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Could anyone tell me when the last passenger train rolled into Santa Rosa. I assume NWP and I thought I read, a while back, that it was a mixed train.  Possibly in 1950's?

I will appreciate any reply.


Richard H.

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A black widow GP9 with a mixed assortment of passenger cars sitting in front of the Santa Rosa depot, circa 1997: I know that a few of those 1990s excursions started in Santa Rosa, and possibly Petaluma at one point, but the majority were out of Healdsburg. Regular passenger service's last call at Santa Rosa I do not know.

Passenger train as in scheduled event or an excursion train which would have been a special event paid in advance train out of SR.  

I too would like to know who/what sponsored and then scheduled these passenger trains.  The rail RoW was still active thru Healdsburg in the 1990's when I was picking up grapes in the region.

As for regular passenger appears the date would be 9 November 1958.  NWP continued operating its overnight trains to Eureka up until 2 June 1956, when it was retired and replaced with the Redwood (Trains 3 and 4), which made a triweekly run between San Rafael and Eureka.  Ridership plummeted, and NWP received permission to end the Redwood on 8 November 1958, with the stipulation the company must continue the Willits to Eureka run.  It appears the Redwood made its last run the following day.  Trains continued on the Willits to Eureka run until May 1959, when the Budd car #10 took over.  That operation lasted until the creation of Amtrak at the end of April 1971.

There have been periodic excursions operated out of or passing through Santa Rosa since then, but 1958 would have been it for any regular service.

Jeff Moore

Elko, NV 

Yes it was in the 50's. i dont know exactly when though.


You have been asking some of the types of questions that I have been as a member of this group.  FYI some of the cars included in the shot photo posted by Chad are strung along different spurs along the line including Healdsburg,  Asti and of course Willits where 3850 resides or did reside.

There is some info in this article in the 2011 Press Democrat:

The last time I went by that location this spring there were still 2 cars there.

Thanks to everyone and especially Jeff Moore. Yes, I thought I did read, somewhere , that 1958 was the last year for a passenger train in Santa Rosa. Was this a mixed train? It's funny, I grew up in Sebastopol in the late 40's and 50's and I never knew there was passenger service, to Santa Rosa, up until 1958. I think the only trains I ever saw were freight trains, especially through downtown Sebastopol.

Another question, roughly speaking, how many tunnels will the SMART train go through when it eventually runs from Larkspur to Cloverdale?


Richard- No, it was not a mixed train.  Probably the main reason you don't remember passenger trains in the area in the '40s and '50s is that they ran only at night.  Daylight service did not come until the Redwood started up on 2 June 1956.  It's usual consist was a single SD-9, a baggage car, and two streamlined SP passenger coaches (#2427 and #2201).  Additional passenger coaches could be added for the rare heavier crowds, which really only ever happened on some weekends.  By the end the train ran more often than not with just the baggage car and one coach.

Passenger service into Sebastopol would have been provided by the Petaluma & Santa Rosa, and it quit the passenger business (save for a few railfan trips in the '40s) effective the last day of June 1932.  Interesting, I spent part of my early youth out at Bodega Bay in the late 1970s/early 1980s, and was around for the "Save The Train Down Main" campaign attempting to preserve the remaining P&SR as a tourist railroad.  I have a few vague but fond memories of watching an SP "crud" with a caboose and a couple boxcars parting traffic through town...longest train we ever saw was three boxcars.  I also remember watching Santa arrive by train a time or two.  Shortly after the railroad quit we moved to northeastern California, I discovered the McCloud River, and that was that...  

As for tunnels, the answer should be two, Tunnel 3 just south of San Rafael and Tunnel 4 just north of there.  Tunnel 5 lies north of Cloverdale. 

Jeff Moore

Elko, NV


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