The Emigrant Train Program

  The Emigrant Train Program is an interactive experience that runs approximately 40 minutes, followed by a 45-minute train ride. Students meet at the Central Pacific Railroad Passenger Station and explore travel on the Transcontinental Railroad in the 1870s. Staff members in period attire describe the emigrant travel to students, who experience what it was like to travel across the country in a rail car with no added luxuries. This hands-on experience engages students’ interest and heightens their awareness of a time when travel by railroad was a novel experience. At the conclusion of the program, students walk next door to the railroad depot and board the waiting train for a 45-minute excursion along the Sacramento River.

  “A New Way to Travel.” The program begins in the waiting room of the passenger station where students learn about the history of travel to California and the impact of the first Transcontinental Railroad.

“Packing For the Move: What Goes and What Stays?” Students learn about important items to pack for the journey; volunteers choose essential items to pack for the cross-county trip and describe the items to the rest of the class.

“We’re All in This Together: Conditions on an Emigrant Train.” Students board a nineteenth-century passenger train to experience what travel by emigrant class would have been like. (This train remains stationary).