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California Railroad Museum


In the 1830’s, four Sacramento businessmen funded the building of a railroad to the gold mining districts.  This was so successful, and profitable, that soon they were building railroads all over the west coast, and eventually linking them to form a transcontinental rail system.  This fundamentally changed the way this country grew.

Not only did the rail lines allow for easy travel to the west coast, it opened up the east coast markets for California produce.  It was a fundamental reason why the west had the highest population growth rate ever recorded.

The story behind this venture was more fascinating than fiction.  Climbing over mountains, descending through valleys, and in extreme cold and heat made for difficult going.  It was considered the most difficult engineering feat of its time.  To commemorate this, the California Railroad Museum was built where it all started, in Sacramento.

You can easily spend a day here, it is a wonderful exhibit.  We recommend it to anyone visiting this area, even if you’re not a train buff.

The very first steam engine. This is number 1, the original.

Engine number 1 was built on the east coast, then had to be broken into small pieces that would fit in a boat hold.  It was then shipped around South America, and 7 months later was re-assembled in Sacramento.  It worked for quite a few years until newer, larger engines were built that could be transported by the new rail lines.

Another early locomotive

Very well restored

Some of the work resembles art

The largest locomotive ever built, with 6,500 HP power

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