Kids’ train doubles track

Truckee Donner Railroad Society is completing an additional 1,000 feet of new track for the kids’ train this month, which will more than double the amount of track.

These free popular train rides are in the Truckee River Regional Park behind the skateboard park. The trains run bi-weekly on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The next run this month is on Aug. 19. See Events in each edition of Tahoe Weekly for the schedule.

Since the railroad opened in 2014, the trains have been well received with between 200 and 450 riders each operating day. Two trains — one pulled by a real steam engine and one pulled by a reproduction of a Union Pacific diesel locomotive — run through a reproduction of the old Sierra summit, wooden snow sheds and circled the playground. With the addition of this track, riders will enjoy an additional loop through the trees just north of the playground.

“Our volunteer work force has been working the last two summers, and we are 95 percent complete with just some leveling and testing left to complete,” says train master Bob Bell. “We hope to have our first public run on the track expansion by Labor Day. We have several more projects planned for next year to enhance the venue and make the operations more volunteer friendly.”

The railroad has a group of willing volunteers, but more are needed. Volunteering is a fun experience and the rewards are the smiles on the faces of the kids and adults. Seven or eight volunteers are needed to run the trains each operating day. Those interested in being an engineer, conductor, ticket issuer or railroad builder can send an e-mail to [email protected]

Although the train rides are free, donations are appreciated. The last run of the season is on Oct. 1. | or Truckee Donner Railroad Society on Facebook.

– Jerry Blackwill