Old Sac Train Rides Back on Track

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old sac train ride
Photo from the California State Railroad Museum ticket page.

Has the pandemic driven you loco? Well, it is starting to feel as though there is indeed light at the end of that long tunnel, with one delightful bit of evidence chugging our way courtesy of the California State Railroad Museum in Old Sacramento.

Starting this coming weekend, the museum (111 I St.; open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily) once again will be offering 50-minute train rides along the Sacramento River. Sacramentans and out-of-town visitors have been enjoying this low-tech, breezy pleasure for almost four decades.

The round trip, halfway through which the train’s locomotive unhitches and about-faces to the north-facing direction, allows riders to “experience railroading first hand as it was in the early part of the 20th century. Pulled by one of our historic steam or diesel locomotives, this ride is the perfect hands-on complement to visiting the museum and is sure to entertain the entire family.”

Tickets, available online and at the Central Pacific Passenger Station at the corner of Front and J Streets,  come in two categories: first class ($25 general, $18 for ages 6-17) and coach ($15, $8). Children younger than 6 ride for free. Here’s the schedule:

March: 11:30 a.m. and 1 and 2:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays

April: 10 and 11:30 a.m. and 1, 2:30 and 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays

May through September: 11:30 a.m. and 1 and 2:30 p.m. Fridays; and 10 and 11:30 a.m. and 1, 2:30 and 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

First-class riders are served refreshments and, depending on the day, will ride in one of three vintage cars: The El Dorado, a “handsome 1920s lounge car (that) offers large windows and comfortable seating; The French Quarter, a “with wrought iron balconies and a ‘sunset pink’ painted ceiling studded with stars;  or The Audubon Dining Car, which features “hand-painted reproductions of bird illustrations by the artist/naturalist John James Audubon.”

First call for this year’s Sacramento Southern Railroad!