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Oceano Train Depot

A critical historic site for the development of San Luis Obispo County, the Oceano Train Depot now stands as a museum and community center. The museum features artifacts from the early Chumash people and the depot’s heyday, as well as exhibits about the so-called “Duneites” of the Oceano Dunes. Visitors can enjoy learning about the area from inside one of its most historic and impactful buildings.

Historic Oceano Train Museum

The original Oceano Train Depot was built in 1896 to accommodate freight and passenger service through the little town. As such, the depot became a bustling hub of activity, with trains and telegraph service at its center. The depot burned completely down in a 1903 fire, but was swiftly replaced by a new one by the Southern Pacific Railroad – the same building that stands today.

After 1920, with the changes brought about by automobile travel, trucking, and the Great Depression, the Depot’s importance started to wane. In the 1950s, passenger service, mail and telegraph service came to a halt. The building continued to see shipment of vegetables from the Arroyo Grande Valley until 1973, when the depot was shuttered and slated for demolition. Fortunately the Oceano Improvement Association drummed up community support to save the depot as a museum and gathering place. Southern Pacific reached an agreement with the group and plans for renovations got underway.

Today, the Oceano Train Depot invites visitors, guests and locals to explore its interpretive displays, artifacts, and even its two full-sized historic train cars.

Oceano train station
The Oceano Train Depot was built in 1896.

Model Railroad Days

Typically held the first and second weekends of April, this longstanding model train show brings enthusiasts together to celebrate the art of model building. As part of the San Luis Obispo Model Railroad Association, admission to this event is free and open to the public. The Oceano Depot sells snacks and used or donated model trains and accessories.

Rock & Roll Dining Nearby

Looking to take your historic railroad adventure to a higher level? Try the nearby Rock & Roll Diner, an entire restaurant housed in a 1946 dining car and a 1947 lounge car. Try American, Mexican and Greek specialties surrounded by vintage memorabilia.

Oceano Train Depot on Highway 1
The Oceano Train Depot is available for public, self-guided tours.

Other Railroad Adventures Nearby

Central Coast Railroad Festival

Don’t miss this early October event, which celebrates railroading on the Central Coast. Railroad Festival events include train excursions, entertainment, and model railroad exhibits held throughout California’s Central Coast.

Bitter Creek Western Railroad

Located on the Nipomo Mesa, this 7.5-inch gauge railroad includes 1.2 miles of mainline track, plus sidings and two rail yards. The Bitter Creek Western Railroad (BCWR) opens to the public on a limited basis for viewing and rides for kids of all ages.

Rock & Roll Diner box cars

Dine in the belly of a 1946 dining car, built by the Pullman Standard Car Company for the Burlington Northern. Or enjoy a meal inside a 1947 lounge car built by Budd Car Company once part of the “Orange Blossom Special” passenger train from New York to Miami.

San Luis Obispo Railroad Museum

Visit this beloved railroad museum which preserves and promotes the railroad history of the Central Coast. See the museum’s restored historic railroad equipment and model railroads, and learn about the area’s long railroading history.

Stewardship travel for good

The history of this part of Highway 1 is closely intertwined with the history of the railroad across the West. Take a tour of the Oceano Train Depot, one of the hubs of railway activity that helped build and establish the local infrastructure and economy. The depot is now a landmark and museum containing artifacts from the railroad and the surrounding community dating back to the early 1900s. By visiting and paying the admission fee, you’re supporting the preservation and conservation of this important Highway 1 attraction. To learn more, visit The Oceano Depot Museum