#18: Museum of Transportation

The Museum of Transportation is located about 20 minutes southwest of downtown St. Louis and was founded in 1944. As the Gateway to the West, St. Louis has been a major transportation hub for over 200 years. Due to its location at the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, the two largest on the continent, St. Louis has been a major river port as well as the starting location for the Lewis and Clark expeditions. Later on, St. Louis became a major railroad hub on the Union Pacific railroad network stationed along 3 of their routes. St. Louis’ Lambert Field is one of the world’s oldest airports and was the home base for Charles Lindbergh and his plane, the Spirit of St. Louis. For 22 years, St. Louis was the hub for Trans World Airlines before it declared bankrupcy. St. Louis was also located on historic Route 66 and is at the intersection of 4 major Interstate highways: 44, 55, 64, and 70. In short, St. Louis has a long and diverse history of transportation.

Trains on trains on trains
Trains on trains on trains

While, St. Louis has a diverse history of transportation, the museum’s focus is on trains. The museum has a direct spur track to the Union Pacific railway which gives it the ability to obtain historic trains.  It currently has 70 trains, making it one of the largest locomotive collections in the country. There are trains from every decade since the 1850’s. Also worth a look is the museum’s small, but good car collection. Most of the cars date back to the 60’s, which is considered the golden age of American muscle cars and the height of Route 66.

The museum’s amazing collection is certainly worth the trip. While most Americans don’t use trains anymore, they are an important part of our history and our present.

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