Canyon Railway a blast from the past

SUNOL -- Nestled in Niles Canyon, the community of Sunol is home to a bit of railroad history. Hosting Sunday excursions, The Niles Canyon Railway offers passengers an opportunity to enjoy the scenery as they travel six miles along a route that once was the original extension of the First Transcontinental Railroad connecting Sacramento to San Francisco.

Spring brings the fruits of nature to the railroad trip as guests embark on a journey where enjoying the wildflowers that dot the hillsides is paired with the enjoyment of tasting the fruits of the land. Local wineries present wine offerings on Sundays through the end of May. On Memorial Day weekend, the Railway will present Canyon Run Steam excursions, where visitors can take a trip back in time by climbing aboard a vintage steam train.

Departing from the Sunol Depot, which was built in 1884 and is the last surviving example of a Southern Pacific standard design depot known as a "One-Story Combination Depot #7," the Niles Canyon Railway trains offer enclosed coach travel, open air seating and covered open cars for a variety of traveling options. Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis on all Sunday train trips.

Sunday afternoon train trips through Niles Canyon can be topped off with a picnic lunch at the Sunol Community Park. Located right across the street from the Sunol Depot, this community park is complete with an arbor/bandstand, bocce ball court, horseshoe pitch, walking path and several picnic areas, including barbecue grills, which may be of good use after working up an appetite riding the rails.

Bee assistant librarian Karen Aiello can be reached at or 578-2370.