California State Railroad Museum
About the Museum:
First opened to the public in 1976, the California State Railroad Museum complex is one of Sacramento’s largest and most popular visitor destinations. Over 500,000 visit the Museum annually, with guests traveling from throughout the world to experience this world-renowned facility.
The California State Railroad Museum complex consists of six original, reconstructed, and new buildings completed at a cost of $30 million. The primary exhibit building, the Railroad History Museum, totals 100,000 square feet. Completed at a cost of $16.1 million, it opened in May 1981.
With over 225,000 square feet of total exhibit space, the buildings within the California State Railroad Museum complex use stimulating exhibits, enthusiastic and knowledgeable docents, and beautifully restored railroad cars and locomotives to illustrate railroad history in California and the West.
Throughout the main Railroad History Museum building, 21 meticulously restored locomotives and cars and numerous exhibits illustrate how railroads have shaped people’s lives, the economy, and the unique culture of California and the West. Included are a Pullman-style sleeping car, a dining car filled with railroad china, and a Railway Post Office that visitors can actually step aboard.
History, railroads, engineering are all part of this museum. Access to many styles if wood, coal and oil burning engines plus Pullmans and other types of cars. Good background on building the transcontinental trail across the Sierra Nevada and a peak into the workings of Sacramento policy makers from long ago. And it's all under roof and air conditioned. Great.
Great museum full of yesteryear nostalgic railroad locomotives that trekked the beginning tracks of the State of California. I especially enjoyed the stroll through some old Pullman cars. There is also a gallery where young children can play with sets of Thomas the Train & others. And a nice display of older toy train sets. When you are done looking at everything, take a ride on a real locomotive. Just a fun time in Old Town Sacramento!
My 2yo train lover was in heaven. You get to walk through some old trains and there are toy train sets for the kids to play with upstairs. My only suggestion would be to go in late fall-early spring because July is too hot. It was hard to enjoy the outdoor exhibits and charming old town. But the museum itself has a wonderful AC so if you're in the area during summer, go for it.
I'm a big museum buff but wasn't sure that I had an interest in trains. The reviews persuaded me to visit and I was overwhelmed at what an amazing museum this is and how informed and welcoming the staff was, especially the volunteers. The building is like an airplane hanger, enormous, which it has to be because it contains many trains. I didn't take a tour, but with some patient reading got the gist of history of why the railroads were built, to connect the west with the east, for commerce. This history is both local and national and I enjoyed learning more about California as I'm from the east coast. I was taken with the in-depth descriptions, not just of the wealthy men who administered the railroads, but of all the workers who built it and later, ran it. It was especially interesting to read about the Chinese workers contribution. Did you know that President Lincoln once worked as a railroad lawyer? His support helped fund the efforts. This is the type of information that the volunteer staff provided. I especially enjoyed Pat Randall's wonderful storytelling skills. Don't miss this museum if you're in the area and consider following a visit at the Firehouse Restaurant which is right down the street. It's not inexpensive, but the food and service were top of the line and it has a great flavor of old Sacramento.
This is a great museum for all ages. Great hands on displays for the kids and lots of old cars and engines to climb through. Really terrific historic engines are on display. I have been back dozens of times and it does not get old.