Before BART: Electric Railroads Link Contra Costa County

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This exhibit traces the evolution of the electric railroad system in Contra Costa County during the 20th century.  Beginning in 1913 the Oakland, Antioch and Eastern Railway (OA&E) connected communities within the county and beyond for 85 miles.  After 1929, the Sacramento Northern Railway provided 176 miles of interurban electric service from Oakland, through Contra Costa County to Sacramento and Chico.  It was the longest main line electric railway in the United States.  The last passenger train of the Sacramento Northern ran in 1941.  The exhibit features a moving HO model set up with the Contra Costa stations of Canyon, Saranap, Walnut Creek, Concord, Clyde and others shown.  A Thomas Train for kids will be set up and there are many photographs of the trains and the original stations.  The exhibit will also be open on the third Saturday of each month from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. as well as each Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Admission is free.

Bill Frohlich March 22, 2012 at 03:42 PM
I went to see this exhibit in downtown Martinez. Although on its on the small side, they have a good collection of artifacts and I really liked it. Quite interesting.
Scott April 17, 2012 at 06:34 AM
Harriett, you forgot to note that we'll also be opened on Saturday, the 21st, from 10-2.
Jed May 24, 2012 at 04:17 PM
The history of the railroads in this area is great to learn about.... but having a "Thomas" there is just wrong! Thomas has NOTHING to do with ANY railroad history! It's a cartoon folks! Keep little kids separated from the areas where people are actually interested in learning the history of railroads, not in babysitting somebody else's little brats with "choo-choos". Yes, I've heard the argument that this brings 'interest' about trains to little kids... and that's fine - just not around the more serious venues. To little kids trains are just about play - and PLAY areas should be AWAY from LEARNING areas of adults and older children. Let them come back when they are interested in history (and can be QUIET without grabbing everything)! If the parent(s) are interested in history - leave the kidlings at home or outside with a sitter or the other parent.


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