Westward Bound

Westward travel on the Transcontinental Railroad represented a triumph against time for nineteenth-century travelers. First-class tourists expected a luxurious travel experience, while emigrants wanted safe passage to start their new lives in California. Set on the site of the 1876 Central Pacific Passenger Station in Old Sacramento State Historic Park, Westward Bound explores what it was like to travel on the Transcontinental Railroad and how it made the transportation of people and goods easier, safer, and cheaper than ever before.

This FREE program is available for 4th or 5th grades only.

The total program time is a little over 2 hours. The classroom portion takes 1 hour, followed by a break before the 45-minute train ride.

This Program is Sold Out for the 23-24 school year

For other field trip options, please visit our pages about
the Horses to Horsepower program or the self-guided tours.

There is also a digital version of this program available.

About the Program

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  • Be a Telegrapher: Telegraph operators needed special skills to send important messages for trains on the Transcontinental Railroad. Students learn how to send and receive telegraph messages like telegraphers from the 19th century!
  • Letters From the Train: Transcontinental Railroad travelers marveled at the sites they saw as they traveled West on the train. They wrote letters describing their amazing adventure. Can you guess what they saw by filling in the blanks of traveler’s letters? Your answers may surprise you!
  • Who Traveled on the Transcontinental Railroad? Nineteenth-century travelers rode the train for work, pleasure, and to start new lives. When travelers’ trunks get mixed up in baggage claim, students discover what those travelers brought with them on their journeys west.
  • What was the nineteenth-century travel experience like? Find out by exploring our Central Pacific Railroad Passenger Station and ride a historic train after your program.

This program does not include admission to the Museum. It takes place inside the passenger station in Old Sacramento.

Train Ride Information

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  • Westward Bound participants will be supplied with tickets for the 11:30am train on the same day.
  • Participants should arrive 30 minutes prior to the departure time.
  • These historic rail cars are not accessible and cannot accommodate wheelchairs. All passengers must be able to climb a narrow set of stairs to board. Please contact 916-445-5995 for questions about accessibility on the train.
  • Please contact the CSRM Group Desk if you cannot make the train ride so the slot can be opened to another group.

More About The Train Ride

This program already includes a train ride. Additional reservations are not necessary.

Field Trip Guidelines

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  • A minimum of 1 adult chaperone should be present for every 10 students. Chaperones are responsible for the care, safety and actions of group members while visiting the Museum. Please remember, chaperones must remain with their groups for their entire visit to the Museum.
  • A brief, mandatory orientation by staff will help students and chaperones remember museum guidelines and enhance the learning experience.
  • Plan a time and place for your group to meet after the visit.
  • The Westward Bound program does not include admission to the Museum.


Please contact the California State Railroad Museum Group Desk if you have any questions or to make reservations over the phone.

[email protected]
(916) 323-9274