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Monday, January 2, 2017

Railroad Museums in the West ..... by Gail L. Jenner

In doing some research for a new project, I found this directory of  railroad museums.  The website:
It lists railroad museums throughout the United States and Internationally, as well. 

I'm simply providing the lists here for California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico. Perhaps it will whet the appetite for more in-depth study. I know I have just touched upon the subject and intend to do far more...and I hope to provide some regional history of a couple smaller railroads in my next stay tuned!

As writers of western historical fiction, we all look for those wonderful websites, locations, museums, and libraries, etc. I have only visited four or five of these museums, but have decided  to check out more of them in the coming year! With grandkids who love history, I know I can add these to our list of family outings, especially since several of the museums offer outstanding programs and tours for children.

Address: 111 "I" Street, Sacramento, CALIFORNIA, 95814 USA. Tel.: (916) 323-9280 Toll Free:
Located in Old Sacramento, the California State Railroad Museum is a complex of historic facilities 
and unique attractions.Widely regarded as one of North America’s finest and most visited railroad 
museums, there is something here for everyone! Throughout the year, experience lavishly restored 
trains, engaging exhibits, and unique special events. Every weekend April- September, ride behind 
a steam locomotive on the Museum’s Sacramento Southern Railroad. The Museum is open daily
(except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day) from 10 a.m to 5 p.m. Guided tours and 
interpretive film screenings are offered daily.

Address: 5848 State Highway 12, Suisun, CALIFORNIA, 94585 USA. Tel.: (707) 374-2978 Toll Free:
The Western Railway Museum gives visitors the opportunity to ride historic streetcars and 
interurban electric trains from all over California and other western states. Streetcars loop the 
shaded picnic grounds. Interurban cars run over the restored main line of the old Sacramento 
Northern Railway. With over 50 historic cars on display, railway exhibits, the Streetcar Theater, 
the Museum Bookstore and Gift Shop and the large, the Western Railway Museum is ideal for 
family and group outings. The Western Railway Museum is located at historic Rio Vista Junction 
in Northern California.

Address: 5750 Sacramento Avenue, Dunsmuir, CALIFORNIA, 96025 USA. Tel.: 530 235-2177 Toll 
The museum is home to the Southern Pacific Shasta Division archives. The collection, which includes
maps, photographs, drawings and documents is estimated to contains about 200,000 pieces of paper.
Depicting the economic development of much of the north state and southern Oregon along the line.

Address: 100 Railroad Park Road, Dunsmuir, Ca, CALIFORNIA, 96025 USA. Tel.: 530-235-4440 
Toll Free:
museum of vintage railroad cars, Shay train engine and cabooses caboose motel, RV/campground, 
cabins, pull-thrus, swimming hole in Little Castle Creek, hiking,fishing,4 golf courses nearby, 
gift shop,restaurant & lounge, AAA approved

Goleta Depot and South Coast Railroad Museum
 Address: 300 North Los Carneros Road, Goleta, CALIFORNIA, 93117 USA. Tel.: 805-964-3540  
Toll Free:
The Goleta Depot station, near Santa Barbara, was built in 1901 by the Southern Pacific Railroad. 
The station was relocated in 1981 to picturesque Lake Los Carneros County Park and is listed on 
the National Register of Historic Places. The South Coast Railroad Museum features the restored 
station interior, landscaped grounds, a yard track with a bay-window caboose (S.P. 4023), the 
1/3 mile Goleta Short Line miniature train ride, and a 300-sq-ft HO-scale model railroad that 
models southern Santa Barbara County. Hours are 1 to 4 pm. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays.

Lomita Railroad Museum,
Address: Woodward Av & 250 Street, Lomita, CALIFORNIA, 90717 USA. Tel.: (310)326-6255 Toll 
The city of Lomita in Southern California is home of the Lomita Railroad Museum, a historical museum dedicated to keeping the spirit of steam-era railroading alive! To help keep this spirit alive, the museum is planning to expand for all of its visitors to enjoy. On display is a Southern Pacific Railroad steam
locomotive (1902-1960) and tender. Nearby stand a 1910 Union Pacific caboose and a modern all-steel
Santa Fe caboose. The museum is not only educational, it is also fun.

