California Trains, Trams, Cable Cars and Museums Photo Gallery

California features hundreds of train, tram and cable car rides, museums and experiences. California has an amazing collection of antique and historic trains, many of them available for rides.


As you tour California, you'll notice trains continue to provide a viable form of transportation in major cities. Though Californians love their automobiles, rail systems in San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Jose and San Diego offer tourists an enjoyable and affordable ride to and from one attraction or destination to another.   BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit), MetroRail, VTA and San Diego's no-nonsense San Diego Metropolitan Transit System ( system all offer clean, comfortable rides that often cross-platform two or three types of vehicles that include trains and electric rail, buses and hybrid-energy buses or trolley-style vehicles.  The state of California is serviced by Amtrak and includes a special route along the coast via the Surfliner. Surfliner is an elegant-looking silver train with blue treatments, reflecting the ocean theme. We've ridden many of the buses and trains and find them incredibly fun as tourist attractions.  For serious "getting around", you'll need to ask locals or get maps to determine the most effective method of travel.  California's major cities sprawl into other destinations for hundreds of miles, making it almost impossible to use the rail alone.  For your convenience (and ours) as we travel throughout California, we love to drive but often must fly.  See the California Airports section for other exploration.


Los Angeles is building an extensive public transportation network. Trains and buses connect to the MetroRail which now extends to Pasadena, San Bernardino and Long Beach.  There are a number of antique trains and train museums in Southern California and throughout the state.  Red cars, the MetroRail of the early to mid-1900's are immaculately kept in Seal Beach and in a museum that's restoring them in San Pedro. A train museum in Perris has an extensive collection of old trains. Fillmore has an antique train that actually offers rides in which guests dine, go on murder mystery dinners or ride to a forest to cut their own Christmas tree. 


See Roaring Camp in Felton for an example of the fun you can experience, Knotts Berry Farm, the Skunk Train from Fort Bragg to Willits and even the Napa Wine Train. Perhaps the finest collection of antique trains is located in Old Sacramento at California State Railroad Museum ( From a single Red Car in Seal Beach to many trains and rail cars at the Orange Empire Railroad Museum in Perris (, Golden Gate Railroad Museum in San Francisco (, Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad (, Travel Town Museum at Griffith Park near the L.A. Zoo in Los Angeles, Western America Railroad Museum in Barstow ( and Western Railway Museum in Suisun (, there is no shortage of antique trains to enjoy throughout the state.


The granddaddy of train museums is a fabulous facility in Sacramento, the California State Railroad Museum. In northern California historic trains are abundant, with many beautifully restored to their original splendor.  Unique train experiences, train rides and train museums hold fascination for adults and kids. Santa Cruz steam and beach trains at Roaring Camp in Felton draw hundreds of children to special events celebration Thomas the Train, a fictional character children love to read about.

In Napa Valley, the wine train is extremely popular. It offers sunset rides along the Napa Valley where guests can relive the romance of days gone by. Sipping fine Napa wines, dining on scrumptious meals and viewing the verdant hills are but a few of the simple pleasures enjoyed on this fantastic experience.

San Francisco cable cars are a phenomenon you wouldn't believe unless you stand in line to take a ride. The station near the Maritime Museum sometimes has a line of people that wind around the street for half a mile, just to ride an electric trolley! 


In San Diego, trains, trolley cars and buses work extremely well and are quite affordable. They not only shuffle commuters to and from work in northern San Diego County where you can ride the Coaster, they also provide an extensive network, connecting tourists to the theme parks, Balboa Park, Old Town and Tijuana, Mexico. 


Though civilization rushes quickly into space, the next frontier, there's an allure for trains and trams.  Children stand in awe at their massive size.  California offers many trains to explore.

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