All aboard to build riding railroad in Truckee | SierraSun.com

All aboard to build riding railroad in Truckee

Special to the Sun

Truckee Donner Railroad Society volunteers Ed Larsen, Roger Skinner and Bob Bell prepare roadbed for the new “riding” railroad in Truckee River Regional Park.

A new railroad is coming to Truckee.

The Truckee Donner Railroad Society is laying track in the Regional Park for a miniature riding train. Sometime in August, rides of several laps around the children's playground lasting 5-10 minutes will begin.

During the ride, passengers will be treated to bits of safety and history and perhaps a tale or two from the engineer or conductor. Although exact dates are yet to be chosen, the Railroad plans to operate one Saturday and one Sunday of each month from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m.

Rides will be free but donations to cover expenses and help fund future growth will be welcomed. The railroad also plans to operate for private events for a fee.

A joint project of the Truckee Donner Regional Park District and the Truckee Donner Railroad Society, the railroad will be a family oriented activity. For younger kids an age-appropriate locomotive play structure will be located within the play area next year.

For initial operation, Railroad Society members will loan the necessary cars and locomotives to the railroad, taking them to the park for each day of operation. Funding has been provided through an ongoing fundraising campaign with a significant number of "in kind" donations from community businesses.

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Sufficient resources are now available to construct the initial Phase 1 track around the playground. As donations accumulate, the railroad will first purchase its own equipment, replacing the borrowed equipment and later construct a "station" for boarding and ticket sales and a weatherproof "snowshed" to house equipment when not in use.

Plans are in the works for a second phase, adding track out and back behind the baseball fields, which will more than double the length of the ride.

A community project like this cannot work without volunteers. You are needed!

There are openings for train operators (engineers, conductors, stationmasters and maintenance of way personnel). The Railroad Society will conduct a training and certification program.

And, of course, fund raising will continue.

Sponsors will be acknowledged in several ways, all permanently displayed even when the railroad is not operating. Depending on level, sponsors will be recognized with a plaque located at the station, naming rights for cars, equipment and features along the route.

If you are interested in participating as an operator or sponsor, contact Bob Bell at 530-582-0726 or BellBob@sbcglobal.net.

The Truckee-Donner Recreation & Park District's goal is to provide a family oriented entertainment and educational activity within the park at no cost to the community.

The Railroad Society's goal is to provide a fun vehicle promoting safety around trains and to acquaint the public with the society, its current museum operations, and to build support for its mission to establish and operate a full-size museum in Truckee. Visit http://www.truckeedonnerrailroadsociety.com.