Address: Various Locations - See Web Site for Details, Los Angeles, CALIFORNIA, 9XXXX USA.
Tel.: 323-931-6757 Toll Free:
The Los Angeles Railroad Heritage Foundation is a DBA of the Los Angeles Museum of Railroading, a
non-profit educational corporation. The Foundation's mission is to diligently preserve and dynamically
present the history of railroading in Los Angeles through its three core programs: public outreach,
archival preservation, and multiple-media publishing. Each of these programs is interdependent and
together they will enable the Foundation achieve its mission.

Address: 870 Market Street, Suite 803, San Francisco, CALIFORNIA, 94102 USA. Tel.: (415) 956-0472
Toll Free:
Dedicated to the preservation and operation of historic transit vehicles in San Francisco. Our organization
and its members have acquired and donated a number of vintage streetcars, cable cars and buses to the San
Francisco Municipal Railway. We educate the public on the historic importance of mass transportation
toward maintaining a high quality of urban life in San Francisco. We identify, acquire, and restore
additional historic transit vehicles suitable for operation on the San Francisco Municipal Railway.

Address: PO Box 2211, Laguna Hills, CALIFORNIA, 92654 USA. Tel.: N/A Toll Free:
The Museum of America's Freedom Trains is dedicated to the preservation of the memory of the two
Freedom Trains that toured the United States during the 20th Century. To this end the Museum acquires
and preserves artifacts from both trains and maintains a collection of audio, visual, and textual materials
related to them. Please help us in our efforts to preserve the memory of these rolling symbols of liberty.

Address: 5 Kidder Court, Nevada City, CALIFORNIA, 95959 USA. Tel.: 530-470-0902 Toll Free:
Has twenty five pieces of historical railroad equipment that has been restored or are in need of restoration
and maintenance. With this type of work, you will have the opportunity to learn how late 1800's and early
1900's narrow gauge....The museum is located at 5 Kidder Court, Nevada City, California.

Address: Post Office Box 2247, Fremont, CALIFORNIA, 94536-0247 USA. Tel.: 1925-685-9000 Toll Free:
Preserving and prsenting Pacific Coast railroad history by way of offering a living museum. They operate
historic passenger train service thru Niles Canyon every first and third Sundays of every month

Address: P.O. Box 80726, San Marino, CALIFORNIA, 91118 USA. Tel.: (213) 283-0087 Toll Free:
is composed of people from all walks of life who share a common interest in railroads. We are one of the
oldest and largest independent rail enthusiast organizations in the United States, having an average annual
membership of over 650. PRS has acquired a diverse collection of rolling stock. PRS also owns and
operates a 1941 General Electric locomotive as well as a 1942 caboose. An establishment of a museum
was an important long-term goal of the Society.

Address: P.O. Box 608, Portola, CALIFORNIA, 96122 USA. Tel.: 530-832-4131 Toll Free:
At the Portola Railroad Museum in Portola, California! The Run-A-Locomotive program allows you to
rent a locomotive and operate it on the museum grounds (under the close supervision of an instructor). The
museum is operated by the Feather River Rail Society. The theme of the museum is an operating small
railroad locomotive facility typical of the 1940's, 50's and 60's. The museum has 39 locomotives and 98
freight and passenger cars.

Address: 18115 5th Avenue, Jamestown, CALIFORNIA, 95327 USA. Tel.: (209) 984-3953 Toll Free:
Railtown’s locomotives, vintage passenger and freight cars, and historic buildings give visitors the
chance to travel back in time to the exciting days of steam-train travel. However, Railtown 1897 offers
more than train rides. Visitors will see the historic facilities of a short-line railroad from the days of steam
transportation, including three locomotives original to the railroad. The railroad’s operations and
maintenance trades continue to be preserved.

