The day we went on the Napa Wine Train trip from Napa to St. Helena and back was special for two reasons …. it was my wife’s Birthday and it was also by chance the 25 year anniversary of the Napa Wine Train. So there were speeches, passengers dressed up in period costume, a 93 year old ex-engineer who came along and a gift of commemorative wine glasses for all passengers. The atmosphere was therefore very good to start with and after a few glasses of wine onboard was even better!
The Napa Valley Wine Train provides a relaxing three-hour, thirty-six mile round-trip journey from the historic town of Napa, California, through one of the world’s most well known wine valleys to the quaint village of St. Helena, and back.
Guests aboard the Wine Train enjoy a freshly prepared lunch or dinner inside a fully restored 1915-1917 Pullman Dining Car or 1952 Vista Dome car as they pass the vineyards and wineries of Napa Valley. They also have the option of pre-purchasing a winery tour.
The Napa Valley Wine Train’s tracks were originally built in the 1860s to bring guests to the hot spring resort town of Calistoga. While the track to Calistoga no longer exists, much of the rest of the route of the Napa Valley Wine Train is unchanged. The tracks run through the heart of the world famous wine region. During the three hour journey, guests can see five towns; Napa, Yountville, Oakville, Rutherford, and St. Helena; and numerous wineries through the large picture windows on board.
The Napa Valley Wine Train begins its journey at the McKinstry Street Station in Napa. The Train then travels north to St. Helena, where the locomotive disconnects from the north facing side of the Train and reconnects to the south facing side of the Train in preparation for the return journey. Currently, the Napa Valley Wine Train stops at different locations depending on the day of the week. Guests are only allowed to disembark at these locations if they have pre-purchased one of the Winery Tours.
Luke, 93 years young, was an ex-engineer on the train so he showed up to celebrate the 25 year anniversary. He reminded me of TV series character Casey Jones. There was also a group of 3 ladies dressed in Victorian style dress and speaking to them I found out that they used to do fashion shows on the train. These characters really added to the nostalgic atmosphere on the train.