(From Destination: Cache Creek magazine)
Re-launched in July 2005 by the Sierra Railroad Company, the Sacramento River Train in Woodland is one of the newest dinner trains in the country. Trips aboard the train feature food and entertainment, enjoyed while passengers view the countryside gliding slowly past their window at the leisurely pace of 15 miles per hour.
“It’s a very special memorable occasion,” says Sierra Railroad President Chris Hart. “People are there for the entertainment, but also the experience. It’s like a three hour cruise. What I love about it is the sense of completely getting away from what’s normal and going on a journey with others.”
Fraught with history, the train operates on the 16-mile “Woodland Branch” between Woodland and West Sacramento, originally constructed as a link between the fertile farmlands of Yolo County and the developing city of Sacramento. The Sierra Railroad is comprised of two other trains as well: the Skunk Train which operates on the North Coast of California, and the Sierra, based 70 miles south in Oakdale. Each of them is a working preservation of our country’s love affair with this nostalgic mode of transportation.
Hart says that each trip for the Woodland train includes three phases. “First, we leave Woodland and go across the Fremont Trestle, the longest wooden trestle in Northern California – a mile and a half long. The next portion of the trip, we go along the Sacramento River. For the remaining portion we go through farmland.”
In addition to beautiful scenery, the Sacramento River Train features a variety of daytime and evening trips with food and entertainment. “We run sunset dinners,” says Hart. “We do murder mysteries – a zany, loud, fun show – where you have the actors come right into the cars. And we do a great train robbery that’s more of a daytime barbecue trip with a bunch of western characters. We also do a Sunday Brunch.” Different seasonal and special events are scheduled around holidays such as Easter and Christmas.
With all of these offerings, there’s something for riders of all ages to enjoy. “You show me someone and I think I’ve got a train for them,” says Hart. “We’ve created different trips that we think will appeal to everyone.”
Located 15 minutes from Sacramento and a half hour from Cache Creek, the train boards in Woodland and goes on a 32-mile trip lasting 2 ½ - 3 ½ hours. There are open air and lounge cars to explore, so riders don’t have to worry about sitting the entire time. Trips are offered every week of the year. Call (800) 866-1690 for reservations, or for more information surf to: www.sacramentorivertrain.com