gaiters, bandanas, and see-through plastic face coverings are not acceptable forms of masks. 

2.  COVID-19 public health directives may and will likely change between the time of ticket purchase and your departure date.  You agree to abide by all public health directives that may be enacted or in place at the time of your departure.  Although vaccine and testing mandates are not yet in place, this requirement may be enacted before your scheduled departure. We will alert customers via email if new restrictions are enacted prior to your departure date.

3.  For health and safety reasons, adjustments and changes to the specific offerings and amenities of The Niles Canyon Train of Lights excursion train ride may be required. Modifications are subject to change without notice.

4. The novel coronavirus (“COVID-19”) infections are confirmed in the San Francisco Bay Area. Passenger represents and warrants that Passenger has not had in the last 14 days
a) exposure to any person suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 and or
b) exhibited symptoms of Covid-19 as identified by the CDC .

Passenger agrees that he or she will not participate in this event if he or she develops any of these symptoms within fourteen days prior to arrival.

We understand that this year will look and feel a bit different, but the Pacific Locomotive Association Inc., operators of the Niles Canyon Railway, is committed to doing everything in our power to ensure a safe and memorable experience for all involved. We greatly appreciate your support, and look forward to celebrating the holidays with you and yours onboard The Train of Lights this year.

Choose Your Departure Time and Location

Trains depart from Niles at 4:30PM and Sunol at 7:30PM on select Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from during the holiday season from November 19th to December 28th, 2021 (except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day).

The earlier Niles departure leaves when it’s still light enough to enjoy the beautiful scenery of Niles Canyon but dark enough on the return trip to enjoy the train’s mesmerizing lights.

Choose Your Experience

We highly recommend bookmarking the “Get … Tickets” link below to our listings on FareHarbor.com for the specific class of ticket you wish to buy and use that direct link to FareHarbor when tickets go on sale. Just right click on the link on this page you are interested and bookmark it!

General Seating

General seating tickets include an unreserved seat in one of our regular passenger coaches or open cars.

General seating tickets – $30.00 each – 3 and older
Infants and children under age 3 do not need a ticket if they are sitting on a lap, but if your child under 3 or infant will take up a seat, then they will need a ticket.

First Class Dome

Dome seating.
Dome car – Lower lounge seating

First Class Dome tickets include a reserved seat in the Santa Fe 505 Dome Car.

Enjoy swivel seats in the upper level glass dome during part of your ride for an unparalleled canyon view and a cozy lounge with attendant, and during the rest of your ride, enjoy the lower part of the dome car in the lounge, bar, or dining area.

First class Dome tickets – $60.00 each – 3 and older
Infants and children under age 3 do not need a ticket if they are sitting on a lap, but if your child under 3 or infant will take up a seat, then they will need a ticket.

First Class Parlor

Parlor car seating

First Class Parlor tickets include a reserved seat in the Southern Pacific 10040 Dining Car.

Enjoy the ride from some of the best seats on the train, in a car appointed with the original Cuban Mahogany interior.

First class Parlor tickets – $60.00 each – 3 and older
Infants and children under age 3 do not need a ticket if they are sitting on a lap, but if your child under 3 or infant will take up a seat, then they will need a ticket.

Private Caboose

Reserve an entire caboose just for your group, and climb up into the cupola for a bird’s-eye view of the train with a docent aboard to tell you about the railroad.

Our Santa Fe cabooses provide a special ride for groups of up to 24 people (depending on whether they are adult-sized or child-sized), and tables are available on-board for serving your refreshments. There are windows on the main floor, but the best view of the train is from the seats high up in the cupola.

However, there are no bathrooms on board the caboose, and there is no access to the rest of the train (including the Commissary Counter) during the ride.

Caboose rental – $650.00 flat fee

The Entire Train

Contact us for more information, rates, and availability of whole-train charters.

Purchase Your Tickets

Tickets are available online for all departures, and your ticket includes a round trip on your selected departure.  These trains are very popular and often sell out well in advance, so we recommend you purchase your tickets as early as possible.

  • All passengers aged 3 or older require tickets.  Infants and children under age 3 do not need a ticket if they are sitting on a lap, but if your child under 3 or infant will take up a seat, then they will need a ticket.
  • If you have a wheelchair or need other special assistance, please contact us. ADA wheelchair access is only to selected (covered) Open Cars, due to the narrow doors on our antique coaches.
  • Train of Lights is our flagship fundraising event for the year, so tickets are not refundable.  However, if you are unable to make your train, you may be able to exchange your tickets for tickets on another train for a $20 fee if there are a sufficient number of tickets available on that train.  Contact us for more information.

Prepare for the Ride

Weather

Trains run rain or shine, and the canyon can get very cold and windy at night in the winter.  The train includes inside and outside seating, but we don’t guarantee an inside seat, so be prepared for cold, wind, and inclement weather and dress accordingly.  Allow more time to get to your boarding location and park if there’s bad weather.

Darkness

The Train of Lights runs at night, so a small flashlight may be useful to help you move safely between your vehicle and the train.

ADA Accommodations

There are only ADA accommodations on designated covered “Open” cars, and wheelchairs may not move about the train due to the narrow aisles and doorways of the antique equipment.

Arrive and Park

Check your boarding location before leaving home so you go to the correct location for your departure.

Trains leave on time, so arrive early. Boarding begins about 30 minutes before the scheduled departure time, so please be at the station and parked at least a half hour before your departure so you have time to pick up your tickets and board.

We board and seat passengers with special needs first, so if you need assistance boarding, you should arrive even earlier, and mention your needs to the train crew when you arrive.

Parking lots are located at our boarding areas at Niles Station and Sunol Depot.  There is limited ADA parking, so arrive early and have your placard visible.  Large vehicles (Larger pick-up trucks, RVs, etc.) must park further away, so if you have a large vehicle, arrive even earlier.

Parking at Niles

The entrance to Niles Station is located at 37029 Mission Boulevard at the corner of Mission and Sullivan Underpass in Fremont.

DO NOT WALK ACROSS THE TRACKS from downtown Niles to our boarding area.  Those tracks are an active Union Pacific Railroad mainline used by many trains every day.  To get from downtown Niles to our boarding area safely, use Sullivan Underpass immediately west of our boarding area.

Parking at Sunol

Sunol Depot is located at 6 Kilkare Road in Sunol.  Large vehicles must park about 1/4 mile away at the Sunol Glen School at 11601 Main Street in Sunol.

Pick Up Your Tickets

You must pick up your tickets from the ticket window at your boarding location before departure.  Bring your confirmation page or photo ID to the ticket window of the station.

Board Your Train

Station agents and train crews will direct you where to board the train.  Once on board, you may freely walk through the entire train (except cabooses).

Large Groups

We do not guarantee that a group will be able to sit together, unless you are ticketed for a First Class car.  To increase your chances of sitting together, arrive early and board as a group.  Saving seats for passengers who are not present is not permitted.

Baby Strollers

Baby strollers are not allowed.  The aisles of the vintage cars are narrow, there is limited space in the vestibules of the coaches to park them, and the train will be crowded, so please do not bring a stroller on board.

Enjoy the Ride

The 13-mile round trip takes a little over an hour.  After the first half of the trip, the train only makes a brief pause then immediately begins the return trip, so you may not get off the train until it returns to your boarding location.