2008 Fall Pumpkin Train Review

by Shasta Cascade on October 25, 2008

Pumpkin TrainOctober 25, 2008 McCloud, CA – All aboard! One of the biggest draws in McCloud during the month of October is the Fall Pumpkin Train. The 90 minute round-trip between McCloud and Signal Butte on weekend afternoons features both open air and inside seating. It’s a hit with families with children, and an excellent way to see the colorful fall foliage. On Saturday, October 25th, my family decided to check it out.

The Pumpkin trains usually sell out, so I was a bit apprehensive when I called about finding available seats when I called the day of our departure. Luckily, there were a few left, and I was able to purchase the tickets over the phone.  They didn’t even charge a service fee.

About fifteen minutes before departure, we arrived at the train depot on Broadway Avenue where the dinner train usually departs. It was a bright, clear and warm Fall day, and the field in front of the station was covered with yellow leaves. The parking lot was filled with cars and commotion, while children threw leaves at each other. We picked up our tickets and boarded the train. We chose to ride outside in an open-air car.

The train took off promptly at 4:00pm, and slowly went past neighborhood backyards and the old train yard until it left town, and proceeded to chug up the mountain grade into the forest.  It was really interesting to see McCloud from this new perspective.

Once we got above 4,000 ft in elevation, we were able to see spectacular views of Mt. Shasta, as well as distant hilltops peeking through the trees.  A number of people on the train had cameras, and had a great time recording the experience.

After about thirty minutes, the train came to a halt at Signal Butte, which is the location of a switchback and the destination of the trip.  There, railroad employees had set out a couple hundred pumpkins spread out alongside the track, with occaisional bales of straw.

If we were riding the dinner train, it would have continued up the mountain, but this excursion ended here. All the kids raced off the train and ran to claim a pumpkin. After about 30 minutes, everybody got back on the train and we headed back down the mountain.

All the railroad employees were very friendly and helpful. I’d recommend the Pumpkin train to anyone.

Click here if you’re interested in learning about the Fall 2009 Pumpkin Train schedule.

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