DANVILLE -- An exhibit at the Museum of the San Ramon Valley is opening people's eyes to the world of electric trains, a popular form of transportation before BART became the common train in the Bay Area.

The museum is hosting the exhibit "Before BART," which showcases the electric railroad trains that connected cities and towns in Contra Costa County before the Bay Area Rapid Transit system was built.

The exhibit, which runs through Aug. 19, features artifacts that curator Beverly Lane said the public rarely sees, including models of the electric trains and railroad lanterns that light up.

Photographs revealing all aspects of the trains are also on display. Photos include detailed maps of the routes they would take throughout the county as well as trains traveling through scenic backdrops of the now lesser-traveled parts of the Bay Area.

According to Lane, the trains, which ran throughout the Bay Area and up into Sacramento, were "plush" with cushioned, comfortable seating and dining cars.

"These trains were really very spiffy," she said. "There are a lot of nostalgic memories about the trains. They were a large part of people's lives."

The electric railroad trains were prominent in Contra Costa from roughly 1913 to 1939, before cars and the internal combustion engine became the more popular way to travel.


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The museum is at 205 Railroad Ave. Exhibit tickets are $5 for families, $3 for adults, $1 for children and $2 for students with an ID. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Sundays from 12 to 3 p.m. For details, visit www.museumsrv.org or call 925-837-3750.

Contact Katie Nelson at 925-847-2164. Follow her on Twitter at katienelson210.

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a railroad read:
Couldn't get enough of the electric railroads and want to learn more? Take an even further look at what transportation in the Bay Area used to be like with "Before BART: Electric Railroads Link Contra Costa County." The book, written by museum curator Beverly Lane, will be sold for $5 at the Museum of the San Ramon Valley beginning Saturday.
EXHIBIT HOURS:
Tickets are $5 for families, $3 for adults, $1 for children and $2 for students with an ID. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 3 p.m. For details, visit www.museumsrv.org or call 925-837-3750.