Sacramento: The City of Trees and Trains

by Victoria Principato

After spending a wonderful day in the foggiest city in America, Cate and I decided we could use a little warm weather and sunshine! We were able to easily take Amtrak’s bus system from San Francisco to the Emeryville Station, and from there take the Capitol Corridor train to Sacramento! Upon our arrival, we were greeted by the beautiful Sacramento station. Conveniently, the California State Rail Museum was right next door, and we were able to spend some time there checking out the exhibits. Check it out! 

It was so interesting to learn about the history behind the California State Railroad, and to see the trains that used to travel on its tracks. The massive steam locomotives were overwhelming in size, and intimidating to even stand near. Over the course of history, trains have evolved and are vastly different today than the heavy duty steam locomotives that used to transport passengers. In order to compare trains of the past with the present, Cate and I got to visit the Siemens train manufacturing facility to see how Amtrak’s trains are made.

We arrived at the beautiful Siemens facility, which is only a short drive from downtown Sacramento. Founded in 1985, Siemens has grown exponentially since its humble beginnings. Today, the Sacramento facilities has over 1,000 employees from at least 20 different countries. What was so interesting is that everyone who works at Siemens is familiar, from accountants to engineers, works closely together to ensure the company is efficiently run. We had the pleasure of receiving a tour of the manufacturing facilities from the head of Business Development. He was extremely knowledgable about both the manufacturing process and the way that the corporation was run, and said hello to almost everyone we met on the factory floor. The factory manufactures trains and street cars for clients all across the country. Check it out!

Overall, it was an incredible experience to see how the trains that Cate and I have been living in for the past couple of weeks were made! It definitely gave me a greater appreciation for the amount of work that goes into creating these machines. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for some of the details, such has the hand welded panels, next time I’m on an Amtrak train! 

Up next on our visit to the City of Trees was a tour of the city using the Social Bikes bike share system. These bikes are different than other bike share systems we’ve used because they don't require a kiosk or a particular docking station to use them! For more info, check out our post on our Week 2 Bike Share Roundup here! On our tour, we had a great time rolling through this beautiful city. We swung by the State Capitol, and even had time to ride across the gleaming Tower Bridge before we had to catch our train. Up next, the city of Sunshine, Santa Barbara!

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