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Niles Canyon Railway
A railroad museum where the exhibits come to life!
HomeTrain of Lights

2014 Train of Lights

Bring your entire family on an enchanting holiday excursion!

Trains run every Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday during the holiday season.

Fares

  • General Seating tickets are $25 each, ages 3 to 113.
  • Children age 2 and younger ride free if they will be sitting on a parent’s lap (except on the Reserved Holiday Club Lounge).

Boarding Times

You can pick up your tickets from the station 60 minutes before departure, and boarding begins 30 minutes before the train departs. The Niles train will depart at 4:30 PM., the Sunol train will depart at 7:30 PM. Trains leave on time. The Niles departure is at dusk so you may enjoy the scenery through the canyon, the decorations and lights inside the cars on the first half of the journey, and then on the second half or the trip be mesmerized by millions of lights on the outside of the train.

There will be two special cars with Reserved Seating. These tickets are $40 per seat. One car is the ATSF 505 Dome Car with swivel seats in the upper level glass dome for an unparalleled canyon view and a cozy lounge with attendant. The other car is the Golden Gate Railroad Museum SP 2979 Lounge Car. This is a First Class experience in this beautifully restored and appointed vintage Parlor Car with car attendant. (NOTE: All riders in the Lounge Car need a ticket, including infants. Read the Holiday Club Lounge FAQ.)

Frequently-Asked Questions

Do children need a ticket?

Everyone on the Reserved Holiday Club lounge needs a ticket, including infants. For General Seating, and for the Reserved Observation Dome, everyone age three or older needs a ticket. However, infants and children under age three do not need a ticket if they are sitting on a lap. If your infant will take up a seat, then your infant will need a ticket.

Are tickets refundable?

No. This is a fundraiser. The tickets are not refundable. However, you may be able to exchange your tickets for tickets on another train (based on limited availability). Our holiday trains are often sold out in advance, so there may not be a sufficient number of tickets on another train available for an Order Transfer. To inquire about an Order Transfer, contact the Station Agent at (510) 996-8420. There is a fee of $20.00 for each Order Transfer. If the day that you want is sold out, you may check in with the station agent on the evening of the train you prefer and get on the waiting list for that train.

What time should I arrive at the depot?

Arrive early, because our trains leave on time. Boarding begins about 30 minutes before the scheduled departure time. Please be at the depot and parked no less than 30 minutes before departure. If you need assistance in boarding, you should plan to arrive earlier, and mention your need to the train crew or depot/station agents when you arrive. We will seat special needs people before our other passengers if they have arrived early enough for this.

Remember, when you arrive at the station, you will need to show your ID at the Ticket Window at the station to pick up your souvenir tickets prior to boarding the train.

Where do I park?

There is parking at both Sunol and Niles adjacent to the boarding area. Large vehicles will have to park further away.

  • Niles: 37001 Mission Boulevard, Fremont, at the corner of Mission and Sullivan Underpass. We will have parking near our train platform in Niles this year. It is accessible only from Mission Blvd, NOT from Niles Blvd. in Niles. There is limited ADA parking so have your placard visible when you arrive. There will not be buses this year from Niles Blvd to our boarding platform. You are not allowed to walk across the tracks from Niles Blvd to our platform because it is illegal and dangerous in the dark. Amtrak trains pass through there at 40 MPH, quietly. Please, think about safety, and don't cross the tracks!
  • Sunol: 6 Kilkare Road, Sunol. It is easy to get lost on the dark country roads around Sunol if you are not familiar with the area. Please check the route ahead of time. We will have signs in Sunol, and there will be parking attendants directing cars into our parking areas. We have limited ADA spaces so have your placard visible for the attendant to see when you arrive. Large pick-ups and RVs need to park at the Sunol Glen School a block away.

Where do I pick up my tickets?

Bring your confirmation page or photo ID to the ticket window of the station at least half an hour before departure. Check your departure station before leaving home so you go to the correct location. We cannot determine if wrong depot arrivals can be accommodated until all ticketed passengers have boarded. Wrong depot departures may be standing room only if we can accommodate you and there will be a $20.00 exchange fee.

