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Monday, May 16, 2011

All Aboard part one

Yesterday my husband and I decided to brave the unusual winter like storm Northern California was having. As we left for our day out, it was raining, then hailing, thunder and lightening was lighting up the dark clouded sky, but still we decided to venture out.
The view from the car window..hail in mid May!
We were headed into Old Town Sacramento to the California State Railroad Museum "Located in Old Sacramento, the California State Railroad Museum is a complex of historic facilities and unique attractions. Widely regarded as North America's most popular railroad museum, there is something here for everyone! Throughout the year, experience lavishly restored trains, engaging exhibits, and unique special events." (*from the website home page)We had no real idea what to expect, but being given free passes from one of my husbands customers, and it being a special event of the artists from Pixar we knew it would be a fun day out. 

"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. " (*From the website page about the museum)

As we walked in, after handing over our free passes, out eyes must have gotten as big as saucers...we simply had no idea what lay beyond the entrance. For someone who has always loved train travel, and trains in general it was a railroad wonderland! The museum is huge! We never guessed from the outside just how big it truly was! There was full size train cars, engines and cabooses. There was buildings that were about 1 1/2 scale and up on the second story was a entire area of miniature train set collectables and a play area. The first area that we decided to explore was the history of the railroad  area of California and the railway. As we headed towards the first exhibit ( The Transcontinental Railroad ) and then into the second exhibit 
( Developing California, Making America) , we passed some fun exhibits of railroad and trains in children's toys from days past....

 As we turned the corner into exhibit two area, we were marveled at what lay before us! Full size representations of days gone by as California developed and the part it had in the making of America!
Have no idea why so many orbs were in several, but not all the pictures...light reflections? Dust? Or maybe spirits of railroad workers from days gone by ?

After marveling at all there was to see and take in, we headed into exhibit three and four ( Railroad Work, Railroad life and Travel by Train.) more wondrous sites lay ahead, and of course history as well! One hardly knew where to look first. So we zig zagged and did our best to take it all in.
Railraod cars, and a train depot area awaited us....

as well as history.
Could not resist getting a pic taken....

The depot....
The clerk all ready to sell passengers a ticket to their destination...
Truly wish I was able to buy one to some wonderful place!
The coolest thing on the passenger train we were able to walk through and tour was that they had made it so you felt like you were on a real moving train. From the shaking back and forth, the sounds as it raced down the tracks and the flashing of lights as it "zooms" through cities...having traveled by rail a few times it brought back so many memories. Good and bad LOL

A peek into a rail car, how people once traveled to and from destinations by train. It is nice now, but looks nothing like this.

Hand painted details decorated the inside of many passenger rail cars.

Many dined in style, as they would at home!

A private rail car for VIP's

A bit of history.. one of the men in the photos is then Governor Regan, who later became our President.

The detail was like that of a house...

Close up of lighting fixture in the 1929 passenger car.

Comfy sleeping quarters.....where you would be rocked to sleep by the movement along the rail.

An office on the go.

Dining car, where all the food was prepared for passengers.

A display of dining ware from all the different dining cars/railways through the ages.

After touring the passenger rail cars we went into the work horses of the railway system, from touring the mail cars, mobile post offices really, freight cars, cabooses and the wonderful steam engines.
Freight car with a wonderful display of fruit crate labels ..

Sorry about the glare.

Often freight cars were also passenger cars LOL

Steam engine
The mechanics of it all.

One of the docents that was helping to show a young visitor how mail was collected along the rail.

Mobile post office of days gone by.

Tomorrow the rest of our tour...including the Pixar special exhibit, and the miniature replica exhibits. 


  1. Looks like such a fun Sunday!!!!

  2. Looks wonderful. We shall have to make a trip up there.

  3. thanks for sharing. Looks like a great day out.

    My boys would love to see the trains.

    We enjoyed a ride on a steam train recently. My 3 yr old was so excited to see the tank being filled with water just like his favourite Thomas the Tank Engine.


  4. That looks SOOOO fun!! Where exactly is it?? My friend and I are taking the kids to the bay area this it near there?

  5. I love that museum! I've been there a few times and actually took my first flight there with my 5th grade class years ago! Thanks for the memories Ruby! Kori xoxo

  6. I love train rides and take one whenever I can... Of course, the ones I take look nothing like this! Oh, well, I probably wouldn't fit in their scheme. Didn't notice any Melmac place settings; did you? See what I mean? What a lovely day! I hope you have many more.


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