The Niles Canyon Railway will be operating special trips using a classic steam engine two weekends in September, after being closed down since March.
The all-volunteer train crew is eager to fire up the recently restored Columbia River Belt Line Railway steam locomotive, affectionately called the Skookum, which has been on loan to the Niles Canyon Railway for the last 18 months.
Excursions in the open-air cars will leave from the Sunol Depot at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m., Saturdays, Sept. 12 and 19; and at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., Sundays, Sept. 13 and 20.
The fare for the daytime trains is $30 for adults; $20, seniors (62-plus) and children (3-12). The twilight train costs $40, adults; $30, seniors and children.
The Pacific Locomotive Association, which runs the railway, has posted special COVID-19 Health and Safety policies to be followed. Boarding areas will be set up for social distancing, and patrons are asked to arrive 30-45 minutes before departure.
Face masks are required, and no more than 50% of the seats will be used. Enhanced cleaning and sanitization will focus on high-touch areas. Hand sanitizing stations are on some railcars, and restrooms will be available for hand-washing. The snack bar on the train will be closed, and no food or drinks are allowed on board.
The association also announced that this year's popular Train of Lights holiday event has been canceled, due to restrictions and the inability to properly plan. Since this was the main fundraiser for the organization, donations are appreciated.
To purchase tickets for the special excursions or to make donations, visit www.ncry.org.