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Museum’s Focus

Since 1989, the SBHRS museum has accumulated a collection of railroad artifacts, some of 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 Control (CTC) machines. We have many examples of these items on display for public viewing. Additionally, we have an operating wigwag signal, an operating H-2 style search light signal, and a double bladed SP style B lower quadrant semaphore signal.

Also on display are copies of original right-of-way railroad maps, many dating back as far as the 1860s. Most of these maps have not been published or displayed outside of our museum.

Another focus of the museum is the display of artifacts from former railroad employees. We are interested in the working life history of these employees and displaying artifacts that tell a story. We currently display artifacts from several former railroad employees.

Our latest acquisition is the historic Oregon-Washington Railroad & Navigation business car No.184 donated to us in 2012 by Ralph Domenici. This car is exterior restored and we will be restoring the interior over the next couple of years for display.

The museum also includes large operating N-scale and HO-scale model railroad displays depicting non-specific western railroading. Many of the railroad artifacts are displayed around the model railroad displays and give a truly unique historic ambiance and feeling of what railroading is about.

In 1996 the SBHRS received the Governors Historic Preservation Award in recognition of its efforts relating to historic preservation. Historic preservation has and will continue to be a SBHRS focus.


South Bay Historical Railroad Society, Inc.

A 501(c)(3) non-profit public benefit corporation

1005 Railroad Avenue
Santa Clara, CA 95050
(408) 243-3969
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