The Susanville Railroad Depot Visitor Center and Museum is located at 601 Richmond Road, in Susanville, California.
Susanville, located in Lassen County, is a short 80-mile drive north of Reno, Nevada, on Highway 395.
Why did a railroad come to Susanville? Visitors often ask this question. For the answer, read on...
In the early 1900's a Minnesota lumberman named Thomas Barlow Walker moved his Red River Lumber Company from Minnesota to northern California because of the large uncut timber stands in this area. He arranged to have Southern Pacific Railroad build a railroad from Fernley, Nevada to Westwood, California, so he could ship his lumber to distant markets far beyond the limited demand for lumber in Lassen County.
Therefore, the railroad was not built to Susanville but rather through Susanville and on to Westwood.
The new railroad was called the Fernley and Lassen Branch of the Southern Pacific Railroad. It connected the Southern Pacific's mainline railroad in Fernley, Nevada with a new lumber mill built by Walker in Westwood, California.
Built in 1913 to serve the newly developed logging community of Westwood, the Fernley and Lassen Railroad hauled logs, shipped milled lumber, and transported passengers for over 40 years. Built by Central Pacific and operated by Southern Pacific, the railroad proved the essential link between the Westwood mill, and the railroad's main line in Fernley, Nevada.
The railroad reached Susanville in April of 1913. The rocky twisting Susan River Canyon made construction difficult beyond Susanville. The railroad did not reach Westwood until February 1914.
The Susanville Railroad Depot, a registered historic site, opened in 1927, to serve the Fernley & Lassen branch line of the Southern Pacific Railroad. The restored Susanville Railroad Depot provides an opportunity to learn local history about the railroad that once ran outside it's doors. And there's more history close by at Roop's Fort, historic uptown Susanville, and Peter Lassen's gravesite.
On behalf of Lassen Land & Trails Trust, you are invited to visit the Susanville Railroad Depot to learn more fascinating railroad, logging and local history. And when you come to Susanville, be sure to take a hike or ride a bike on the Bizz Johnson Trail as it starts right outside the doors of the Depot!
Since 1994, the historic Susanville Railroad Depot, owned and maintained by Lassen Land & Trails Trust, has operated as a visitor center and museum. The Depot serves as the official trailhead of the twenty-six mile long Bizz Johnson National Recreation Rail Trail, which originates in Susanville, located in Lassen County, California.
The Susanville Railroad Depot is open to the public year round (weekends May-October). There are scheduled activities year around which include: Nature Camp for kids, Hikes, School and group tours of the Railroad Depot Museum & Caboose, Farmer's market for local summer and fall produce, "Ride the Bus/Bike the Bizz" bicycle excursions plus plenty of visitor travel and tourist information available at the Depot.
The Susanville Railroad Depot
Visitor Center, Museum & Bizz Johnson Trailhead
601 Richmond Road, Susanville, California
The Susanville Railroad Depot & Museum will be open :
9 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursday-Sunday Memorial Day—October 31st