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The Napa Valley Wine Train is a restaurant and short line railroad which runs through the heart of the Napa Valley, a famous wine making region and culinary epicenter one hour north of San Francisco, California. The Wine Train's rail line begins in the town of Napa and ends in St. Helena, where the Train turns around. This California train offers guests great regional food and fabulous, hard-to-find wines, winery tours, on board wine tastings, and celebrity winemaker dinners.
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The History of the Napa Valley Railroad

The Napa Valley Railroad was established in 1864 by Samuel Brannan, a San Francisco millionaire, as a way to transport guests to his spa resort "Calistoga." Tragically, he was forced to sell the railroad shortly after it started. In 1885, Southern Pacific bought the rail line for the transportation of passengers and freight up and down the valley. This rail line proved to be instrumental in the agricultural and economic development of the Napa Valley. In 1873, C.A. Menefee, a newspaper editor, recognized the railroad's importance stating that, "...nothing yet has done so much to call forth the latent resources of the County, and increase her wealth and population, as the railroad." Sadly, with the invention of the automobile, freight and passenger train service dwindled and eventually stopped altogether.

By 1984, Southern Pacific decided to abandon the rail line and sell the property. A group of concerned Napa citizens purchased the right of way in 1987 hoping to preserve the transportation corridor and reduce highway congestion. This group of citizens, along with a gentleman from San Francisco, Vincent DeDomenico, started what is now known as the Napa Valley Wine Train. Currently, DeDomenico's family still runs the Wine Train.

The Napa Valley Wine Train

The Rail Line

The Napa Valley Wine Train is pulled along the 25 miles of track at around 12-18 miles per hour by one of two engine couples. The Napa Valley Wine Train runs three ALCO FPA- 4 Diesel Locomotives and one ALCO that has been fully converted to compressed natural gas. The dining and lounge cars are lavishly restored 1915-1917 Pullman cars. Before joining the Wine Train fleet, many of the cars were part of the Denver Ski Train, which transported skiers to resorts around Denver. The 1952 Vista Dome car was one of only ten made by Pullman that year. Before joining with the Wine Train, this car was part of the Princes California Sun Express and was also a part of Amtrack.

Take a Ride and Revisit Railroad History

Today, The DeDomenico family hopes the Wine Train will not only showcase the beautiful and cultural valley that it runs through, but that it will also serve as a reminder of a rich part of American history that is disappearing from our nation's landscape. It is important that these antique trains remain in service. Once the train stops running and the tracks are lost, a living piece of American history will be gone forever.

Napa Valley Railroad Jobs

The Napa Valley Wine Train employs a wide range of job types from engineers to locomotive mechanics to accountants. Wire Train jobs allow the individual to grow his/her skill set and provides career growth. If you are interested in working at the Wine Train, please visit the employment section on their web site.

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