are many railroad museums all over the United States and Canada.
Some are elaborate affairs of polished brass, carpet and theater
lighting. Ours is a little different. The Western
Pacific Railroad Museum may look more like your average rail yard
to the uninformed and that's for good reason. We wanted
it that way. While the fancier museums are very
enjoyable and highly recommended to visit, the Feather River
Rail Society, operators of the Western Pacific Railroad Museum,
invites their guests to experience railroading in a
"Hands-on" environment, just like taking a walk into your local
rail yard. Experience the various jobs in the railroad
industry by riding in the caboose like a "Brakeman", oversee a
restoration project with the "Mechanical department", or even
pull the throttle on a REAL diesel locomotive yourself!
"Do I have to wear overalls and a striped hat"?
That's not necessary, though you're certainly welcome
to if that's your thing.
We actually recommend that you wear
comfortable shoes and clothing. The majority of our
collection of historic rail equipment is located
outside. Visitors should expect to do a fair amount
of walking, some of it on dirt and gravel. You will
also be doing a fair amount of climbing on ladders
and steps to access the equipment as well.
Speaking of which, sunscreen and hats are highly
advised. The Western Pacific Railroad Museum is
spread out amongst 36 acres. It is also highly
advised to keep hydrated! Guests are welcome to bring
bottled water and soft drinks, though we ask you to
please recycle your cans and bottles in the provided
recycling containers. Snacks, soft drinks and
bottled water are available for purchase in our gift
"What does it cost?" Admission is $8.00 for adults (19 and over), $4.00 for youth (4 - 18), children 3 and under are free. A family pass is available for $20.00. The family pass allows admission for 2 adults and all related children 18 and under in your party.
Train rides run weekends between Memorial Day and Labor Day and are $4.00 for adults (19 and over), $2.00 youth (4 - 18), children 3 and under are free. A family pass is $10.00 (2 adults plus any related children 18 and under.) Your train ride tickets and admissions may be purchased in our gift shop. Train ride tickets are good all day! Ride as many times as you'd like.
To run a locomotive, please see our current Run A Locomotive rates on our Run-A-Locomotive page.
"Can I bring my pet?" Absolutely. Well,
ok, let us rephrase that. While we'd prefer that you
leave your pet Alligator or Bengal Tiger at home,
dogs are most welcome, provided they are friendly and
on a leash at all times, and you clean up after your
pet. We're pet owners and animal lovers too.
"I don't see many signs prohibiting touching or
climbing on exhibits". We know, and
that's not an oversight on our part either. We
omitted those pesky signs for a reason: We want you
and your family to experience our collection in the
way it was designed and built: "HANDS-ON"! In
fact, our Museum Manager likes to tell people that "if
they leave the museum property with clean hands, they
haven't seen enough". Closed toed shoes are
advised. Although you won't get as filthy dirty
as some of our hard working volunteers while they're
working, we don't recommend wearing your "Sunday
best" either. Wear comfortable, tasteful attire that
you don't mind if it does in fact get dirt on it.
"Is photography & videography permitted?"
Absolutely! In fact, we encourage it. However, if you
are filming a commercial project, we ask that you
talk to a staff member first and receive
permission. We're easy to work with though, and have
experience with movies, commercials and documentaries
filmed at the museum.
The Western Pacific Railroad Museum is very much a
"working rail facility". As such, we ask that you
observe a few simple safety rules:
Please do not tamper with safety equipment, such as
signs, barriers, track switches, or locomotive
controls (unless you are under the instruction of one
of our volunteers or staff). As our facility is
a working rail shop and yard, consider ALL
tracks to be LIVE tracks, and as such,
expect the movement of Trains and equipment at
ANY time, on ANY track, in
EITHER direction. Yield the right of
way to trains and equipment ALWAYS, as unlike your
automobile, rail equipment doesn't stop easily or
quickly. Do not get on and off moving
equipment, even if you see our train crews doing it.
Remember, we're trained for it. You are not.
If volunteers are working on a project, you are most
welcome to watch and take photos; however, we ask
that you observe all safety devices for your safety
as well as ours. Do NOT open ANY electrical
panel marked as such. Just observe simple
safety common sense and enjoy your railroading
experience as you step back in time to the romantic
era of railroading.
"Do you have one of the old steam engines"?
Why yes, in fact we do, however, it is currently
under restoration, and more resembles an old
submarine than an actual locomotive. But rest
assured though, not only are our volunteers working
diligently to get our WP 165 Steam locomotive back
under steam, our world renowned "Steam Department" is
staffed by the absolute best in the steam world.
Given a little more time and some monetary
contributions, Western Pacific steam will return to
Portola for the first time in decades!
For more information on
the Steam Department and for updates and status of
the 165 project, visit their page.
"What else is there to see and do besides the
museum in the area?" There are plenty of
activities to appeal to the entire family. Camping,
fishing, shopping, golf, parks, etc. are abundant in
the Feather River Country. Check out our Visit WPRM page for more
details and locations.
"My relative(s) were Western Pacific employees
or model railroaders & fans of the railroad. We would
like to find a suitable home for his/her collection.
Would your organization be interested in a donation"?
Absolutely. Several of us are in fact current &
former employees or relatives of the railroad. And we
ALL have a passion for railroading. Your loved ones
collection's are in good hands and will be
appreciated by visitors for years to come.
"How old do you have to be to run a locomotive at the museum"?
All persons intending to operate a locomotive under the age of 18 years old must be accompanied by an adult and have a signed release of liability. Please see our Run-A-Locomotive page. for more information.