Transcontinental Railroad 150th Anniversary


Commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the Transcontinental Railroad

2019 marks the sesquicentennial of one of the most pivotal events and achievements in the history of the United States, the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad. Join us to commemorate this monumental occasion with events, activities, exhibits, and more throughout April, May & June.

April 2019

New Exhibits

To commemorate this historic occasion, the California State Railroad Museum has developed and updated exciting new exhibits. In April come experience our new exhibits and learn more about the Transcontinental Railroad.

Theodore Judah was the first engineer to systematically explore the western Sierra Nevada Mountains and map the route of the Central Pacific Railroad. This is the first time the 66’ map from California State Archives has been on public display in its entirety.

On display through May 31, 2019.


Heritage Event

Heritage Rail Conference in Sacramento

April 25–27, 2019

A gathering of railroad historians and supporters from throughout North America will help kick off the anniversary. Information on events open to the public to follow.

May 2019

Parade Ses Event

Sesquicentennial Community Day

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Free outdoor festivities start at 10 a.m. at the Old Sacramento State Historic Park. School groups and the general public are invited to celebrate!

  • Historic re-creation of the parade that took place on May 8, 1869.
  • Complimentary rides aboard the Sacramento Southern Railroad throughout the day.
  • Transcontinental Railroad melodrama playing in the historic Eagle Theatre.
  • Community Picnic on 1849 Scene (Front Street, between I & J Streets) featuring:
    • Docents and historians will be available to tell stories of the Transcontinental Railroad.
    • Live music.
    • Cap off the day with an 1869 themed happy hour at participating restaurants and bars throughout Downtown and Old Sacramento Waterfront. Enjoy railroad themed eats and drinks where it all began 150 years ago.
Dinnerparty Ses Event

Sesquicentennial Gala benefiting the California State Railroad Museum Foundation

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Join us as we commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Transcontinental Railroad. Enjoy an evening of dinner, dancing and a private walk through one of the most foundational and influential moments in the history and growth of our young country.

  • Cocktails begin at 6 p.m.
  • Dinner at 7 p.m.
  • Black tie optional.

Click here to become a Gala Sponsor.

Memorial Day Event

Waterfront Days – An Old Sacramento Heritage Event

May 24-26, 2019

Come visit on Memorial Day weekend for three days of engaging, educational festival fun. Education day is Friday. Festival days are Saturday & Sunday.

The 150th Celebration continues throughout the Region!

Our friends are joining in on the fun

Keep an eye out for food and drink specials at our favorite bars and restaurants throughout Midtown, Downtown and Old Sacramento Waterfront.

California Automobile Museum

A special one-month display will be at the Museum in May 2019, highlighting how locomotives and railroads influenced the design of passenger automobiles and roadways.

Center for Sacramento History

Open now - October 2019: The Sacramento Shops, a new exhibit showcases the work done at the railyards including engineering plans drawn by hand and images capturing the assembly of massive "iron horses." The exhibit documents how Sacramentans played a leading role in spanning the continent with iron rails.

Crocker Art Museum

The region’s premier art museum celebrates the meeting of the rails with the exhibition The Race to Promontory: The Transcontinental Railroad and the American West, a show of 40 photographs and stereographs documenting the railroad’s arduous construction and moments of completion on view from June 23 – September 29, 2019.

Locke Boarding House Museum

Open now through March 2019 - two new exhibits featuring the contributions of Chinese workers who helped build the Transcontinental Railroad with some artifacts provided by the California State Railroad Museum.

Roseville Utility Exploration Center

During the month of May 2019, the Center will celebrate Roseville’s rich railroad history with a photo display highlighting how the railroad influenced the growth of the City. Railroad-themed interactive activities will also be featured at the Center in May.

Sacramento Historic City Cemetery

A guided walking tour will give guests a glimpse of those connected to the Transcontinental Railroad who are buried in this historic city cemetery.

Sacramento History Museum

A new exhibit focusing on the effects of the railroad on Sacramento’s landscape and people debuts on May 16, 2019.

SSVMS Museum of Medical History

An exhibit dedicated to the history of Railroad Hospitals and Physicians will start on February 1 and continue through August 30, 2019.