Niles Canyon Railway

From TrainSpottingWorld, for Rail fans everywhere
A Christmas Train of Lights in 2006.

The Niles Canyon Railway is a heritage railway running through Niles Canyon, from Sunol to Fremont in the East Bay of the San Francisco Bay Area, in California, USA. It restores and operates historic railroad equipment, and runs tourist excursions with both steam and diesel locomotives along its track.


The Niles Canyon Railway operates along a former Southern Pacific Railroad right-of-way from Oakland to Tracy. Southern Pacific abandoned its operations through the canyon in 1984, and deeded the land to Alameda County.

The Pacific Locomotive Association began working to restore the track in 1987, and the Niles Canyon Railway ran its first passenger train along the line on May 21 1988. Since that time, the organization has worked to extend and expand the amount of track along the line, and restore its increasing collection of locomotives and other railroad equipment. museum for the benefit of the general public.

Rail excursions

Train of Lights, 2006.

The railway runs tourist excursions on Sundays year-round, usually every week during the summer and less frequently during the winter. Several trips are run, generally alternating between steam locomotives and diesel locomotives, with both open and enclosed passenger cars.

Group charters are also available, from a single caboose to an entire train. During the Christmas period, special "Train of Lights" trips run.[1]

At the western end of the line in Fremont, the Niles Depot Museum displays railroad artifacts owned by the Pacific Locomotive Association. Future plans for restoration of the historic Sunol Depot also include interpretive educational displays.

Railroad equipment

The Pacific Locomotive Association has 10 steam and 13 diesel locomotives, and over 40 other pieces of rolling stock.

Notable steam locomotives

Name Status Type Builder Date Link
Quincy Railroad No. 2 Operational 2-6-2T American Locomotive Company 1924 [2]
Robert Dollar Co. No. 3 Operational 2-6-2T American Locomotive Company 1927 [3]
Sierra Railway No. 30 Stored (disassembled) 2-6-2 Baldwin Locomotive Works 1922 [4]
Pickering Lumber No. 12 Stored 3T Shay Lima Locomotive Works 1903 [5]
Clover Valley Lumber No. 4 Stored 2-6-6-2T Baldwin Locomotive Works 1924 [6]
Pickering Lumber No. 5 Stored 3T Heisler Heisler Locomotive Works 1913 [7]
Southern Pacific 1269 Stored 0-6-0 Southern Pacific Railroad 1921 [8]
Southern Pacific 2467 On loan to CSRM 4-6-2 Baldwin Locomotive Works 1921 [9]
Pickering Lumber No. 1 Stored (rusty) 3-truck Heisler Heisler Locomotive Works 1913 [10]

Notable diesel locomotives

Name Status Builder / Model Date Link
Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe 462 Stored GE 44-ton switcher 1943 [11]
Oakland Terminal Railway 101 Stored serviceable Baldwin DS-4-4-1000 1948 [12]
Southern Pacific 1218 Under restoration ALCO S-6 1955 [13]
Southern Pacific 1423 Operational EMD NW2 1949 [14]
Southern Pacific 5472 Operational EMD SD9 1956 [15]
Southern Pacific 5623 Operational EMD GP9 "torpedo boat" 1955 [16]
U.S. Army 1856 Stored FM H-10-44 1953 [17]
U.S. Army 7348 Under restoration GE 65-ton switcher 1942 [18]
Western Pacific 713 Operational EMD GP7 1953 [19]
Western Pacific 918D Operational EMD F7 1950 [20]

See also

External links