Freight trains will be returning to Sonoma County starting today, according to the California Highway Patrol.
A work train, testing bridge stamina, is making its way to Petaluma - the first run of what railroad officials hope will become regular service.
"The idea is the bridges have to hold 286,000 pounds...our locomotive is pulling two rail cars with trains so we can test how the bridges perform," said Mitch Stogner, executive director of the North Coast Railroad.
The first train will run from Schellville to Petaluma, arriving in Petaluma with a load of grain at approximately 1:30 p.m. Once off-loaded, it will return to the Schellville area.
The train will be running slow through the area, but the CHP wants to remind everyone to obey all the RR crossing arms bells and lights.
"You will be cited if you cross the tracks while the crossing arms are active," CHP officials said. "Pedestrians are reminded to stay off the railroad tracks."
Once in Petaluma, the following intersections will be affected:
Hopper Rd and Caufield Ln
D St. at Lakeville Rd
East Washington St. at Lakeville Rd.
Novato city council is expected to rule on the at their July 12 city council meeting, after which the NCRA expects to run the line three-days per week from Petaluma up to Windsor.
Stogner - who will ride with the train for its return trip - is excited to realize the fruits of his labor.
""Finally, at long last," he said.
Bay City News Contributed to this report