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(800) 866-1690

Skunk Train

UPCOMING EVENTS

See our West Sacramento sister train schedule at SacRiverTrain.com

The view from our restored rail cars remains largely unchanged since the late 1800s. Regardless of your departure point, you'll see nature, virtually un-tamed, getting a sense of Northern California's natural beauty, even before humans arrived to develop the land.

 

Departing from Fort Bragg, the first few miles run alongside the Pudding Creek estuary, where common wildlife sightings include blue heron, egrets, osprey, ducks, and the occasional lounging turtle. After passing through Tunnel No. 1, the Skunk Train snakes its way along the Noyo River, zig-zagging through the redwood-thick Noyo River Canyon.

 

Departing from Willits and traveling to Northspur, your train will climb the Eastern slope of the California Coast Range, cutting through it at Tunnel No. 2 (Summit) before descending into the Noyo River Canyon. This is the mountainous part of our railroad line, in which 8.5 miles of track cover a straight-line distance of less than one mile.

 

Come see the Skunk in its natural habitat. 

Our beginning

Built as a logging railroad in 1885 by Charles R. Johnson, the “Redwood Route™” was a logical vehicle for moving massive redwood logs to Mendocino coast sawmills from the rugged backcountry. The train played a vital role during this t ime in transporting families and workers who set up the various logging camps along the route and in doing so, became an entirely different type of line. It played an important part not only in the area's industrial life, but also in its social and cultural activities. No other logging railroad in America has made the deep impression on American life that was created by the line from Fort Bragg – first by the natural beauty of its route and later, by the distinctiveness of its equipment. Skunk Train's Motorcar M80 in the 1950s

 

“Smells like a skunk!”

The nickname “Skunk” originated in 1925, when motorcars were introduced (today sometimes referred to as railbuses or railcruisers). These single unit, self-propelled motorcars had gasoline-powered engines for power and pot-bellied stoves burning crude oil to keep the passengers warm. The combination of the fumes created a very pungent odor, and the old timers living along the line said these motorcars were like skunks, “You could smell them before you could see them.”

 

The caretakers

California Western Railroad was initially operated as a division of the Fort Bragg mill (Union Lumber Company, Boise-Cascade). In the mid-1960s, Arizona-based Kyle Railways began managing the railroad and purchased it in 1987. In August 1996, a group comprised entirely of local Mendocino Coast investors purchased California Western, marking the first time in its 111-year history that the line would be operated as an independent business. Today the Skunk Train is owned and operated by Mendocino Railway.

Skunk Train — Fort Bragg Depot

Foot of Laurel Street, Fort Bragg, CA 95437

 


Skunk Train — Willits Depot

299 East Commercial, Willits, CA 95488



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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?

You may call to cancel or reschedule any 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.