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Sierra Railroad can call the 'Skunk Train' its own

The third-oldest North American railroad has completed its purchase of the second oldest. Sierra Railroad Co. now owns California Western Railroad Co. or the "Skunk Train."

On May 1, Sierra plans to reopen the 118-year-old Skunk, which was closed in September following a bankruptcy proceeding. The 49-mile short line will operate two tourist train lines: a Fort Bragg-to-Mendocino Coast line will offer a 3.5-hour trip through the Noyo River Canyon, mountains and California's redwood forest beginning May 1; a Fort Bragg-to-Willits line will offer a 90-minute trip into the coastal mountain range and through a tunnel to the redwood forest beginning June 26.

Named after the pungent odor its early gasoline-powered cars emitted, the Skunk operated along the "Redwood Route" between Fort Bragg and Willits, crossing 30 bridges and trestles, and passing through two deep mountain tunnels.

Sierra Railroad offers freight-rail, dinner train, and track maintenance and repair services; diesel and steam locomotive excursions; and moviemaking accommodations. In addition to the Skunk Train, the railroad operates the Sierra Railroad Dinner Train and Sacramento River Train.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 4/22/2004