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The Jackson Street Roundhouse

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating
User Rating 4 Star Rating (1 Review)


The Bottom Line

The Jackson Street Roundhouse is part of the Minnesota Transportation Museum. Housed in a restored roundhouse is a collection of vintage trains and railroad memorabilia for nostalgic grandparents and train-loving grandchildren.


  • A great activity for grandparents and grandkids
  • An impressive restoration by hundreds of dedicated volunteers


  • A real museum with sharp edges - keep an eye on the kids


  • 193 East Pennsylvania Avenue
    St. Paul MN 55130
  • Telephone 651-228-0263
  • Take the Pennsylvania exit from I-35E. The museum is 200 feet west of the freeway. Look for the vintage buses outside.

Guide Review - The Jackson Street Roundhouse

There's two kinds of people who think trains have cow-catchers, big spoked wheels, and funnels belching smoke: kids raised on Thomas the Train and grandparents who remember real steam trains running on Minnesota's railroads.

It's a stereotype but every Saturday the Jackson Street Roundhouse in St. Paul is full of grandparents and their grandchildren admiring the trains.

The 1907 Roundhouse, a former steam train maintenance facility, was used as a warehouse after steam trains stopped running in Minnesota. The Minnesota Transportation Museum restored the building and repaired the turntable. As well as the trains, the Museum's headquarters and a train restoration facility are here.

Little ones will appreciate the classic steam trains, and ringing bells and whistles, and pretending to drive their own train. Nostalgic parents and grandparents will enjoy the art deco passenger cars, locomotives dating from the turn of the century up to 1960s behemoth diesel engines.

This is a genuine old roundhouse, not an all-corners-padded children's museum. There's real gaps to fall down between the trains and the rails, and real pickaxes to topple, and real trains running on the tracks, and the one visitors can ride in has a really hot brazier keeping it warm in the winter. So keep an eye on the kids, especially younger ones.

For less than the price of a Thomas The Train figure, this museum is a great value for train loving children, parents, and grandparents.

User Reviews

Reviews for this section have been closed.

 4 out of 5
Coal Smoke and Happiness!, Member Andrew_Tighe

This facility is a step back in time, giving people a look at a time of coal smoke, fast trains and an entirely different America. Walk in and the first thing you see are a series of photos that show engines in a roundhouse interior. There are still smoke stains on the walls. Displays are well set, carefully explained and the visibility factor is high. Volunteers are everywhere, making sure things go well. Ask about the shop tour! It's definitely a working facility as the sparks were flying when we walked in. 85 ton passenger cars, diesel locomotives undergoing work and a 175 ton steam locomotive under restoration are just a few of the sights ""back in the shop"". It opens your eyes to see volunteers handling chunks of iron & steel the size of trucks. It's a hands-on and wonderful experience. I'll say it again, this is a working facility on the shop side, so stick with your guide! We found out that every month they have a movie that's oriented around trains or set on a train. Evidently the movie nights are well attended, so check with the cashier. Very highly recommended!

3 out of 3 people found this helpful.

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