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Restored SNRR Motor 654 operating at the museum at Rio Vista , California 2007.

By Bill Larkins - SNRR654in2007, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=29361769

The Birney and Magic Carpet cars.

CC BY-SA 3.0, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8032915

Western Railway Museum
The Western Railway Museum, in Solano County, California is located on Highway 12 between Rio Vista and Suisun. The museum is built along the former mainline of the Sacramento Northern Railway. Their collection focuses on trolleys, as it is primarily a museum of interurban transit equipment.

The Western Railway Museum has the largest collection of Sacramento Northern Railway equipment in existence, and the museum also operates a line of the former Sacramento Northern as a heritage railway with scheduled excursions for visitors.

The museum is operated by the Bay Area Electric Railroad Association (BAERA), a non-profit organization.

History
The Bay Area Electric Railroad Association was started by a group of San Francisco Bay Area rail fans in 1946. The group was specifically interested in electric traction, more than main line railroads. Other groups such as the California/Nevada Historical Society usually had meetings and excursions on main line subjects. BAERA held monthly social meetings, frequently showing members slides and movies to the group. The BAERA also had excursions on the many street car lines and Interurbans in the Bay Area. As a result of an excursion over the Key System the Association purchased Key System 271 a wooden street car that had started out in Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania. Soon other cars were given by members or purchased for the Association. These included Sacramento Northern 62, a Birney street car built in 1920. The car ran local service in Chico, California until 1947 and had the last 5-cent fare in the State of California.

A number of passenger and work cars were obtained when the Key System abandoned operation of its last rail line across the Bay Bridge in 1958. But time, money and effort needed in constantly moving the equipment from place convinced the members that a permanent location for their railway museum was needed. Property was located at Rio Vista Junction, a former station stop along the Sacramento Northern Railway near Suisun, California in 1960. BAERA became a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational corporation in the 1960s, and created as its major project the California Railway Museum, later renamed to the Western Railway Museum (to avoid confusion with the California State Railroad Museum). Significant events at the Western Railway Museum include: purchase of 22 miles of Sacramento Northern in 1994, dedication of a Visitors Center in 2001, and starting in 2002, construction of the Loring Jensen Memorial Car House with attendant fire suppression system, officially opened in May 2008. The Association also publishes a newsletter called the Review.

Collection
The BAERA maintains a substantial archive of materials relating to street railway, interurban and rapid transit subjects - focusing, of course, on the Bay Area. The archive occupies a climate controlled space in one of the newer buildings.

The Association owns about 100 pieces of railroad equipment, mainly from the electric railroads of the West, but also several Western Pacific Railroad pieces including two steam locomotives. Equipment is in a wide range of conditions, and some equipment is maintained fully operational. For example, Petaluma and Santa Rosa 63, Peninsular Railway 52, Salt Lake and Utah 751, and Sacramento Northern 62.

The interurban car Sacramento Northern 1005 (originally Oakland, Antioch and Eastern 1005) has been a focus of restoration activity in the last 10 years. The BAERA operated many excursions in its early years, and this car was used quite frequently. It was often hauled around in freight trains to reach an excursion site, and sometimes suffered damage in these trips, including a badly bent frame in June 1962. The damage has been repaired and the car has been restored to its 1934 configuration.

The collection also includes a railroad line. This is a section of the original Sacramento Northern Railway from Montezuma (near Collinsville) north to Dozier, also a newer rail line west from Dozier to Cannon (near Vacaville). The railroad was acquired with rails and ties intact, however the electrification had been removed in 1953. The Association is reinstalling the electrification from Rio Vista Junction southward, currently reaching Bird's Landing Road, about six miles.

Interurban Car - Condition Notes
Bamberger No. 400 - awaiting restoration
Cedar Rapids & Iowa City No. 111 - operational
Central California Traction Co No. 010 - awaiting restoration body only
Key System No. 182 - operational recently repaired.
Key System No. 186 - stored
Key System No. 187 - operational
Oakland Antioch & Eastern No. 1020 - operational former SN motor #1020 restored as trailer
Oregon Electric No. 1001 Champoeg - cosmetically restored restored as trailer usable in train
Pacific Electric No. 457 - awaiting restoration body and trucks only
Peninsular Railway No. 52 - operational
Peninsular Railway No. 61 - awaiting restoration
Petaluma and Santa Rosa No. 63 - operational
Portland Traction Co. No. 4001 - operational recently restored
Richmond Shipyard Railway No. 561 - operational
Richmond Shipyard Railway No. 563 - cosmetically restored
Sacramento Northern "Bidwell" - awaiting restoration body only
Sacramento Northern No. 1005 - operational recently restored
Salt Lake and Utah No. 751 - operational
Salt Lake Garfield and Western No. 306 - incomplete restoration
San Francisco and Napa Valley No. 63 - awaiting restoration
San Francisco-Sacramento No. 1019 - awaiting restoration former SN motor No. 1019
Interurban Electric Railway No. 358 - awaiting restoration body only
Interurban Electric Railway No. 600 - awaiting restoration body only
Interurban Electric Railway No. 602 - awaiting restoration body only
Interurban Electric Railway No. 603 - awaiting restoration body only
Tidewater Southern No. 200 - awaiting restoration
San Diego Trolley No. 1017 - operational recently acquired
San Diego Trolley No. 1018 - operational