Where do I board the train?

Boarding will normally start 30 minutes before the train departs. You can begin picking up your tickets from the Ticket Window an hour before your train departs.

  • Niles: 37001 Mission Boulevard, Fremont, at the corner of Mission and Sullivan Underpass. We will have parking near our train platform in Niles this year and attendants to help you park. It is accessible only from Mission Blvd, not from Niles Blvd. There will not be buses this year between Niles Blvd and our train boarding area. You are not allowed to walk across the tracks from Niles to our platform. Amtrak trains come through there at 40 MPH, quietly. Please, think about safety and don't cross the tracks!
  • Sunol: 6 Kilkare Road, Sunol. It is easy to get lost on the dark country roads around Sunol if you are not familiar with the area. Please check the route ahead of time. We will have signs on Main Street in Sunol, and there will be parking attendants directing cars into our parking areas.

How long is the train ride?

The 13-mile round trip takes a little over an hour.

May we get off at the other end?

No, because the train merely pauses for a safety brake test and then immediately begins the return trip.

Are the trains wheelchair accessible?

The ADA accommodations are on designated cars. Wheelchairs may not move about the train due to the narrow aisles of the antique equipment. If you have a wheelchair or someone in need of special assistance, please mention this in the comments section when you purchase your tickets. You can check with the Station Agent in advance by calling (510) 996-8420. We do not view the Comments portion of the ticketing site until our manifests are printed the afternoon of the train.

Can I bring a stroller on the train?

Baby strollers are discouraged. The aisles of the vintage cars are narrow, there is limited space in the vestibules of the coaches to park them and the train will be crowded. Plan to leave your strollers in your car.

Will our large group be able to sit together?

Saving seats for passengers who are not present is not permitted. All $25 tickets are General Seating. There are no saved seats (except for the handicap-accessible seats). There are no guarantees that a group will be able to sit together, unless you are ticketed in a Reserved Seating Car. You can increase your chances of sitting together if you arrive early and board as a group. If you arrive together and form up as a group before boarding, the Car Host (when available) will attempt to seat you together as much as possible.

Can I save a seat if someone in our group is running late?

No. Seats can not be saved for late arrivals. If a group wants to sit together they should all arrive early enough and board the train together. Our trains depart on time. Everyone is strongly encouraged to arrive early.

How can our group ride in the caboose?

We will have two cabooses on the 4:30 Niles/Fremont train and one caboose on the 7:30 Sunol train available for private parties. The cost is $600, and can accommodate up to 24 adults. Follow this link to reserve a caboose;

4:30 PM Caboose departing from Niles, or 7:30 PM Caboose departing from Sunol.

There are 2 small tables on board for your food and beverages. There is no access to the regular train during the ride. Please visit our porta-potties in the parking lot before boarding. You will have a docent from the railroad riding in the caboose with you to answer your questions about the train and the railroad and to help everyone have a safe ride. We ask that an adult be stationed by the ladders going up to the cupola while children are climbing up and down. There is open steel grating outside the doors of the caboose so high-heeled shoes are not advised.

What if it rains?

Trains run in any weather. There are NO refunds if it rains. There is no guarantee of an inside seat, so please be prepared for inclement weather and dress appropriately. Everyone should allow more time to get to the depot and park during bad weather.

Are there refreshments available on the train?

Yes. Hot drinks, juice, and snacks are available for purchase on board the train at the Commissary Counter. You are welcome to bring your own refreshments with you. If you are reserving a caboose, you will not be able to get to the Commissary Counter on the main train.

What should I bring?

Bring large doses of good cheer and any protective clothing you may need against the weather. Bring drinks and snacks if you want to. While we don't often have rain, it is frequently cold. A small flashlight may be useful to help you move safely between your vehicle and the train.

Can I charter an entire train?

Probably, depending on the date. Contact the Station Agent at 510-996-8420 for rates and availability.

Who do I contact for more information?

Contact the Station Agent or visit the ticket office at Sunol station during our regular Sunday train operations.