Niles Canyon Railway Boarding Platform
in the Niles District of Fremont, CA
The Niles Canyon Railway is a “Museum on Wheels” that runs in Niles Canyon, formed by Alameda Creek, between the Niles District and Sunol, CA. It makes regular 13-mile round trips for visitors, in open and closed cars pulled by either diesel or steam engines, on most Sundays from February-October. See the 2017 schedule. During the Christmas season there are several night runs on the popular Christmas Train of Lights. Get your holiday tickets very early because they usually sell out! (note: Sales opened 9/16/17 and were sold completely out by 10/14/16. We just barely got our tickets for this year.)
The railway operates along the first transcontinental rail connection between San Francisco Bay and the rest of the nation. In September 1869, only four months after the Transcontinental railroad’s “joining of the rails” by pounding in a golden spike at Promontory Summit, Utah, this became the primary route for overland traffic to San Francisco (via Alameda & San Jose terminals) from Sacramento (via Stockton and Altamont Pass) and all points east. Travel time between the coasts was reduced from approximately four months (via wagon train or ship around South America) to less than a week by rail.
The Niles Canyon Railway Boarding Platform lies east across the tracks from the little town of Niles, CA. It’s a bit tricky to find so see the directions and map below or obtain more information from the Railway’s website. You can also get on at the other end in Sunol, CA, which has more departure times.
If you are enthusiastic in old railroads also check out the Niles Depot Railroad Museum, 37592 Niles Blvd (aka, Main Street) also shown below. It is usually open from 10 am-4 pm on Sundays and contains some model railroads and memorabilia.
DIRECTIONS to the Niles Canyon Railway Boarding Platform from the Niles Depot Railroad Museum, located on the main street of Niles at 37592 Niles Blvd, Fremont, CA. Go west 2 blocks on Niles Blvd and turn right (north) on Sullivan Underpass. Go one block and turn right (west) on Vallejo Way (before you get to Mission Blvd). Then make a very quick right turn (south) into a partially paved lot. At the south end of this small lot you will find the entrance to the Boarding Platform parking lot. From here turn left and drive east along the train tracks one block to the little boarding station house where you actually get on to the train.
- You can also get on the railroad at the Sunol end (6 Kilkare Road, Sunol). See details.
- Niles Canyon Road (Hwy 84), between Mission Rd and Sunol, is a nice little back road that follows the railroad track. You can even keep going, via Pleasanton-Sunol Rd, on to Pleasanton.
- Plans are in the works to extend the Niles Canyon Railway all the way to Pleasanton. You can ask one of the volunteers for details.