Streetcar - Condition Notes
Blackpool Transit No. 226 - out of service bad traction motor
East Bay Street Railways No. 352 - operational
Key System No. 271 - out of service needs electric and brake work
Key System No. 987 - Out of service bad traction motor
Market Street Railway "San Francisco" - awaiting restoration body only
Melbourne and Metropolitan Tram Board #648 - operational
Pacific Gas and Electric Co No. 46 - awaiting restoration
Pacific Gas and Electric Co No. 63 - awaiting restoration
Presidio and Ferries No. 28 - awaiting restoration body only
Sacramento Electric Gas and Railway No. 14 - awaiting restoration
San Francisco Municipal Railway No. 1003 - operational
San Francisco Municipal Railway No. 1016 - operational
San Francisco Municipal Railway No. 1153 - awaiting restoration
San Francisco Municipal Railway No. 1258 - operational
San Francisco Municipal Railway No. 178 - operational
Stockton Electric No. 52 - awaiting restoration
Sacramento Northern No. 62 - out of service

Locomotive - Locomotive Type - Condition Notes
Central California Traction Co. No. 7 - electric No. box motor - operational
Kennecott Copper Corporation No. 407 - electric steeple cab - displayed
Kenecott Copper Corporation No. 700 - electric steeple cab - displayed
Kenecott Copper Corporation No. 771 - battery-operated steeple cab - stored
Key System No. 1001 - electric steeple cab - operational Example
Sacramento Northern No. 146 - 44 ton diesel - under restoration
Sacramento Northern No. 602 - electric box motor - awaiting restoration
Sacramento Northern No. 652 - electric steeple cab - cosmetically restored
Sacramento Northern No. 654 - electric steeple cab - operational
Salt Lake Garfield and Western DS2 - 44 ton diesel - awaiting restoration
San Francisco and Napa Valley No. 100 - electric box motor - awaiting restoration body and trucks only
Visalia Electric No. 502 - 44 ton diesel - operational
Western Pacific No. 94 - 4-6-0 steam locomotive - displayed
Western Pacific No. 334 - 2-8-2 steam locomotive - stored

Car - Car Type - Condition Notes
East Bay Transit Co. No. 1011 - wrecker operational displayed
Key System No. 1014 - wrecker - awaiting restoration body only
Key System No. 1201 - line car - operational
Key System No. 1215 - shop switcher - out or service
Key System No. 1218 - line car - awaiting restoration
Sacramento Northern No. 1 - portable substation - operational
San Francisco Municipal Railway No. 0109 - rail grinder - operational stored

Car - Car Type - Condition
Oakland Antioch and Eastern No. #2002 - flat car - restored
Central California Traction No. 1017 - flat car - incomplete restoration
Central California Traction Co No. 2001 - box car - restored
Central California Traction Co. No. 3001 - box car - restored
Denver and Rio Grande Western No. 63383 - box car - restored
Great Northern No. X 344 - caboose - incomplete restoration
Pacific Fruit Express No. 20420 - Refrigerator Car - awaiting restoration
Richmond Fredericksburg and Potomac No. 2289 - box car - restored
Sacramento Northern Railway and1632 - caboose - restored
Sacramento Northern Railway No. 2314 - box car - awaiting restoration
Sacramento Northern Railroad No. 2136 box car awaiting restoration
Shell No. SCCX 662 - tank car - restored
Southern Pacific No. 150340 - gondola - awaiting restoration
Western Pacific No. 10429 - hopper car - restored
Western Pacific No. 1025 - tank car - awaiting restoration
Western Pacific No. 741 - caboose - awaiting restoration

The museum today
Visitors can take a 1.5 mi (2.4 km) street car ride and/or a 10 mi (16 km) Interurban ride, picnic at the shaded grounds, browse in the Bookstore and view small exhibits in the Visitor center. Also in the Visitor center is the Depot Cafe, and F. M. Smith Library and Archives which are open two days a month for research and browsing. Also available are self-guided car house tours and guided car house tours.

The museum is open on weekends throughout the year and for extended hours during the summer.

Western Railway Museum Overview
Former name: California Railway Museum
Established: 1960s
Type: Railroad museum
Chairperson: John Haviland
Curator: Allan Fisher
Owner Bay Area Electric Railroad Association

Phone: 707-374-2978
Official Website: http://www.wrm.org/
Sacramento Northern Railway Historic District
U.S. National Register of Historic Places
Location: 5848 State Highway 12, Suisun City, California
Coordinates: 38°12′12″N 121°52′28″W
NRHP Reference Number: 12000402
Added to NRHP: July 11, 2012

See also:

Sacramento Northern

Key System

Streetcars

Rail Musems

Western Railway Museum logo
Restored SNRR Motor 654 operating at the museum at Rio Vista , California 2007.
The Birney and Magic Carpet cars.