With your admission ticket, you can take a step back in history and explore the trains and railroad cars used to haul people and cargo at the Arizona Railway Museum. They have a massive collection of restored trains and railroad cars that you and your family can touch, walkthrough, and explore.
Your ticket includes a self-guided tour of the rail yard, where you can view the rail car displays. There are placards located around the yard that describes each piece of equipment. They also have someone wandering around that you can get some questions answered. They also offer group tours for an extra fee but schedule a time in advance.
When you first walk through the front door, you will notice they have a replica of the old Chandler train station. They have artifacts from inside a train station and an example of a switching station.
Since it is a self-guided tour, you are free to explore at your own pace, and there is a bunch to see. We wandered through the passenger rail cars in front. There are examples of rail cars from the very early years to almost modern times. It was interesting to see what it was like in a sleeper car. Some of the rooms are larger than I thought they would be. I can only imagine what it was like to travel back then, but it would have been interesting. They also had dining cars with an example of a bar.
The museum has the Southern Pacific Railroad Locomotive No. SP 2562 and Tender No. 8365 steam locomotive on display. The locomotive was built in 1900 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. You can climb into and stand in the driver area and get an idea of what driving a train was like back when steam was king. “We need more steam; shovel more coal in!” No idea if they said that, but I can imagine they did. It must have been sweltering with the boiler going.
The museum is open from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM on Saturdays and Sundays from Labor Day to Memorial Day. You can get an idea of the admission price here.
Before you leave, the museum also has a small gift shop. They, of course, have train-themed merchandise like t-shirts available for purchase. You might find something special for the train enthusiast in your family.
Arizona Railway Museum
330 E. Ryan Road
Chandler, AZ 85286