Under vivid blue skies with a crisp breeze blowing, the train whistle blew at regular intervals through Oakdale on Sunday, April 17.
The Sierra DinnerTrain celebrated its grand reopening after a $1.5 million remodel of its cars in late 2015. The Grand ReOpening was a free community event that featured free 30minute train rides on the Sierra DinnerTrain’s newly renovated train cars, live music by Blue A Fuse, and free family entertainment including a bounce house, caricature artist, and balloon twister.
All 1000 free tickets for the grand reopening event were reserved in a single day when the festivities were announced, so three additional trains were added to the schedule to accommodate demand.
Train rides ran on Sunday at 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m., and 4:30 p.m.
The Sierra DinnerTrain’s historic train set underwent a full remodel in preparation for expansion plans in 2016. This month, the DinnerTrain kicks off a new train schedule featuring more consistently scheduled trains and a brand new signature excursion: High Noon Express.
The High Noon Express is a two-and-a-half hour train ride featuring a guided historic tour through the wide open countryside of the Central Valley. The trip will run every Saturday at noon and has been named for the Academy awardwinning movie, High Noon, which was filmed on the Sierra Railroad.
“This 118year-old railroad is a piece of American history. Our goal is to preserve this venue to share for a whole new generation of train enthusiasts,” said Chris Hart, President of Sierra DinnerTrain.
The interior of the train cars were completely “reimagined,” said officials, harkening back to the proud legacy of passenger rail travel.
“We’ve selected timeless fabrics, tininspired ceilings, and luxurious wallpapers for the interiors,” said Rashael Parker, Chief Marketing Officer. “The exterior of the entire stock has been repainted in a traditional Gold and Blue breathing new life into the town of Oakdale’s landscape.”
The Sierra DinnerTrain operates on the third oldest rail line in North America. The surrounding countryside has been a choice location for a vast and abundant film legacy. Offering a unique venue for dining and family excursions, the Sierra DinnerTrain hosts yearround experiences for train lovers of all ages.
Along with the new ‘High Noon Express’ train, the Oakdale-based excursion line offers Scenic Lunch, Murder Mystery Train, Beer Train, Champagne Brunch and holiday-themed trips: Easter Egg Express, Valentine’s Day Trains, Thanksgiving Train and the Magical Christmas Train.