Excursion train to visit Plumas County

Feather Publishing

A rare excursion train, the Northern California Explorer, will head out Friday, June 3, for a great loop journey through some of the most awesome terrain California has to offer.

This three-day, two-night railroad experience is an exceptional opportunity for absorbing California railroad history as well as for seeing first-hand Northern California’s majestic wonders of nature and geology.

Use of the excursion train has been requested by several rail related organizations for several years, but owner BNSF Railway has turned down each request. Now, after many requests, the BNSF has finally decided to allow the nonprofit Central Coast Railway Club from Santa Clara to run the train one time only.

It has been over 50 years since a public excursion train has operated on the Plumas County area Highline section of this route between Keddie and Bieber. This Highline section’s historical importance makes the trip all the more special.

Departing from Emeryville at 2 p.m. for Oroville, the first leg of the trip, the train will stop to pick up passengers at Richmond, Martinez, Davis and Sacramento. On the first night of the excursion, passengers will be lodged in local hotels and motels of the Oroville and Chico areas.

The Northern California Explorer will depart the next day, Saturday, June 4, from Oroville at 9 a.m., climbing eastbound into the Feather River Canyon and High Sierra on an incredible day’s journey to Klamath Falls. The morning light will allow wonderful views of Lake Oroville. Sights along the Feather River Canyon up to Keddie should be marvelous, as the heavy snowmelt has filled the Feather River and all of the canyon reservoirs.

Highlights of Saturday’s journey will include: spectacular views of Lake Almanor and Lassen Peak as the rails run along a ledge overlooking the lake and volcano; remote regions of dense and rarely seen forests; views from a natural rock shelf almost a thousand feet above the Pit River; and breathtaking views of Mount Shasta, Lava Beds National Monument and the Tule Lake Wildlife Refuge, where many birds and water fowl should be in view.

Saturday night, passengers will stay in local Klamath Falls lodgings and rise early for an 8 a.m. departure. Sunday, June 5, the Northern California Explorer departs Klamath Falls to travel south for views of the massive 14,162-foot Mount Shasta, best seen from the dome cars.

After passing Black Butte and the city of Mount Shasta, the train winds down into the Sacramento River Canyon for its return to Chico, scheduled for 2 p.m., with passenger stops at Sacramento, Davis, Martinez and Richmond before arrival back in Emeryville at 6:30 p.m.

Folks who wish to ride the Northern California Explorer excursion train should make their reservations soon, as it is filling quickly both in premium and coach classes. There are a variety of prices being offered on several different private rail cars including dome cars, lounge cars and coaches.

Round-trip from Emeryville to Klamath Falls is $448 in coach. A special Oroville package, priced at $398, is being offered for passengers that would like to join the excursion on Saturday.

That package includes parking at the Chico Amtrak Station, where a charter bus will transfer Excursion passengers to the Oroville train station for the 9 a.m. boarding. For a full range of prices and availability, visit or call (800) 359-4870.


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