The North Bay is humming with excitement over the launch of the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit. Riding the SMART train is a very different – and much more comfortable – experience than the locomotives of the past. Each sleek two-car SMART train can carry more than 300 people, more than 40 bicycles and has a concession stand on board. The trains serve a 43 mile corridor from the Santa Rosa Airport to San Rafael. A second phase planned for 2018 will extend the route from Larkspur to Cloverdale.
Petaluma is particularly welcoming of the new train service because the community’s railway history runs deep, starting in 1864 with the establishment of a steam locomotive and continuing until the last passenger train passed by the Mission-Revival style depot in 1958. The SMART train carries the railway legacy forward because 102 years after it was built, the yellow historic depot – which now houses the Visitors Center – once again serves as a train station.