California State Railroad Museum

Discover how trains helped make America what it is today in the largest railroad museum in the country.

Get a glimpse into how America’s early settlers would have traveled as you wander through the sleeping and dining cars of the fully restored locomotives that rattled the tracks as far back as the 19th century.

See just how tough the work of building the railroads would have been in the Sierra Scene, a full-scale replica construction site depicting the work of building a track through the Sierra Nevada Mountains. And don’t miss the opportunity to chat with the costumed docents, who are happy to share their knowledge of the trains and their history.

Start on the first floor, where you’ll find 21 fully restored locomotives and cars. Exhibits include the 1862 Gov. Stanford, a wood-burning locomotive that pulled the Central Pacific’s first scheduled passenger train. There’s also the stylish Southern Pacific Cab-forward No. 4294 that journeyed the country’s railroads in the early 20th century.  

Children will love the chance to climb onto the conductor’s seat, or lie back in the sleeper car as the simulator mimics the sensation of rolling over the tracks. Find more to keep the children entertained upstairs, with the Thomas the Tank Engine and toy train areas offering plenty of chances to push buttons and play at being conductor.

If you visit during summer, climb aboard for a ride along the Sacramento Southern Railroad. This 40-minute scenic ride passes through Old Sacramento and along the Sacramento River. Excursions operate on the hour every hour from April to October.

To find out more about the exhibits, take one of the regular guided tours, or alternatively, step into the theater to watch one of the informative film screenings. Ask at the admissions desk for times.

The California State Railroad Museum is open daily and is located on the corner of Second and I streets in Old Sacramento. On-street parking in this area is metered and limited term. There is all-day parking for a fee in the large garage on I Street. An Amtrak train station is about two blocks’ walk away.

The museum is open daily except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s. Purchase a 3-Park Pass to gain entry to this and two out of four other museums in the city.

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