The railroads helped shape the unique culture of the West and reunite a Civil War-torn nation. Through meticulously restored locomotives, archival photographs, and artifacts, this Sacramento museum illustrates the diverse experiences of those who built the railroads and those who used them.
Proving the Impossible
Civil engineer Theodore Judah was the pathfinder for the Transcontinental Railroad. With little more than this compass and surveyor’s tent equipment, he set off into the Sierra Nevada mountains to prove what no one thought possible -- that a railroad could scale those 7,000-foot peaks.
An Iconic Moment in Railroad History
This painting by Thomas Hill was a highly romanticized interpretation of a photograph of the completion of the last section of track joining the Central Pacific and Union Pacific railroads. The painting captures the gold spike being driven into place.
Trains Sparked the Nation's Growth?
In the late 1800s, locomotives were built by the thousands. The train became the most visible symbol of the industrial revolution that was transforming the nation.
The Only Way to Travel
First class travel, including fine dining in lavishly appointed restaurant cars, was available for those who could afford the luxury. Many of the wealthy and famous dined in comfort and style while the coach passengers often had to grab quick meals at the station.