Address: 1170 West 3rd Street, San Bernardino, CALIFORNIA, 92402 USA. Tel.: (909) 888-3634 Toll
The Museum specializes in San Bernardino history and all things railroad. It houses the Santa Fe Western
Archives and many unique history and railroad artifacts. Model train displays are abundant. Railroad
videos and history slide shows are continuously playing. The Museum is located in the restored 1918
Santa Fe Depot that serves Amtrak and Metrolink passengers and is directly across the tracks from the
BNSF intermodal facility. FREE admission.

Address: 1649 El Prado, San Diego, CALIFORNIA, 92101 USA. Tel.: (619) 696-0199 Toll Free:
Located in the heart of Balboa Park, the San Diego Model Railroad Museum (SDMRM) is the world's
largest operating model railroad museum. This unique museum has four enormous scale model layouts,
built by separate clubs, which depict railroads of the southwest in O, HO and N scales. In addition, the
museum features a Toy Train Gallery with an interactive Lionel layout for children; a 3-Rail Hi Rail
layout, numerous educational displays, and prototype artifacts, including a centralized traffic control (CTC)
machine, working semaphore, and crossing signal.

Address: Campo Depot, 31123-1/2 Highway 94, Campo, CALIFORNIA, 91906 USA. Tel.: (619) 478-9937
Toll Free:
The San Diego Railroad Museum, operated by the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum Association, is
a non-profit educational organization dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of railroads as they
existed in the Pacific Southwest. The Museum offers an on-line history of railroads in general, with
detailed attention paid to the San Diego area and to the San Diego and Arizona Railway in particular.

Address: 1201 Mason, San Francisco, CALIFORNIA, 94108 USA. Tel.: (415) 474-1887 Toll Free:
The cable car was born in San Francisco at four o'clock in the morning on August 2, 1873, when Andrew
Smith Hallidie successfully tested the world's first cable car. Operated by the nonprofit "Friends of the
Cable Car Museum" the Cable Car Museum provides not only an historical perspective of the importance
of the cable car to San Francisco, but an insight into the daily operations of today's system.

Address: 1600 Senter Road, San Jose, CALIFORNIA, 95112 USA. Tel.: N/A Toll Free:
The mission of the California Trolley and Railroad Corporation (CTRC) is to restore, preserve and
interpret railroad equipment as it was used to serve the people in Santa Clara Valley, California. A
major project underway is the creation of the Santa Clara County Railroad Museum.

Address: PO Box 264, Santa Maria, CALIFORNIA, 93456 USA. Tel.: (805) 714-4927 Toll Free:
The Santa Maria Valley Railway Historical Museum (SMVRHM), founded as a non-profit, educational
museum, is dedicated to the preservation of the railroad heritage of California, the Central Coast, and the
Santa Maria Valley. The Museum is located on the second floor across from Robinsons May. A docent is
available for information as you enjoy the various displays. There is a small gift shop in the Museum
(Madson's book, Railroads of the Santa Maria Valley is available), as well as some model railroads to see.
Often, modelers are present working on the HO layout of the Santa Maria Valley Railroad.

Address: 101 W. Tehachapi Blvd., Tehachapi, CALIFORNIA, 93561 USA. Tel.: 661-823-1100 Toll Free:
Open everyday from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. except Tuesday and Wednesday.
Address: 101 W. Tehachapi Blvd, Tehachapi, CALIFORNIA, 93561 USA. Tel.: 661-823-1100 Toll
The Museum specializes in preserving the history of the Southern Pacific Depot and Railroading in
general. We are only 10 miles from the famous Tehachapi Loop. We are open Thursday through Monday
11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Address: 5200 Zoo Dr., Los Angeles, CALIFORNIA, 90027 USA. Tel.: (323) 662-5874 Toll Free:
Preserves and celebrates the railroad heritage of the western United States--its history and its artifacts.
Particular thematic emphasis is placed on the history of Southern California and how the railroads aided
its development. Catch a ride on a caboose or tour a passenger car. The museum's volunteer organizations
offer something special the first and third Sunday of every month.

