Step Inside the San Luis Obispo Railroad Museum

Housed in a restored 1894 platform railroad station in San Luis Obispo is a small museum with a lot of heart. It celebrates the rich and colorful history of the California rail system and its impact on the vitality of local communities.


The San Luis Obispo Railroad Museum opened its doors in 2013 hoping to entice both locals and visitors alike with a glimpse into the vibrant world of railroading. Friendly and knowledgeable docents guide you through the exhibits, archived photographs, antique train memorabilia, and equipment. A room in the back of the museum highlights a wonderful operating 1,200 square foot HO scale model railroad. It depicts the busy transport of people and freight when the Southern Pacific and Pacific Coast Railways were at their height of operation. Outside of the depot on an adjacent platform is a restored full-sized Pullman car with most of the original lighting and glass intact. The museum is only opened on Saturday but well worth a visit.


The San Luis Obispo Railroad Museum continues to be active in the community and sponsors a variety of unique events throughout the year. Trains and Tapas is a popular evening out at the museum that offers traditional Spanish tapas and socializing. It's a way to introduce new exhibits and showcase additional collections. The non-profit organization is also working to develop an oral history program. It is one of the sponsors of the annual Central Coast Railroad Festival designed to attract interest in and provide education about the history of railroading. One of the highlights of the festival is the Pomar Junction Wine-Rail Excursions complete with live music and a scenic train ride.


The museum sells railroad themed gifts to raise money for renovations, restorations, and new exhibits. These include the usual t-shirts, coffee mugs, and caps but there are also some very cool maps illustrating historic central California train routes and stops. The depot facility is available to rent for small functions and parties. It is a perfect backdrop for Instagrammable photos and guests may experience a real train going by.

San Luis Obispo is a great place to live. The Academy Chorro offers modern apartments in a convenient location with all the amenities. It's the perfect community to call home. For more information, you can contact us anytime.