Located in the Old Sacramento State Historic Park, Sacramento, CA, the California State Railroad Museum is the largest museum of its kind in the United States, and it is still growing. (Left and right) Scenes from the CSRM's Sacramento Southern Railroad summer excursion trains, running hourly from Old Sacramento, every summer weekend.
(Below left) The Railroad History Museum, heart of the CSRM, which also includes the Central Pacific Station Complex, along the Sacramento Waterfront, and the Sacramento Southern Railroad. Within the next few years, the next major section of the Museum will take shape in two buildings of the former Southern Pacific Sacramento Shops, within walking distance.
Railtown 1897 SHP is the California State Railroad Museum's "backcountry facility," at the old Sierra Railway Shops, in Jamestown, California. At the right is a movie, hosted on Flickr, showing Sierra No. 3 coupling up to an excursion train, in May of 2011.
Sierra No. 3 (shown at left in May of 2010, near the end of a full restoration, and under steam, a year later) is an 1891 Rogers 4-6-0, originally coal-burning, currently oil-burning, and has quite probably appeared in more motion pictures and television than any other single locomotive in the world, beginning with the 1920 Tom Mix movie, The Terror, and including the 1952 Gary Cooper film High Noon, the Petticoat Junction and Little House on the Prairie television series, and the 1990 film, Back to the Future Part III. Below, some views from the excursion train.
At left, a speeder carrying a crew of rangers and docents follows us in case of fire.
Most narrow gauge railroads, like the ones in Colorado, run on rails three feet apart, or something close to that. But in Maine, the narrow gauge railroads used only a two-foot gauge! (And the picture on the right has not been squeezed in any way.)
The Maine Narrow Gauge Museum, in Portland, is dedicated to preserving the historic relics of two-foot railroading in Maine. During the Spring, Summer, and Fall, the Museum is open daily, offering several excursion trains per day. Usually, they run this small diesel switcher, but they do have at least one steam locomotive in operating condition.
The excursion runs are not especially long, and at the end of the outbound run, the passengers have an opportunity to get out and walk around for a few minutes. I had the good fortune to be invited to ride the running boards of the locomotive for the return trip. (Once again, the movies are hosted on Flickr.)
Traveling by train is one of the most enjoyable and relaxing ways to get from point A to point B. It's the ultimate "scenic route." But bring along some reading material: if you're travelling very far, you'll be on the train for quite some time.
Shown at left, the Northbound Coast Starlight stopping at San Luis Obispo.
The National Association of Rail Passengers is a group of passenger train riders, advocates, and activists, who have been lobbying Federal and State Governments for the preservation of passenger trains for over forty years. Amtrak owes its very existence to NARP.
The NMRA is the world's largest association of model railroad enthusiasts, and has, from its inception in 1935, played an important role in developing standards to promote compatibility between model railroad products within any given scale, regardless of manufacturer, and promoting interest in this fascinating hobby.