Address: POB #703, Barstow, CALIFORNIA, 92311 USA. Tel.: (760) 256-9276 Toll Free:
The Western America Railroad Museum collects, preserves and shares the history of railroading in the
Pacific Southwest for all who love railroads and railroading. W.A.R.M. provides educational forums with
interpretive and historical displays that focuses on both Railroad History and the development of Railroad
Technology. W.A.R.M. encompasses not only the past, but the present and future as well, realizing that
such a broad scope is essential to understanding the role of western railroading in America.

Address: 5848 State Highway 12, Suisun, CALIFORNIA, 94585 USA. Tel.: (707) 374-2978 Toll Free:
The Western Railway Museum gives visitors the opportunity to ride historic streetcars and interurban
electric trains from all over California and other western states. Streetcars loop the shaded picnic grounds.
Interurban cars run over the restored main line of the old Sacramento Northern Railway. With over 50
historic cars on display, railway exhibits, the Streetcar Theater, the Museum Bookstore and Gift Shop and
the large, the Western Railway Museum is ideal for family and group outings. The Western Railway
Museum is located at historic Rio Vista Junction in Northern California.

Address: 258 'A' Street, Ste 7, Ashland, OREGON, 97520 USA. Tel.: 541-482-RAIL Toll Free:
Ashland Historic Railroad Museum is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit, volunteer-operated museum, dedicated to
preserving Ashland, Oregon Railroad history.

Address: 766 South First St., Coos Bay, OREGON, 97420 USA. Tel.: 541-267-6900 Toll Free:
Our goal is a museum and resoration of logging and rail artifacts and photos depicting and relating to our
historical past.3 engines , 2 cabooses -D-8 cat logging arches and a local pond boat. A mini museum and
children’s corner.

Address: 3995 Brooklake Road, Brooks, OREGON, 97303 USA. Tel.: 503-888-4014 Toll Free:
The Oregon Electric Railway Museum is owned and operated by the Oregon Electric Railway Historical
Society. The Museum is run by volunteers of the Society. In the museum's collection there are a variety of
trolleys and traction equipment. The largest Trolley Museum in the Pacific Northwest! The Museum has
completed its move from the old location at Trolley Park in Glenwood, Oregon. The new museum at
Brooks continues to grow. This is an exciting time for the museum. Currently there is over a mile of track
laid with line poles, in addition to yard and car barn lead tracks....

Address: 2250 SE Water Ave, Portland, OREGON, 97214 USA. Tel.: 503.680.8895 Toll Free:
Home of 3 historical steam engines owned by the City of Portland. Two operating 4-8-4s; the world
famous SP4449 Daylight and the mighty SP&S 700. Also the OR&N 197 which is undergoing restoration.

Address: 22000 SW Rock Creek Rd., Sheridan, OREGON, 97378 USA. Tel.: (541) 570-5177 Toll Free:
Setting Up Grounds Now for Spring 2007 Opening... Static & Operating Trains, Trollies, Horse-Drawn
Vehicles, Tractors and other Farm Equipment.

Address: 5 Kidder Court, Nevada City, CALIFORNIA, 95959 USA. Tel.: 530-470-0902 Toll Free:
Has twenty five pieces of historical railroad equipment that has been restored or are in need of restoration
and maintenance. With this type of work, you will have the opportunity to learn how late 1800's and early
1900's narrow gauge....The museum is located at 5 Kidder Court, Nevada City, California.

Address: P.O. Box 150040, East Ely, NEVADA, 89315 USA. Tel.: 775-289-2085 Toll Free: 866-407-8326
The Nevada Northern Railway Museum is dedicated to the restoration, preservation, interpretation and
operation of the Nevada Northern Railway historic facilities, yards, and rail collection. This evolving
museum gives people the opportunity to experience a world class historic working railroad. Historical
Operating Railroad Museum. Often called the "best preserved" shortline in North America. Complete
railroad facilities with over 30 buildings. Train excursions featuring both steam and diesel locomotives.

