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For Immediate Release

July 2, 2024



Megan Villapudua, 916-801-3175

California State Railroad Museum Foundation


Applications accepted now through August 16 to participate in pilot program

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The California State Railroad Museum (CSRM) is preparing to launch a new online program titled “Rail Innovation in Action” designed for high school students interested in real world problem solving and learning about the future of railroads. Supported by the California State Railroad Museum Foundation and working in partnership with The Lemelson-MIT (LMIT), a national leader in advancing invention education, the first-year focus of the virtual program will center on powering locomotives and reducing the environmental impact (from diesel electric to fuel cell).

“This unique program represents philosophy in action. CSRM is more than a museum, it is an active laboratory of learning and a museum without walls,” said Dr. Ty Smith, Museum Director of the California State Railroad Museum. “By having young people throughout the nation engaged with invention and innovation education, especially in the area of rail innovation, CSRM and LMIT help people to imagine their futures through understanding our collective past. Railroading is central to who we are as a people, but it is not merely a part of our distant history, it is fundamental to our present and future. The next generation of rail engineers, inventors, and innovators may not exist yet, it is our job to create them.”

Students will have the opportunity to engage with guest experts in the modern rail industry, work on lab simulations and in group exercises, and participate in career talks.Prior experience about railroading is not required to participate in this pilot program, simply a desire to gain knowledge, acquire new skills, and learn how to work collaboratively to problem solve.

“The program is exceptionally high quality and will have a significant impact on those that are able to participate,” said Stephanie Couch, Executive Director of the Lemelson-MIT Center. “We also want young people to discover challenges they can help solve if they choose to pursue a college/career path related to the transportation sector. In this first offering, students will work in teams to identify a research topic, an idea for an app, or an idea for an invention that solves a problem they care about.”

The “Rail Innovation in Action” course will take place in three-hour sessions on six consecutive Saturdays starting on September 28, 2024, and applications are open now through August 16. The accessible and free online program is open to high school students of all backgrounds and interests who are based locally, regionally, or nationwide. At the conclusion of the interactive course, participants will receive a certificate of completion plus develop research and invention skills that are transferrable to college and future career endeavors.

To apply or find our more information about the new “Rail Innovation in Action” program, please visit And, for more information about the California State Railroad Museum or Foundation, please visit

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About The Lemelson-MIT Program
The Lemelson-MIT Program is a national leader in efforts to prepare the next generation of inventors and entrepreneurs. Our work focuses on the expansion of opportunities for people to learn ways inventors find and solve problems that matter to improve lives. Our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion aims to remedy historic inequities among those who develop inventions, protect their intellectual property, and commercialize their creations.

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About the California State Railroad Museum Foundation

The mission of the California State Railroad Museum Foundation (CSRMF) is to generate revenue and awareness on behalf of its destinations, while supporting the preservation, interpretation, and promotion of our railroad heritage. The Foundation provides funding for ongoing support of numerous programs, both at the museum's Old Sacramento location and at the historic park in Jamestown, Calif. For more information, please visit