Virginia & Truckee 21 J.W. Bowker - Baldwin-built 2-4-0 switcher constructed in 1875; sole surviving example of this type. Stored outdoors in the Central Pacific Passenger Depot.
The California State Railroad Museum in Old Sacramento is a tribute to the role of the "iron horse" in connecting California to the rest of the nation. The museum is located at 111 I St in Sacramento.
The museum features 21 restored locomotives and railroad cars, some dating back to 1862. There is a full-scale diorama of an 1860s construction site high in the Sierra Nevada, featuring the locomotive Gov. Stanford, as well as a bridge elevated 24 feet (7 m) above the museum floor.
A reconstructed passenger station and freight depot circa 1867 is one block from the museum. During the summer, a steam train takes visitors from the depot to Miller Park and back along the Sacramento River using their tourist line, the Sacramento Southern Railroad. The Sacramento Southern Railroad owns the abandoned Southern Pacific Walnut Grove Branch right-of-way that extends south from Sacramento along the eastern bank of the Sacramento River. A few miles of track were rebuilt along the levee near Freeport, California as part of a US Army Corps of Engineers project. The CSRRM hopes to one day have a longer excursion line, perhaps as far as Hood or Walnut Grove, California. At that location the railroad passengers could disembark the train and take a tourist steamboat back up the Sacramento River to Old Sacramento.
The museum has its origins in 1937, when a group of railroad enthusiasts in the San Francisco Bay Area formed the Pacific Coast Chapter of the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society. This organization worked for years to promote the idea of a railroad museum, donating 30 historic locomotives and cars to the California Department of Parks and Recreation to be the nucleus of a State-operated museum in Sacramento. The Museum's first facility, the Central Pacific Railroad Passenger Station, opened in 1976. The Railroad History Museum was completed in 1981. Steam-powered passenger train service on the Sacramento Southern Railroad began in 1984, with the Central Pacific Railroad Freight Depot opening three years later. Railtown 1897 State Historic Park in Jamestown was added to the Museum complex during 1992.