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Sierra DinnerTrain

UPCOMING EVENTS

See our West Sacramento sister train schedule at SacRiverTrain.com

The Sierra Railroad Dinner Train, located in Oakdale, California, is a unique attraction for the entire greater Modesto area. A proud filming location for a wide variety of feature movies, from Oscar-winning High Noon to the pop culture phenomenon Back to the Future franchise, locals and travellers alike will make great memories here.

The Sierra Railroad Company was launched in the late 1800s to connect the Gold Country with the world. The Sierra is third oldest railroad in North America and besides carrying freight and passengers, Sierra became famous as “The Movie Railroad” for making over 300 movies, commercials and television shows. In the 1970s the railroad launched an industry when it operated the nation’s first dinner train. In 1995 the railroad was rejuvenated by new ownership and experienced a remarkable decade of growth and expansion. The Sierra now shares its rich history with visitors on the Sierra Railroad Dinner Train.

 

Thomas S. Bullock felt a railroad to the Sierra Nevada foothills was sorely needed and financially feasible. The railroad would handle passengers, supplies, ore, lumber, and cattle. Bullock’s vision was shared by Prince Andre Poniatowski, a French-born descendant of the King of Poland. Poniatowski then convinced banker William H. Crocker to provide the financial backing for the project. On February 1, 1897, the three formally incorporated the Sierra Railway Company of California.

 

The railroad was started in Oakdale and track was built eastward to the foothills. Much of the equipment and rail were from Bullock's defunct railroad in Arizona that became unprofitable after Santa Fe built a track parallel to it. On November 8, 1897, the Sierra’s first passenger train arrived in Jamestown where a depot and roundhouse were built. 

 

The Sierra had numerous branches off the mainline, including one that went deep into Yosemite National Park. Sierra has continuously moved move goods between the valley and the foothills, with today’s primary cargo being lumber. Fortunately for the Sierra, just as freight and passenger service began to decline, it was discovered by Hollywood.

 

With the growth of the motion picture industry, a new era began for the Sierra Railroad. With its superb scenery, the railroad was singled out by movie producers from around the world as a preferred location for filming. Featured in over 300 motion pictures, television programs and commercials, the world famous railroad is known as The Movie Railroad. Click here for movies. 

 

In the 1970s, the Sierra Railroad launched the first dinner train in North America. Playfully mimicking the famous Super Chief, the Sierra Railroad launched the Supper Chief. Never before had a railroad offered guests such an opportunity to experience the charm and nostalgia of railroads as regular attraction. While the Supper Chief was discontinued when the railroad was sold by the Crocker Family in 1982, the train helped launch an industry that now has 88 dinner trains operating throughout North America.

 

When the Crocker Family sold the railroad, they gave the Jamestown facility to the State of California to establish Railtown 1897 State Historic Park. Today, the Park operates one of America’s last authentic roundhouses and offers visitors short excursion trips on Sierra’s older locomotives.

 

By the 1990s, the Sierra Railroad was struggling to continue. In 1995, the railroad had its third owner when it was purchased by a group led by Mike Hart. During the next five years, Hart significantly restored the poorly maintained track, brought in new equipment, improved shipping and saved the railroad.

 

In 1999, Mike Hart’s brother Chris Hart joined Sierra with the goal of bringing tourism back to the railroad. On December 24, 1999 the Sierra Railroad Dinner Train was launched to offer guests the opportunity see unspoiled countryside, enjoy excellent food and service, and share some of the rich history of the Sierra Railroad.

 

This decade has been very busy for the Sierra Railroad. In 2003, Mike Hart agreed to merge the Sierra with the Yolo Shortline Railroad that was owned by Dave Magaw. The merged company kept the Sierra Railroad Company name, but the newly expanded freight division was named Sierra Northern Railway. In 2004 the Sierra purchased and reopened the famous Skunk Train that had closed after losing its freight business. In 2005 the Sierra added a third tourist train when it started the Sacramento RiverTrain.

