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Vintage Train--and Wine--Ride the Rails

September 08, 1996

Passenger trains will ply the 90-mile route from Healdsburg to Willits, Calif., for the first time in nearly 38 years on special all-day excursions Oct 5-6 and 12-13.

The 11-car trains, including vintage stock from the '50s and '60s, will depart Healdsburg at 9 a.m., stop at Cloverdale, Hopland and Ukiah, and return at 6 p.m. The route provides views of the Russian River Canyon, wineries and the Mendocino coast mountain range.

Food and local wines and beers will be available onboard. Schedules for more weekend excursions through Thanksgiving may be available soon.

The Northwestern Pacific Railroad Authority, funded by the state and federal governments, wants eventually to restore passenger service from Petaluma and Santa Rosa north to Eureka and Arcata, according to Rebecca Smith of the Friends of the Northwestern Pacific Railroad. The last regularly scheduled passenger train on the Healdsburg-Willits route ran in November, 1958.

Basic round-trip fares, including breakfast and box lunch, are: $97, adults; $87, seniors, and $50, children. There is a waiting list for the $150 seats in domed cars. Reservations: (888) 473-3966 or (707) 874-0140.

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