Edward Peterman Museum of Railroad History
Developed by our former museum curator Edward Peterman, the SBHRS provides a railroad-related museum free of charge to the community. The museum consists of three major areas: the historic buildings, railroad artifacts, and operating scale model displays. For members, we also have an extensive library of railroad related books and video tapes.
The museum is set in the historic Santa Clara Depot of which it’s various structural parts were built between 1863 and 1877. The museum also includes the former Southern Pacific Santa Clara Tower (built in 1926) along with the Maintenance-of-Way Speeder Shed (built in 1926), and Section Tool House (built in 1894). The museum complex sits next to the Union Pacific (formerly Southern Pacific) Santa Clara freight yard where the San Francisco peninsula commute and Union Pacific Coast lines converge. Many freight and passenger trains can be watched each day from the loading dock of the depot including, Amtrak’s “Coast Starlight”, “The Capitols” from Sacramento, The Altamont Commuter Express (ACE) train from Stockton, “Caltrain” commuter service between San Francisco and Gilroy, numerous Union Pacific freight trains on they way between Oakland and Los Angeles, and railroad switching operations in the Santa Clara freight yard.
Since 1989, the SBHRS museum has accumulated a collection of railroad artifacts, some which date back to the 1870s and earlier. The museum concentrates on western railroads but does have a reasonable collection of Midwest and Eastern railroad hand lanterns and switch lamps.
One focus of the museum is signaling. Signaling encompasses the use of hand
lanterns, signs, switch lights, marker lights, order boards, locomotive
classification, and Centralized Train