Rail – The Northern California Explorer – Feather River/Keddie/Lake Almanor/Bieber/Klamath Falls

This is a short post for Chico-area residents to remind you of a rare opportunity to take a remarkable train excursion on two routes that never have passenger service, and another that is normally not covered during the day by Amtrak.

What’s more, this trip is set up in such a way that it is exceptionally easy for residents from our area to board, without having to first get to the Bay Area where the train originates.

The Northern California Explorer leaves Emeryville at 2 p.m. on Friday, 3 June, and operates as far as Oroville where it “ties up”. Bay Area originating passengers will stay at local hotels, but Chico-area passengers can buy a ticket that begins in Oroville at 9 a.m. on Sat., 4 June. They park their cars at the Amtrak station in Chico and take a charter bus to the Oroville station to board the train.

From there this is a dream itinerary that runs up the Feather River canyon as far as the Keddie Junction, turning left (north) along the east shore of Lake Almanor, through Westwood, to Bieber (for the reenactment of the 1931 ceremony driving the golden spike for this route called the “Inside Gateway”), and on through rugged country as far as Klamath Falls, Ore. The Inside Gateway never had regularly scheduled passenger service and the last time an excursion train was operated over it was more than fifty years ago.)

Sunday, 5 June, the train leaves Klamath Falls headed south past Mt. Shasta and through Dunsmuir, then down the Sacramento River canyon and across Lake Shasta arriving in Chico at approximately 2 p.m. Chico passengers will detrain here, then the train continues back to Sacramento and Emeryville. While Klamath Falls to Chico is covered by Amtrak’s Coast Starlight, it is during the night. This is a rare opportunity to experience it during the daytime.

It’s seldom that a chance like this presents itself. I won’t be able to ride this excursion, because it takes place the same weekend as the Reno-Tahoe Odyssey running relay but that shouldn’t stop anyone else.

Take a look at the website and get inspired both by the train and the scenery! You’ll love the photos, and you’ll find a very detailed description of the route and activities taking place that weekend.

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