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California State Railroad Museum – Sacramento, CA

Meticulously preserved artifacts, immersive exhibits, and interactive displays

Located in the heart of Sacramento is a world of railroad history and nostalgia: the California State Railroad Museum. This iconic museum is a testament to the vital role that railroads played in shaping the landscape, economy, and culture of California and the American West.

A Journey Through Time

As visitors step into the California State Railroad Museum, they embark on a captivating journey through time, tracing the evolution of rail transportation from its humble beginnings to its monumental impact on the development of the Golden State. With meticulously preserved artifacts, immersive exhibits, and interactive displays, the museum offers a glimpse into the fascinating world of locomotives, railroads, and the people who built them.

California State Railroad Museum | I-80 Exit Guide
Courtesy California State Railroad Museum; Photo by Kelly Huston

Discovering Historic Locomotives

One of the highlights of the California State Railroad Museum is its impressive collection of historic locomotives and rolling stock. From the sleek and streamlined designs of early steam engines to the powerful diesel locomotives that revolutionized rail travel in the 20th century, the museum showcases a diverse array of trains that once traversed the vast expanses of California.

Visitors can marvel at iconic locomotives such as the Southern Pacific No. 1 “C.P. Huntington,” a beautifully restored steam locomotive that dates back to the 1860s and played a pivotal role in the construction of the transcontinental railroad. Other notable locomotives include the towering Sierra No. 3 “The Governor Stanford” and the majestic Santa Fe No. 5021, each with its own unique story to tell.

Immersive Exhibits and Interactive Displays

In addition to its impressive collection of locomotives, the California State Railroad Museum features a variety of immersive exhibits and interactive displays that bring the history of railroading to life. Visitors can step inside vintage railcars, explore historic depots, and experience the sights and sounds of a bygone era.

California State Railroad Museum | I-80 Exit Guide
Courtesy California State Railroad Museum; Photo by Kelly Huston

One of the museum’s most popular exhibits is “Gold, Greed, and Speculation: The Railroad and the Making of California,” which explores the pivotal role that railroads played in California’s gold rush and subsequent economic boom. Through artifacts, photographs, and multimedia presentations, visitors can gain a deeper understanding of how the railroad transformed California into a bustling hub of commerce and industry.

Preserving Railroad Heritage

The California State Railroad Museum is more than just a repository of artifacts; it is a dedicated steward of railroad heritage. Through its conservation efforts, educational programs, and outreach initiatives, the museum strives to preserve the legacy of California’s railroads for future generations.

California State Railroad Museum | I-80 Exit Guide
Courtesy California State Railroad Museum; Photo by Kelly Huston

From restoring vintage locomotives to documenting oral histories of railroad workers and enthusiasts, the museum’s team of historians, curators, and volunteers work tirelessly to ensure that the stories of the past continue to inspire and educate audiences today and for years to come.

Plan Your Visit to the California State Railroad Museum

For those eager to experience the magic of railroading firsthand, a visit to the California State Railroad Museum is a must. Located at 125 I St, Sacramento, CA, the museum is open daily from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM, with extended hours during the summer months.

California State Railroad Museum | I-80 Exit Guide
Courtesy California State Railroad Museum; Photo by Kelly Huston

Admission prices vary, with discounts available for children, seniors, and military personnel. Visitors can also take advantage of guided tours, special events, and educational programs designed to engage audiences of all ages.

Address
California State Railroad Museum
125 I Street
Sacramento, California 95814
Telephone: (916) 323-9280
Website: https://www.californiarailroad.museum/

Hours of Operation
Monday: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Tuesday: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Wednesday: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Thursday: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Friday: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Saturday: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Sunday: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day

Admission
Adults (18+): $12.00
Youths (6-17): $6.00
Children (5 and under): Free
Members: Free

Directions
From I-80 West: Take I-80 East to West Sacramento. At the I-80/Business 80 split, follow Business 80 to Downtown Sacramento, then as the freeway climbs up over the Sacramento River, take the Interstate Highway 5-North exit. Exit at “J” Street (a one-way, eastbound street) and go two blocks to Fifth Street. Turn left, then turn left again at “I” Street. Follow the large overhead signs to “Old Sacramento/Railroad Museum.”
From I-80 East: Take I-80 West to Interstate Highway 5-South. Follow I-5 south to downtown Sacramento. Exit at “J” Street (a one-way, eastbound street) and go two blocks to Fifth Street. Turn left, then turn left again at “I” Street. Follow the large overhead signs to “Old Sacramento/Railroad Museum.”

Whether you’re a history buff, a railroad enthusiast, or simply looking for a unique and memorable experience, the California State Railroad Museum offers something for everyone. So climb aboard, and let the adventure begin!


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