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Ride the Rails or Go Underground in Old Sacramento starting March 31

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POSTED March 9, 2012 8:56 p.m.

OLD SACRAMENTO - Coinciding with the beginning of Easter week, Old Sacramento officially springs into action for a new season of excursion train service on the Sacramento Southern Railroad and Old Sacramento Underground tours, both of which resume the weekend of Saturday, March 31 and Sunday, April 1.

Excursion train

The California State Railroad Museum’s popular excursion railroad — the Sacramento Southern Railroad — officially returns to operation for the 29th consecutive season on Saturday, March 31, and continues on weekends through September. Guests are treated to a six-mile, 40-minute roundtrip excursion along the picturesque levees of the Sacramento River while enjoying the sights, smells and sounds of authentic locomotives rolling down the tracks.

The train features a combination of vintage closed coaches with comfortable seats, and open-air “gondolas” with bench style seating. Once underway, weekend excursion trains depart every hour on the hour from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Regular excursion train tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for youths (ages 6-17), and ages five and under ride free. For passengers desiring a VIP ride in luxury and style aboard the beautifully restored first-class 1920s lounge-observation car El Dorado, tickets are $15 per person (and free for infants under the age of one). Tickets to ride the first-class El Dorado are available to book online in advance at www.californiastaterailroadmuseum.org.

Same-day general admission excursion train ride tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis starting at 10:30 a.m. at the Sacramento Southern Railroad ticket office located on Front Street between J and K Streets.

Old Sacramento underground tours

Old Sacramento Underground tours resume on Saturday, March 31, and continue through Fall 2012. Old Sacramento has the distinction of being the only city in California to raise its streets in the 1860s through the 1870s to protect the city from devastating flooding. Tour participants explore excavated foundations, an open archeological site and enclosed pathways — all while entertaining and knowledgeable tour guides recount the tales of the devastation, perseverance, and determination that led to California’s only successful street-raising project.

While tour dates will be expanded in the summer months, the initial underground tour schedule is as follows: on Saturdays and Sundays, tours depart every 30 minutes from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. through the month of May. Interested guests are encouraged to check the website for updated tour times and information. Tours of the underground last approximately one hour in length and cost $15 for adults and $10 for children. Tour check-in is located at the Sacramento History Museum, 101 I Street in Old Sacramento. Underground visitors will need to be prepared to walk on uneven surfaces in areas that have low ceilings and in occasional small spaces. Advance tickets for underground tours are available now for online purchase at www.historicoldsac.org.

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