California State Railroad Museum


California State Railroad Museum



California State Railroad Museum - Pre-War Lionel Train Layout

The Thomas Sefton Collection is a multi-million dollar exhibit of classic pre-WW2 trains and accessories, with this layout as its centerpiece. Conceived as an educational look at beloved toys from yesteryear, the collection includes some rare and wonderful toy train artifacts from that era, many of which are displayed on the layout itself.

With all the wonders in this restored museum, this nostalgic interactive display is a central draw to the museum for kids of all ages.

Each of the four independent main lines is activated by a button on a podium outside the display that the visitors push sending replicas of the classic locomotives whizzing around the layout, their tin-plate rolling stock happily clanking along behind them. After a preset period, the trains pull to a halt allowing the next visitor to start the process over again.

Some of the rarer static artifacts are highlighted by special LED spotlights activated by more push-buttons on the podium next to a description of the object. This helps visitors pick out and learn more about these wonderful toys.


Enjoy this video and then check out all the key statistics on the specifications page.


Here’s what our client has to say . . . .

"The toy train layout SMARTT created is state of the art and the center piece of the "Small Wonders: The Magic of Toy Trains" which is one of the finest toy train exhibits in the world. This exhibit and the train layout continue to be one of the biggest and most popular attractions at the California State Railroad Museum. I would give my high recommendation to Scale Models, Arts, and Technologies to anyone interested in contracting for a scale model or toy train layout."

B. Stiny
Museum Curator III
California State Parks


California State Railroad Museum - Pre-War Lionel Train Layout

Location: Sacramento, California

Scale: Lionel Pre-war Standard Gauge / O Scale 3-Rail

Dimensions: 14 ft x 38 ft glassed-in showroom layout

Number of Modules: 8

Total Turnouts:
  • 6 Standard Gauge

  • 1 Classic Standard Gauge original artifact

  • Standard Gauge - MTH

  • O Scale - Lionel Tin-plate

Control System:
  • Custom interactive timer based control started by viewer push-button

  • Interactive push-button spotlights highlight specific items described on educational kiosk.

Track Specifications
Standard Gauge Mainline 1 Standard Gauge Mainline 2Standard Gauge Mainline 3YardStandard Gauge TotalO Scale Mainline 4
Trackage (ft.) 8684563028642
Max. Grade %
Min. Radius (in.) O83O71O42O42-O30