For the first time in 10 years, Old Sacramento’s Central Pacific Railroad Passenger Station has re-opened its doors to the public, giving guests the chance to explore the station while stepping back in time (circa 1876).
Access to the station is given via an admission ticket to the Railroad Museum, which means a single ticket gets you both into the museum and the station. Once inside, visitors gain an understanding of 19th century train travel complete with separate waiting rooms for men and women. On the platform, historic train equipment (such as a working freight scale for example), passenger cars from the 1870s and more await visitors along with voice boxes and interpretive signage.
As a highlight inside the Passenger Station, guests can also view the crowd-favorite J.W. Bowker steam locomotive that was featured in the 1939 film Union Pacific and last operated in 1953.
Just outside the station, all visitors to Old Sacramento can view an eye-catching Union Pacific caboose and two impressive Santa Fe steam locomotives 2925 and 5021 from the Museum’s prized collection. In fact, these two Santa Fe locomotives were recently repainted – complete with historically accurate silver lettering – thanks to the California State Railroad Museum Foundation’s strong financial commitment and hard work by paid staff and volunteers.
Even though the station was on a 10-year hiatus to the public, it remained in active use as a housing area for the Museum’s rolling stock, overnight storage for locomotives, railroad equipment and periodically as the site for special events and educational programs. The re-opening is made possible by California State Parks and the California State Railroad Museum & Foundation.
Similar to the California State Railroad Museum, the Passenger Station is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Combined Railroad Museum and Passenger Station admission is $10 for adults, $5 for youths (ages 6-17), and children ages five and under are free.
Note that the Passenger Station may be closed to the public periodically during The Polar Express Train Ride and other educational programs.
For more information about the California State Railroad Museum and historic complex, please call 916-323-9280 or visit californiarailroad.museum.
Photo courtesy of the California State Railroad Museum (CP Depot Hahn 1874)