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Railroad Technology Museum

Railroad Technology Museum
Prakash Tendulkar


Southern Pacific Railroad (SP) started constructing a huge workshop over 240 acres of reclaimed marsh land near Sacramento in 1888. It was eventually called "Central Workshop" as it became a key workshop to erect and maintain locomotives and rolling stock.

This site had three major buildings in addition to turntable and transfer table. Boiler shop, Erecting shop and Car Machine shop and Blacksmith shop. In addition, there are many other smaller buildings; all are slated for preservation.

When Union Pacific Railroad (UP) acquired SP in 1996, this workshop was slated for closure because UP had another workshop with similar facilities in Roseville, CA, just a few miles north of Sacramento.

In early 90s, SP and Santa Fe Railroad (SF) had negotiated a deal for merger and it looked certain that Federal Government will approve it. In anticipation, SF moved her classic collection to this depot.

The Feds, however, derailed the deal. SF was acquired by Burlington Northern to form BNSF and SP was acquired by UP.

CSRM negotiated with UP to get hold of this depot and land surrounding it. They succeeded and escrow will close in June 2005 allowing State of California to lease this land and the buildings on it for a token price over the next 99 years.

CSRM already has an access to and privileges over the buildings for the last five years or so. They have rebuilt the transfer table and converted it into electrically operated one. Boiler shop and erecting shop have been cleared off the junk and are now operating as restoration depot for locos and rolling stock.

They operate facilities to rebuild power plants, boilers, drive mechanism for locos, repair and maintain rolling stock including upholstery. Smaller organizations that do not have necessary skills or facilities to maintain their locos, use this workshop as an alternative.

CSRM is looking forward to convert this facility into Railroad Technology Museum where visitors will be offered guided tours so that normal work is not disrupted.

In addition to employees of CSRM, a large pool of volunteers and donors have made her one of the most well known RR Museum in this country.