Roughly 60 years have passed since the North Coast was last served by a passenger rail line, and nearly nine years have passed since Sonoma and Marin county residents voted to tax themselves to make commuter rail possible again. But it is finally going to happen. Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit announced on Thursday that the rail line has received the long-awaited green light from the Federal Railroad Administration, and service will begin one week from today.
Festivities will begin with a grand opening at 9 a.m. next Friday at the Santa Rosa Downtown Station in Railroad Square. There will be no charge for riding the trains that day. Fares will be half price through Labor Day. Regular fares will be in place Sept. 5. Yes, it’s true that sometimes that light at the end of a long tunnel is a train. But in this case, that’s a good thing.