Sierra Dinner Train boarding — Oakdale

330 S Sierra Ave, Oakdale, CA 95361


General FAQ

Are the rides round-trip?

Yes! No matter where we board, your evening on the Sierra DinnerTrain will always end right back where it started.

 


 

Where are my tickets?

The Sierra DinnerTrain is a ticket-free operation. To board the train on your event date, all you’ll need to provide us is the last name of the person who purchased the reservations.

 


 

Do I need to purchase a ticket for my infant or toddler?

Yes.  All passengers must have a ticket.

 


 

What happens if my date is cancelled?

Occasionally, due to circumstances beyond our control, we may be forced to cancel an event date. If this happens, we will contact you to make alternative arrangements. First, we’ll try to get you into the same experience on another trip date. If your schedule cannot accommodate another trip date, we will refund you your ticket purchase price.

 


 

Can I cancel or reschedule my trip?

Tickets and fees are nonrefundable.  You may call to reschedule or receive a voucher for your trip up to 72 hours prior to departure. The number for our ticketing office is: (800) 866-1690. 

 


 

Can I bring outside food or drinks onto the train?

No, in keeping with health and safety regulations, we cannot allow outside food or drink on the train. We do have soft drinks, water, and snacks available at our concession and many trips have the option of purchasing light meals or snack boxes ahead of time.

 


 

Is the Sierra DinnerTrain affiliated with the Railroad Museum?

The Sierra DinnerTrain is a locally-owned, family-operated business that is not affiliated with the California State Railroad museum.

 


 

Does the Sierra DinnerTrain run any trips using steam-powered engines?

No. All of our trains are diesel-powered locomotives. If you want to see vintage trains in action, consider making a weekend trip to our sister railroad in Mendocino County, the Skunk Train.

 


 

Is the Sierra DinnerTrain dog-friendly?

No. Because of safety issues, dogs are not allowed on the Sierra DinnerTrain with the exception of service animals.

  


  

Are there restrooms available on the Sierra DinnerTrain?

Yes. The Sierra DinnerTrain has several small, airplane or bus-style restrooms available for guest use.

   


 

Is smoking allowed on the Sierra DinnerTrain?

No. Federal regulations and regional fire codes prohibit smoking, even in the outdoor cars. 

  


 

 

Are discounts available for large groups?

Yes! Groups of 20 or more are eligible for discounted rates. Contact our group sales and special events manager to plan a great experience, and secure special pricing — call our reservations office at 1-800-866-1690.

 


 

Can I host my child’s birthday party on the Sierra DinnerTrain?

Yes! Kid-friendly events are one of our specialties, and any of these can be a great way to spend your child’s birthday. Any trip can be a great celebration: from the Great Train Robbery to the Christmas Train, there is always something fun rolling down the tracks.

 


 

Can I have a corporate event on the Sierra DinnerTrain?

Absolutely! Large company parties can schedule a special train trip to show employees appreciation, celebrate the holidays, or work on building up that team mentality. For smaller groups, consider reserving a private car for one of our already-scheduled trips. Get valuable insight and special pricing by calling our reservations office at 1 (800) 866-1690.

 


 

Can I rent out the entire train?

Yes, private charters may be arranged, upon request, for any day of the week depending upon availability.

 


 

 

Is the Sierra DinnerTrain wheelchair accessible?

Due to the historic nature of the train cars, however, there are some unique challenges for anyone with mobility restrictions to be aware of. Some of our cars have narrow hallways with 90 degree turns, and we cannot guarantee that personal chairs will fit. Additionally, some of our cars are upper level and have steep stairs at either end. That being said, we will make every effort to accommodate anyone wishing to ride the train. Please give us a call at 1.800.866.1690 to discuss further.

 


 

How many guests can the Sierra DinnerTrain accommodate?

The train has a maximum capacity of 300 guests. The maximum capacity may vary based on the experience.

