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Two 1/3 scale steam locomotives pulling passenger cars

Swanton Pacific Railroad

Did you know Cal Poly has a 1/3 scale railroad? Al Smith gifted not only the Swanton Pacific Ranch but also the Swanton Pacific Railroad to Cal Poly. The railroad includes live steam locomotives, a diesel locomotive and a variety of rolling stock.

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Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteers working on Swanton Pacific Railroad track

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The gauges, knobs, and levers inside the cab of the 1/3 steam locomotive.

Swanton Pacific Railroad Equipment

Inside the cab of one of the Swanton Pacific Railroad steam locomotives

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Swanton Pacific Railroad - Davenport, CA


Looking for a new volunteer opportunity?  Look no further than the Swanton Pacific Railroad.  The 1/3 scale railroad is located on the beautiful 3200-acre Swanton Pacific Ranch near Davenport in Santa Cruz County.  A dedicated group of volunteers maintain and operate the railroad on behalf of the Cal Poly College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences. 
Volunteering with the Swanton Pacific Historical Railroad Society is made for people who:
  • Are captivated by all things trains
  • Have a love for history
  • Like to be working on a fun and diverse projects outdoors
  • Want live steam maintenance or operating experience
  • Have or want machine shop, welding, construction, foundry experience, or simply a desire to work with their hands and learn new things.
The Swanton Pacific Railroad serves as an operational memorial to Al Smith who acquired and relocated the trains to the Swanton Pacific Ranch. The rolling stock consists of three one-third scale Pacific-type steam locomotives that were built for the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition, a diesel switcher locomotive and a variety of passenger and maintenance of way railcars.

2020 Events

  • COVID-19 

    • Given the current situation with COVID-19 our volunteer work weekends and other railroad events have been canceled until further notice.  

Informal Visits

  • Until the rules associated with the current COVID-19 outbreak allow us to open to the public we are not accepting any visitors at the railroad.  Please check back on this web site for any updates. 

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For more information, please contact:
Swanton Pacific Railroad
College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences
California Polytechnic State University
San Luis Obispo, CA 93407

Related Content

Swanton Pacific Ranch

Swanton Pacific Ranch

College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences

Learn more about the college


Al Smith and Cal Poly Day Open House Events

Experience the 1/3 scale Swanton Pacific Railroad.

Ride the train

Railroad Society Officers

Learn more about the volunteer officers of the Swanton Pacific Railroad Society.

Railroad Society Officers