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See the snowy Sierra with 2 winter train tours from the Bay Area

See the snowy Sierra with 2 winter train tours from the Bay Area
Charter train trips through the snowy Sierras start in February. They run from the Bay Area to Reno. (Key Holidays)

Scenic train service through the Lake Tahoe area is gearing up for some snowy winter runs. The two lines, offering 500-passenger charter service, begin their schedules in mid-February but are offering discounts for those who book now.

The Sierra Scenic Train departs Tuesdays from stations in the Bay Area and Sacramento, travels to Reno, then returns on Thursdays. It offers Sierra Nevada scenery on themed tours that include the Rat Pack and the '50s and '60s. Key Holidays, which organizes the trips, says that the reserved seats and nostalgia themes make it a prime getaway for senior centers and church groups.

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Departures are scheduled for Feb. 16 and 23 and March 1 and 8. With an early-season discount, the fares start at $259 per person. Pullman Gold Service also is available for an additional cost.

The other winter run, the Reno Fun Train, is a weekend getaway from the San Francisco Bay Area to Reno, with departures on Fridays and returns on Sundays. The 2016 schedule and themes:

  • Feb. 19 (Mardi Gras)

  • Feb. 26 (murder mystery)

  • March 4 (soul train — Best of the ’70s and ’80s)

  • March 11 (St. Patrick’s)

The rail line allows passengers to bring their own drinks, food and decorations. Fares on this over-21 party train start at $269 per person with an early-booking discount. 

Discounts are available when reserved and paid for by Dec. 11. Reservations may be made as rail only or with a two-night Reno hotel package included.  Info: (800) 783-0783.

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