History of Reno Fun Train & Sierra Scenic Train
History of the famous Reno Fun Train
In 1963 Southern Pacific Railroad and the Reno Chamber of Commerce devised a plan to not only stimulate wintertime business in Reno, but keep the Southern Pacific crews working during the off season. With this collaboration, the one and only RENO FUN TRAIN was up and running with ex-49er football player, Don Burke, acting as host. Over the years various tour operators ran the party train. Through the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s the Fun Train established a reputation as being a huge party on wheels traveling through the spectacular Sierra Nevada Mountains destined for the “The Biggest Little City In The World”. Amtrak offered the contract to Key Holidays of Walnut Creek, CA in 1993. Key Holidays not only reestablished the traditions of the old RENO FUN TRAIN, such as the Dance Car, live entertainment and party atmosphere, but also added features; light meals served roundtrip, souvenir shop, piano lounge, dance car and Sightseeing Dome Car. In 2013 reserved seat Dome Cars were added to the train as PULLMAN GOLD SERVICE featuring first class service and table dining. The new and improved RENO FUN TRAIN is popular with individuals, companies and groups of any size looking for a unique travel experience. There is just one place in the world where you can dance, sing-along, conga line, ooh and ahh at the winter-wonderland, relax and let loose, make new friends and experience the romance of riding the rails on the way to exciting downtown Reno . . . aboard the RENO FUN TRAIN!
History of the midweek Sierra Scenic Train
In 1995 Amtrak said to Key Holidays, “Since you run the Reno Fun Train with great success and the equipment is just sitting around during the week, why don’t you run a mid-week train?” So with great trepidation, Key Holidays began running the midweek RENO SNOW TRAIN in 1996 with great success. In 2014 The Snow Train was rebranded as the Sierra Scenic Train. The Sierra Scenic is geared to folks that can get the time off work midweek, families (children are allowed, whereas on the Fun Train you have to be over 21) and retirees. The Sierra Scenic features single level Amtrak equipment, Souvenir Shop, strolling minstrels, Piano Lounge Car and Sightseeing Great Dome. The Sierra Scenic runs February through March, Tuesday back Thursday with 500 passengers per departure and sells out every year. First Class Dome Car PULLMAN GOLD SERVICE is also offered as an optional upgrade.
Reno Fun Train & Sierra Scenic Train Details
- CAPACITY: 15-car train accommodating 448 Silver Service Coach Seats and 100 Pullman Gold Service First Class Dome Car seats. Total capacity 548 passengers
- WHEN: Seasonal special charter trains February through mid-March only.
- EQUIPMENT: Seven Amtrak passenger coach cars, Amtrak Great Dome Car and engines with six private rail cars functioning as the Dance Car with DJ Music and live entertainment stage, Smoking Car with Cigar Lounge, Piano Lounge Car with Gift Shop , Gold Service Baggage Car and two IPH-Pullman Gold Service Dome Cars.
- COST: Weekend Fun Train from $250 per person and Sierra Scenic from $240 per person with Early Booking Discount. This fare includes roundtrip Silver Service Coach seats with entertainment and meals. Additional cost for Reno Hotel Package and/or upgrade to First Class Pullman Gold Service. Saving incentives are available for booking early, Boomer 50+ and organized groups of 16 or more passengers.
- FIRST CLASS OPTION: Pullman Gold Service, for an additional cost, offers reserved Dome Car seating, first class Car Attendant service and table dining with freshly prepared 3-course luncheon served each way.
- DEPARTURE STATIONS: Emeryville, Richmond (BART connection), Martinez, Suisun and Sacramento. The Sierra Scenic makes an additional stop at Roseville. Connections are available from any city served by Amtrak for an additional cost. From Emeryville it is a 7-hour trip (party) each way and from Sacramento a 5-hour trip (party) each way.
- THEMES: Weekend Fun Train: Soul Train – best of the 70’s & 80’s, Mardi Gras, Country Western, Rock n’ Roll Chocolate & Wine Tasting, St Patrick’s, Murder Mystery, Hawaiian Aloha and Valentine’s. Midweek Sierra Scenic: Motown, Fabulous 50’s, Rat Pack – Sammy, Dean and Frank, Gospel Train, Folk Fest, Fat Tuesday, Railroad Celebration, Murder Mystery and Valentine’s. Popular themes are repeated with some themes changed each year.
- INFORMATION & RESERVATIONS: Online at KeyHolidays.com or contact Key Holidays, the operators of the Reno Fun Train & Sierra Scenic Train, directly at (800) 783-0783. Reservations may also be made through a professional Travel Agent.
- Key Holidays, a division of Iowa Pacific Holdings’ Premier Rail Collection, has been offering Amtrak Tour Packages and Rail & Sail Cruises since 1983.