A nearly decadelong wait for the SMART train, a rail service for North Bay commuters, is almost over. Starting next Friday, trains will carry passengers between Sonoma and San Rafael.
Federal railroad officials gave their stamp of approval to the Bay Area’s newest transit system late Wednesday, and Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit officials are eager to start rolling.
“We’ve been ready to go for a few weeks now,” said Farhad Mansourian, SMART’s general manager.
Free Wi-Fi will be an amenity when SMART rail service starts, but passengers will have to pay if they want to stream video or play games on their devices.
Trains will begin carrying passengers Thursday as part of a soft launch of service that will be free. SMART rail officials expect trains to be crowded as the system works its way toward daily commuter service.
Testing of commuter trains and tracks between Marin and Sonoma counties continues virtually nonstop, but rail officials remain reticent about a start date for service.
Nine years after voters approved a commuter train system for the North Bay, it will start service Aug. 25. The opening comes after more than two years of delays for the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit System, known as SMART. By the e...