Saint Paul: The City of Trains

Saint Paul: The City of Trains

4 Ways to Experience Saint Paul's Robust Train History

How much do you know about Saint Paul's train history? There is so much to experience and learn here in the Capital City. From model trains to moving trains, Saint Paul has a historical past of railroads and those who led the way.


Twin City Model Railroad Museum

Located in Saint Paul's Midway neighborhood, you will find a historical collection of model trains at the Twin City Model Railroad Museum. The museum was founded in 1934 by a group of modelers who formed the St. Paul Craftsman Club to build an O-gauge model railroad. Previously residing at several locations and experiencing numerous name changes, the Twin City Model Railroad Museum has grown into a world-class museum that is open to visitors and train lovers today.

Don't miss Twin City Model Railroad Museum's annual Night Trains - the museum’s collection of model trains of all scales and toy trains of yesteryear come alive throughout the Museum during the winter holiday season.


Union Depot

Photo captured by @thenorthlander793

Union Depot in Saint Paul is a historic railroad station and intermodal transit hub located in the Lowertown neighborhood. Over the years, there have been two Union Depots in Saint Paul. The first was completed in 1881 and combined the services of several different railroads into one building. In 1888, the old station had its peak year, handling eight million passengers and roughly 150 trains daily before it burned down in 1915. Today, it serves as the main terminal for the light rail, local bus services, the Twin Cities' stop for Amtrak, and an event space and community hub.

Don't miss Union Depot's annual Train Days - a summer celebration of trains and transportation in Saint Paul.


Minnesota Transportation Museum

Photo captured by @tryppadams

Minnesota Transportation Museum (MTM) is located at the historic Jackson Street Roundhouse. Built in 1907, this building was originally a steam engine maintenance facility for The Great Northern Railroad and was one of the last roundhouses built by the “Empire Builder,” James J. Hill.

Located near downtown Saint Paul just northeast of the State Capitol, Great Northern had sold the complex in 1960. The Roundhouse was then remodeled as a warehouse/industrial building. All the tracks were removed, and an addition was built where the turntable used to be before the Museum at Jackson Street Roundhouse opened in 1999. 

Today, t@tryppadamshe Minnesota Transportation Museum offers numerous activities such as tours of the Jackson Street Roundhouse to learn about the history and scheduled excursions to explore parts of Minnesota by train.


James Hill House

Photo captured by @minnstagram3

James Jerome Hill was a Canadian-American railroad director and the chief executive officer of a family of lines headed by the Great Northern Railway, which served a substantial area of the Upper Midwest, the northern Great Plains, and the Pacific Northwest. The James J. Hill House, located on Summit Avenue, was completed in 1891 and was the largest and most expensive home in Minnesota. The Minnesota Historical Society acquired the house in 1978, and was recognized as a National Historic Landmark in 1961. Today, the house is open to the public for tours and private events.

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