Local Lifestyle

December 19, 2019 By Julie Turner

Local Planner: Western Railway Museum

After a day-long excursion on an Oakland streetcar in 1946, a group of riders discovered it was to be scrapped within a week. They dug into their pockets on the spot and gathered the money to buy the car right then and there. Since that fateful day, the group has evolved into the Bay Area Electric Railroad Association, a nonprofit group dedicated to fostering interest in streetcar, interurban, and mainline electric railroad operations, and preservation of their vanishing history.

Along with the Oakland streetcar, the group has amassed interurbans and streetcars, as well as artifacts including photographs, corporate records, books, fare boxes and signage now on display at the 22-acre Western Railway Museum at Rio Vista Junction. The museum is located on one of the last remaining stretches of the old Sacramento Northern line which has been mostly abandoned and dismantled over the years.

Today you can plan a visit to the museum to experience more than 50 historic cars on display, 21 miles of excursion track and 22 acres that makes it ideal for families and group outings to view historic railway exhibits, take vintage streetcar and interurban train rides, picnic on the grounds, and visit the museum store, library archives and Depot Cafe. Throughout the year, visitors can enjoy seasonal outings and special events hosted by the museum. The museum also welcomes volunteers to help with a wide range of areas such as museum and railway operations to the ongoing development of the museum’s archive.

The museum is located at 5848 State Highway 12 in Suisun City and operates year-round on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:30 am until 5 pm. During the summer, from mid-June to mid-August 18, the museum is open Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays from 10:30 am to 5 pm.

Inclement weather may limit museum operations and occasionally the operating schedule varies according to volunteer or staff availability or mechanical issues. Track maintenance days are the second and fourth Saturdays each month, which can modify the schedule. For up-to-date information on daily operations, please call 707-374-2978.


Want to receive a monthly round-up of our most popular posts?