Historic Niles

The Niles Canyon Railway is partnering with several museums in Niles to bring a weekend full of fun, nostalgic, and historic adventures. From special presentations and films starting Friday evening at the Essanay Silent Film Museum to steam powered train rides Saturday and Sunday on the NCR. Special bus transportation available at an extra cost between the Niles Canyon Railway’s Niles Station and downtown main street Niles. Once in downtown, train passengers can take advantage of special matinee movie showings all weekend at the Essanay Silent Film Museum with their bus & movie pass wristband. Additionally, visitors can take some time to visit the Niles Depot and Model Railroad Museum and shop or dine in downtown Niles. The Pacific Bus Museum will have some buses on display. Additional movie showings are scheduled Saturday and Sunday evening at the film museum, but these will be after the bus transportation has ended and the steam train has left for the day. Visitors will need to provide their own transportation to and from the film museum.

Start the experience aboard a vintage steam train. Ride from Niles/Fremont station located at 37029 Mission Blvd, Fremont, to Sunol and return. Also park and board in Sunol and ride to Niles. If a rider purchases the bus/movie matinee wristband for $10 per person; a bus awaits you in Niles/Fremont station and takes you to and from Main Street to explore downtown Niles. There are multiple steam train departures from each NCRy station throughout the day with the last one-way departure from our Niles/Fremont station to Sunol at 5:20 PM on Saturday and 3:20 PM on Sunday.

With a mainline railroad between the station and downtown Niles, the only safe way to travel between the two locations is on the roadways that circle around and under the railroad. Construction on Sullivan Underpass is not yet a safe pedestrian alternatived. The combination bus transportation and matinee movie pass wristbands can be purchased from our Niles Canyon Railway ticket agents and the Essanay Film Museum for $10 per person.

The Essanay Silent Film Museum: Circa 1912 the silent film movie making industry was very active in Niles before eventually moving to Hollywood. Rediscover America’s movie pioneers, and see their remarkable work in an authentic setting - a theater where Charlie Chaplin and Broncho Billy Anderson saw themselves and their contemporaries on the screen. This museum keeps the spirit of silent films alive. The curator has prepared a full weekend schedule of railroad themed movies beginning with a presentation Friday evening August 9th at 7:30 pm from Henry Baum, president of the Pacific Locomotive Association followed by some classic short silent films.

Niles Depot Museum: Discover Fremont’s railroad heritage in the former Southern Pacific Railroad colonnade-style passenger depot built in 1901 and freight depot. The museum is operated by the Niles Depot Historical Foundation and is also constructing two model railways of Niles and surrounding areas, which are operated by the Tri-City Society of Model Engineers. Special weekend event hours Saturday and Sunday 10 am-4 pm.

Ten local nonprofit museums are ready to share the Passport to Adventure Program. Museum representatives from the Passport to Adventure Program will be available at the Niles Depot Museum to answer questions and share lots of information.