By Mary Forgione
Daily Deal and Travel Blogger
10:30 AM EDT, October 9, 2013
San Luis Obispo on Saturday is marking the grand opening of a new railroad museum that's housed in a Southern Pacific freight house built around 1894. The museum tells the story of the city's important 19th century link in the coastal rail line that joined San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Exhibits and displays detail the old narrow-gauge Pacific Coast Railway that ran between Avila Beach and San Luis Obispo, the difficult tunnel and track work along the Cuesta Grade (a route Amtrak's Coast Starlight still chugs along today) and the arrival of the Southern Pacific Railroad.
The long-awaited opening (it's been 20 years since the city and the nonprofit museum teamed up to make it happen) coincides with the fifth Central Coast Railroad Festival this weekend in San Luis Obispo and nearby locations.
The museum at 1940 Santa Barbara St., near the existing Amtrak station, is to hold an opening ceremony starting at 11:30 a.m. with comments from its board members and the mayor, followed by a reading of "Engine Number Ten" by author Rose Ann Woolpert, model railroad and historical displays, musical performances and tours.
Events are free and open to the public. The museum will be open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. the second Saturday of each month.
The Central Coast Railroad Festival starts Thursday with private rail-car trips from L.A. to San Francisco on the Silver Splendor and continues with entertainment, railroad shows and more train trips over the weekend, ending Sunday.
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