Sierra Railroad

Sierra Railroad is a pioneer in the energy, freight, and passenger rail industries. With Sierra Energy, Sierra Northern Railway, Mendocino’s Skunk Train, Sacramento’s River Fox Train, and Ventura’s Sunburst Train, we embody the essential spirit of California, our home since the 1800s: bridging history with sustainability, connectivity, innovation, and growth while providing valuable services to California’s businesses and helping craft memorable experiences for its residents and visitors alike.

Listen to The Sierra that is dedicated to the Sierra Railroad Company.  Written by Patrick Michael Karnahan and performed by the Black Irish.

Sierra Northern Railway (SERA)

Sierra Northern Railway provides rail and intermodal freight transportation and transloading across Northern and Central California, serving a wide variety of businesses located in our state’s prime industrial areas and interchanging with both BNSF Railway and Union Pacific Railroad.

Mendocino Railway

Mendocino Railway is a Class III common carrier that operates both freight and passenger service. It owns the assets of the California Western Railroad (CWR) / Skunk Train that has been operating through the redwood forest of Northern California’s Mendocino County since 1885. Additionally, it operates the Sacramento RiverTrain / River Fox Train located on the banks of the Sacramento River traveling through the farmlands of Yolo County. In 2023 Mendocino Railway launched into operations on the Santa Paula Branch Line in Ventura County with the Sunburst operation.

Skunk Train

Operated by Mendocino Railway

The California Western Railroad / Skunk Train is a heritage railroad that winds through Northern California’s redwood forests and has provided freight and passenger service to the businesses and people of Mendocino County since 1885. Initially created to transport redwood logs to from the rugged back country to coastal sawmills, the Skunk Train has become a beloved institution touted as one of the “10 Best Rail Tours in the Country” (USA Today) and a “Top 10 Family Activity in California” (National Geographic Traveler). The Skunk Train covers 40 miles of scenic delights, including 30 bridges and two tunnels. Today, the railroad retains its original charm – minus the pungent smell that its engines used to emit, which once caused residents to say you could “Smell the Skunk before you could see it.” The Skunk Train operates year-round, providing riders with a multigenerational experience (with room even for the family dog).

Mendocino Railway operates non-excursion passenger and common carrier freight service over the California Western Railroad (CWR).

River Fox Train

Operated by Mendocino Railway

Built in 1911 by the Northern Electric Company, the River Fox Train’s tracks originally transported passengers in the Sacramento area. Electric rail passenger travel ended in 1941 but the line remained active with freight rail transportation, creating a link between Sacramento Valley’s fertile farmlands and the rest of California. In 2003, Sierra Railroad merged with the Yolo Shortline, continuing to provide freight transportation and reviving passenger trains via what is today known as the River Fox Train. From events like our Railbike rides, relaxing beer and wine trains, and holiday-themed outings, passengers can enjoy activities while reveling in nostalgic railroad charm.


Operated by Mendocino Railway

The Southern Pacific Railroad constructed the Santa Paula Branch Line in 1887 as a standard-gauge railroad, continuing to use the line until the 1950s to haul citrus from packing houses to communities along the Santa Clara River. The Ventura County Transportation Commission purchased the line from Southern Pacific in 1995 and for many years rented the line to the Fillmore and Western Railway for excursion trains and film shoots. Sierra Northern Railway and Mendocino Railway now provide freight and passenger operations over the line, which is now known as the Ventura Sunburst.

Sierra Energy

Sierra Energy is committed to a zero-waste future through its development of FastOx® gasification, a technology that turns unwanted trash into clean energy without burning or process emissions. The company continues to advance its technology and test new applications for gasification at its Sierra Energy Research Park in Davis, California and at its commercial demonstration facility in Monterey County, California.

In the News

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