Courtesy of Sacramento River Train

Sacramento River Train

Sacramento River Train
Ride along a stretch of Gold Country landscape while dining, wine-tasting, or watching a show

Get a feel for the golden era of California railroad travel on this West Sacramento train, which combines a historic stretch of track with everything from craft beer tastings and live music to Wild West-style shows.

The 14 miles of track, running from West Sacramento to Woodland in Yolo County, just west of the capital city, were first laid in 1911 by the Northern Electric Company, and the line was used for years to transport goods from local farms into the city. Once Northern Electric merged with Sacramento Northern Railways, the line offered eight daily round-trip passenger trains between Woodland and Sacramento until World War II.

The six-car train that runs today—a combination of open-air cars and enclosed, air-conditioned coaches—got a makeover in 2015, beyond its exterior of California gold and blue, river-like waves. “We enhanced the interior of the cars, harkening back to the proud legacy of passenger rail travel,” says Rashael Parker, chief marketing officer for the family-owned company, “with timeless fabrics, tin-inspired ceilings, and wood finishes.”

The train cruises along at just 10 to 15 miles per hour, offering a leisurely view of the river and farmlands, and often providing enough time for a meal or a show. Take the two-hour RiverTrain Excursion for the views, and perhaps also for the add-on breakfast with mimosas. The other excursions offer a variety of experiences—like the Old Vine Express (with live music and tastings from 15 different Northern California wineries), the Beer Train (with more live music and a focus on local craft beers), and the Great Train Robbery, a Wild West-style showdown that ends happily (as in, with a barbecue picnic lunch).

There is also a full slate of holiday trains, from Easter, Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day trains during spring and summer to the Pumpkin Train in the fall and the Magical Christmas Train in December. “The train is a truly unique venue, from its narrow hallways to its rocking motion and open-air patio cars,” says Parker. “Every moment onboard feels distinctly like traveling through a bygone era.” 

Laura Flippen

Discover the Central Valley

83
July
Average (°F)
June - Aug
98°
High
62°
Low
Sept - Nov
91°
High
43°
Low
Dec - Feb
62°
High
38°
Low
Mar - May
84°
High
46°
Low

California’s heartland offers up one of the state’s most authentic and sensory-rich experiences, a chance to see—and taste—the state’s bounty at every turn. Follow oak-shaded country roads to farm stands overflowing with fresh produce, and meander along wine trails to some of the state’s most productive vineyards and low-key tasting rooms.

Peaches, plums, apricots, and tomatoes—just some of the ultra-fresh produce you will find at farm stands throughout the valley.

Throughout the broad valley, stretching for over 400 miles/644 kilometers down the middle of the state, are cities and towns rich with history, international culture, and “everyone’s welcome” charm. 

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