 

 


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Boarding Information

Oakdale Boarding

Oakdale is 95 miles east of San Francisco and 70 miles south of Sacramento. Sierra DinnerTrain boards at 330 South Sierra Avenue.

 

330 S Sierra Ave

Oakdale, CA  95361

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Frequently Asked Questions

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General FAQ

Are the rides round-trip?

Yes! No matter where we board, your evening on the Sierra DinnerTrain will always end right back where it started.

 


 

Where are my tickets?

The Sierra DinnerTrain is a ticket-free operation. To board the train on your event date, all you’ll need to provide us is the last name of the person who purchased the reservations.

 


 

Do I need to purchase a ticket for my infant or toddler?

Yes.  All passengers must have a ticket.

 


 

What happens if my date is cancelled?

Occasionally, due to circumstances beyond our control, we may be forced to cancel an event date. If this happens, we will contact you to make alternative arrangements. First, we’ll try to get you into the same experience on another trip date. If your schedule cannot accommodate another trip date, we will refund you your ticket purchase price.

 


 

Can I cancel or reschedule my trip?

Tickets and fees are nonrefundable.  You may call to reschedule or receive a voucher for your trip up to 72 hours prior to departure. The number for our ticketing office is: (800) 866-1690. 

 


 

Can I bring outside food or drinks onto the train?

No, in keeping with health and safety regulations, we cannot allow outside food or drink on the train. We do have soft drinks, water, and snacks available at our concession and many trips have the option of purchasing light meals or snack boxes ahead of time.

 


 

Is the Sierra DinnerTrain affiliated with the Railroad Museum?

The Sierra DinnerTrain is a locally-owned, family-operated business that is not affiliated with the California State Railroad museum.

 


 

Does the Sierra DinnerTrain run any trips using steam-powered engines?

No. All of our trains are diesel-powered locomotives. If you want to see vintage trains in action, consider making a weekend trip to our sister railroad in Mendocino County, the Skunk Train.

 


 

Is the Sierra DinnerTrain dog-friendly?

No. Because of safety issues, dogs are not allowed on the Sierra DinnerTrain with the exception of service animals.

  


  

Are there restrooms available on the Sierra DinnerTrain?

Yes. The Sierra DinnerTrain has several small, airplane or bus-style restrooms available for guest use.

   


 

Is smoking allowed on the Sierra DinnerTrain?

No. Federal regulations and regional fire codes prohibit smoking, even in the outdoor cars. 

  


 

 

Are discounts available for large groups?

Yes! Groups of 20 or more are eligible for discounted rates. Contact our group sales and special events manager to plan a great experience, and secure special pricing — call our reservations office at 1-800-866-1690.

 


 

Can I host my child’s birthday party on the Sierra DinnerTrain?

Yes! Kid-friendly events are one of our specialties, and any of these can be a great way to spend your child’s birthday. Any trip can be a great celebration: from the Great Train Robbery to the Christmas Train, there is always something fun rolling down the tracks.

 


 

Can I have a corporate event on the Sierra DinnerTrain?

Absolutely! Large company parties can schedule a special train trip to show employees appreciation, celebrate the holidays, or work on building up that team mentality. For smaller groups, consider reserving a private car for one of our already-scheduled trips. Get valuable insight and special pricing by calling our reservations office at 1 (800) 866-1690.

 


 

Can I rent out the entire train?

Yes, private charters may be arranged, upon request, for any day of the week depending upon availability.

 


 

 

Is the Sierra DinnerTrain wheelchair accessible?

Due to the historic nature of the train cars, however, there are some unique challenges for anyone with mobility restrictions to be aware of. Some of our cars have narrow hallways with 90 degree turns, and we cannot guarantee that personal chairs will fit. Additionally, some of our cars are upper level and have steep stairs at either end. That being said, we will make every effort to accommodate anyone wishing to ride the train. Please give us a call at 1.800.866.1690 to discuss further.

 


 

How many guests can the Sierra DinnerTrain accommodate?

The train has a maximum capacity of 300 guests. The maximum capacity may vary based on the experience.