Address: 600 Yucca Street, Boulder City, NV, NEVADA, 89006 USA. Tel.: 702-486-5933 Toll Free:
Nevada Southern Railway is the operating division of the Nevada State Railroad Museum in Boulder City.
Excursion train operates over 3½ miles of the original U.P. Boulder Branch. Train runs seasonally on
Saturdays and Sundays. Equipment is updated Harriman style coaches pulled by ex-U.P. GP-30 #844 or
EMD NW-1 switcher #1000.

Address: 2180 South Carson St., Carson City, NEVADA, 89701 USA. Tel.: (775) 687-6953 Toll Free:
The Nevada State Railroad Museum houses over 60 pieces of railroad equipment from Nevada's past and
is considered one of the finest regional railroad museums in the country. Included in the collection are 5
steam locomotives and several restored coaches and freight cars. The bulk of the equipment is from the
Virginia & Truckee Railroad, America's richest and most famous short line. Museum activities include
operation of historic railroad equipment, hand car races, lectures, an annual railroad history symposium,
changing exhibits, and a variety of special events.

Address: PO Box 1881, 2nd & Commercial St., Dayton, WASHINGTON, 99328 USA. Tel.: (509)
382-2026 Toll Free:
The oldest train depot in the state of Washington, the Depot is the primary artifact, housing an extensive
photographic collection of early Columbia County, and also some artifacts pertaining to the railroad and
Columbia County. The depot was built in 1881 and is Washington state's oldest rail depot. It was in
operation until the 1970s, when it was listed as a National Historic Site. The Union Pacific Railroad
donated the depot to the Dayton Historical Depot Society in 1975.

Address: 10 South Asotin Avenue, Toppenish, WASHINGTON, 98948 USA. Tel.: (509) 865-1911 Toll
The old 1911 Northern Pacific Railway depot in Toppenish, Washington has been reopened as the
Northern Pacific Railway Museum. The attempt is being made to recreate the ambience of the 1930
Northern Pacific Railroad. The depot has been restored to its early appearance and gives an opportunity
for the visitor to view many aspects of early railroad transportation. Its many artifacts help to demonstrate
the importance of railroad transportation to the development of our community and the entire Western
United States.

Address: PO Box 459, Snoqualmie, WASHINGTON, 98065 USA. Tel.: (425) 888-3030 Toll Free:
The Northwest Railway Museum is a Washington non-profit corporation. The Northwest Railway Museum
Collection of railway equipment is one of the most significant in the United States and is representative of
Northwest railroading. It numbers over 70 large items (greater that 1 ton) including examples of steam
locomotives, passenger and freight cars, and specialized railway equipment that built and maintained the
right-of-way. The Collection includes a research library and smaller railway artifacts including dining car
china, specialized tools, signage and lantern. The Museum Collection also includes 5.5 miles of main line
track, 3.5 miles of historic right-of-way, and the fully-restored Snoqualmie Depot, constructed in 1890.

Address: 122 N. Tacoma Ave., Pasco, WASHINGTON, 99301 USA. Tel.: (509) 543-4159 Toll Free:
Dedicated To Preserving The History of Railroads & Railroading in the State of Washington

Address: PO. BOX 552, Pasco, WASHINGTON, 99301 USA. Tel.: N/A Toll Free:
The WSRHS is dedicated to preserving the history of "All" the railroads that helped build the State of
Washington. From the Great Northern Railway, Milwaukee Road,to the Northern Pacific, Union Pacific,
SP&S Railway and all the railroads in between. We are located in Pasco, Washington where the Columbia
and Snake Rivers merge. Our rolling stock includes : Surviving Washington State Steam Locomotives,
Northern Pacific Locomotive # 2626, Various Roads, Locomotive Oil Cans & Telegraph, Glass Battery
Jar, Diesel Locomotive Bell, & Brass Caboose Whistle...and many more railroad items.

