The California State Railroad Museum is a museum in the state park system of California, USA, interpreting the role of the "iron horse" in connecting California to the rest of the nation. It is located in Old Sacramento at 111 I Street.
The museum features 21 restored locomotives and railroad cars, some dating back to 1862. The "Sierra Scene" shows a large scale mockup of a construction scene high in the Sierra Nevada representing Donner Pass circa 1867, featuring the locomotive Gov. Stanford. Other exhibits show how the influence of railroads changed American society, influencing travel, commerce and daily life, as well as the lives of railroaders and the diversity of people who work on railroads.
Changing exhibits featuring photography, ephemera, and artifacts from the museum's collection, add depth and incidental information to the overall story of railroad history. The Museum has an extensive educational program for elementary students from across the region to help them learn about railroad history using re-enactments, costumed docents, and including train and handcar rides.Adjacent to the main museum building is a reconstruction of the 1870s-era Central Pacific Railroad passenger station and freight depot on Front Street, which houses historic and contemporary railroad equipment. In early 2011, the interior remained closed to public use, but is occasionally open for special events.
During the summer, the Sacramento Southern Railroad, operated by the museum, takes passengers on a 40-minute, 6-mile roundtrip route along the Sacramento River on a portion of the Walnut Grove branch of the former Southern Pacific Railroad. The Sacramento Southern Railroad owns the 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, California. At that location the railroad passengers could disembark the train and take a tourist steamboat back up the Sacramento River to Old Sacramento.