California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento

Reflections of a locomotive and an author

Reflections of a locomotive and an author

When I wrote my post introducing this trip I realised that I had not written up many of my visits to railway museums.  I won’t catch up with that now, but remember it for when I’m back at home and struggling to think of what to write about.  For now, suffice to say that this railway museum is the best one I’ve ever visited.  The number of locomotives and rail cars, their standard of preservation or restoration and the knowledge and dedication of the volunteers and guides is exceptional.

Entrance to the shed

Entrance to the shed

This first locomotive introduced a section on the construction of the railroads.  Travelling through the Cascade Mountains of Oregon as I write this, my admiration for the draftsmen, civil engineers, construction workers and early train engineers only increased.

Engine 1

Engine 1

The museum has examples of dining and sleeping cars which visitors can walk through.  My photos did not turn out well so I won’t share them, however I was amused to see that the mechanism for turning seats into berths in the carriage on display was exactly the same as I had seen on a 2-tier AC train in India.

The museum also has a carriage (which can only be peered into), in which two gentlemen lived for many years.  They would arrange for their private carriage to be attached to trains and travel across the country.  It was used as a movie set during the 20th century on a number of occasions.  The carriage is split into multiple rooms, a reception room, dining room, bedroom, bathroom and this small kitchen

Train kitchen

Train kitchen

sorting bags

sorting bags

Sorting shelves

Sorting shelves

US Post Office Car 42 has also found its way to Sacramento.  The guide in this car explained that post office workers working the train would earn more money as they needed to know many more places than those based in static post offices.  The bags used for sorting would change over the course of the route as each destination would receive its sorted bags and load unsorted mail onto the train.

He also explained that the reason the US mail-order catalogue companies are all Chicago based is because Chicago had the most train connections and therefore more destinations could be served faster as they were mailed by train.

Alongside the collection of carriages and locomotives, the museum also collects more peripheral items related to the railway, such as the dinner services used over the years by different train companies

On the upper floor, there is a collection of toy trains; many examples of Lionel trains, the most common US brand for toy trains.  There is a large model set up behind glass and visitors can press buttons to make different trains run for a predetermined duration.  Those of you who know me, won’t be surprised that I considered this model car the nicest item on display in the train set.

IMG_1122 toy car

On a shelf of German model train accessories was this ticket booth

Maerklin ticket office

Maerklin ticket office

A pissoir

Maerklin station accessory

Maerklin station accessory

And a warning sign about crossing the tracks, spelled differently to the way Deutsche Bahn now spells ‘Gleis’

IMG_1119 Gleis

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About skytash

accountant - customer service professional - polymath

One comment

  1. Pingback: Wine and water | travel tales

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