Address: 351 N. Mesilla Street, Las Cruces, NEW_MEXICO, 88004 USA. Tel.: (575) 647-4480 Toll Free:
Located in a historic Santa Fe Railroad depot, the Las Cruces Railroad Museum interprets the railroad
history of Las Cruces and the impact of the railroad on Southern New Mexico.

Address: PO Box 27270, Albuquerque, NEW_MEXICO, 87125 USA. Tel.: (505) 332-2926 Toll Free:
Our vision is to restore, recreate and operate within New Mexico a historically accurate cross section of the
State's railroading heritage from the 1880s to the present. Locomotive 2926 is the centerpiece of that vision.
 Establish an educational program that creates an Interest, an Awareness and an Appreciation of the
importance of railroads from the past to the future.

Address: 1991 North White Sands Blvd., Alamogordo, NEW_MEXICO, 88310 USA. Tel.: 505-437-2855
Toll Free: 888-207-3564
Over 8,000 items of railroad memorabilia and model trains of all scales from Z to 4'8.5", housed in an 1898
Southern Pacific Depot. Open year round Wednesday through Sunday noon to 4:30. Hobby shop with
authentic souvenirs. $3 admission to museum. 16" narrow gauge M.T.C. train ride through Alameda Park
is 10 (scale) miles. $3 ride ticket. We have a 12" M.T.C. train for junior engineers to drive, and an engineer
qualification program for the 16" trains. We have available guided tours of the Alamogordo/Sacramento
Mountain Railway (1898-1948) The steepest standard gauge railroad in the world. 501(c)3 non-profit

A vast deposit of western history is locked away in many of these museums. 

Gail L. Jenner is grateful for being able to work with Prairie Rose Publishing, and her collection of stories published by PRP has grown since "joining the gang" in Dec. 2013 with the re-release of her WILLA Award-winning Across the Sweet Grass Hills.
For more about Gail, check out: or sure and check out  A Cowboy Under the Mistletoe! Available  NOW!


  1. This looks like a fantastic resource, Gail. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Good....I love new resource sites! Just heard from someone on a FB page about the Orange Empire Railroad Museum, which even has an old private varnish car that Wyatt Earp and others used :-)

  2. Railroadds are such an integral part of the development of this country. A great list. While I doubt I'll be in these areas any time soon, it ties into the history of railroads we have here in Colorado. I thank you for that. Doris

    1. Go to the website then and punch in Colorado :-)

  3. here is another one, South Dakota State Railroad Museum, Hill City, SD, . It sits in the yard of the 1880 Train, a passenger historic train that takes riders daily during the warm seasons.

    1. Great! Thanks, Peggy. I will definitely add that one to my list, too :-) I wonder how many more can be tacked on....

  4. Gail,

    This is FABULOUS!!!! Thank you. I have many books on the history of trains, the railroad in maps, etc., but this website has so much more information waiting at the tips of my typing fingers. Trains/railroad plays such an important part in our western romances that it sometimes seems like the railroad is its own character within the story.

    1. Great! Yes, I agree. I have my own books on trains, but found this site quite inspirational. Now I just have to get to more of the locations :-) Thanks for stopping by!

  5. I have never ridden on a train, but I welcome the day when I get to enjoy that ride. I find trains fascinating. I really like these links you shared. I wish I had had them when I wrote For Love of Banjo. Seems the part of Wyoming where I put a train there is and never has been a train. Oops! I won't make that mistake again. That scene was so important to the story line I couldn't take it out, so there is the mistake I made forever. LOL
    I wish you a wonderful and happy New Year Gail!

    1. Hi Sarah. Thanks for stopping by. You're right; it's easy to make mistakes when you don't have all the information/historic material at hand. I'm sure we've all made mistakes that continue to haunt us!