On the Sacramento River Train

Around 10 o’clock my brother Marty and I headed out to Woodland to board the Sacramento River Train for a Sunday brunch excursion.  I see the train sitting on the tracks almost every day when I got to work, but I’d never been on it before.  There were only about 20 cars in the parking lot by the time we boarded, and everyone fit in the same dining car onboard the train.  It was actually a very comfortable car with velvet padded seats and air conditioning; and every table with a window seat.  Our brunch included unlimited mimosas and coffee, Danish, a fruit cup, a breakfast platter with scrambled eggs covered in cheese, sausages and bacon, and potatoes fried up with onions and green peppers.  Then they also gave us t slice of their Golden Spike Cheesecake: a light fluffy cheesecake with caramel and chocolate drizzled over it, topped off with dollop of whipped cream and crushed walnuts.  Very yummy.  Between the mimosas and the rocking of train, both Marty and I could have gone to sleep… but we stayed awake to see some of the views from the train.  This trip took us mostly through farmland on a route that was used in the 1800’s to bring farm goods from Yolo County into Sacramento. We saw acres of tomatoes and walnuts for the most part, but there were a few views of the river, too.

All of the women on the train got a rose in the return trip… and while we were sitting in the closed-in observation car — (There is also an open-air one that we visited for a little bit but it got too hot out there.) — one of the hostesses found this thing fluttering against a window.  I thought at first it was a bird, but she said it was a “ginormous dragonfly”, and asked if I could help her get it back outside.  So, I caught it — and it bit me a few times with its hard little pincer-mouth — and we took some photos before I set it on my thumb and held my hand out the window.  It sat there for a while and then flitted off.  The hostess said, “That HAS to be good luck for you.”  That would be nice.

Chris (Christopher G. Hart, President) the guy who runs the whole thing, acted as porter and server on the train, and also gave us little bits of information along the way.  He had a photo on his phone of one of the trips during the early spring when the Yolo Basin was still full of water, and he said the views are better then. So, we might try to go again then…  and there’s supposed to be a “Zombie Train” and a Thanksgiving Dinner Train coming up this Fall…  It was a super-relaxing way to spend the day. I enjoyed it.

“…The Sacramento River Train runs east from Woodland (20 miles east of Sacramento) to West Sacramento along the Sacramento River and through rich agricultural land and the Yolo Wildlife Refuge. A highlight of the 28-mile excursion is crossing the Fremont Bridge, an 8,000-foot wooden trestle, considered by some to be the longest in the West. Pulled by a diesel locomotive, the Sacramento River Train features two dining cars, club car, concession car, and two open-air cars that offer passengers a relaxing and a unique vantage point to enjoy the scenery… The Burrard Car, an open-platform car built in 1954, was operated by Canadian National Railways especially for tour groups until retired from service in 1990. The luxury coach was once used by Queen Elizabeth during her visit to Canada, and later by Princess Margaret in her train tour of Canada. The Burrard is now available for charter through the Sacramento River Train, either along their local railroad route or as part of an Amtrak train bound for almost any destination they serve. The private car can accommodate up to 15 passengers and features a rear observation platform, observation areas, comfortable sleeping accommodations, dining room, a full galley, and bathroom with shower…”  Hmmmmm….

The whole trip took a little over 3 hours.

A short video of Marty on the train.