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Alpine Community > Cover the Cars

Orange Empire Railway Museum

The Orange Empire Railway Museum has assembled a nationally recognized collection of historic railway equipment from throughout the Western United States, with special emphasis on the railroads that helped build Los Angeles and Southern California: the Los Angeles Railway, Pacific Electric, Santa Fe, Southern Pacific and Union Pacific. The Museum’s Permanent Collection is comprised of 170 cars and locomotives, and another 60 railcars are on the property as part of our Support Collection.

Although we already have five carhouses and other major facilities, only 40% of the collection has an indoor home. With almost fifty years gone by since the Museum’s founding in 1956, the deterioration caused by outdoor storage is now reaching a critical point for many of our irreplaceable railcars and locomotives. There are simply not enough resources available to continually work on tarps, roof repairs and conservation paint jobs for over 100 pieces of equipment stored outdoors.

Your help is essential so that we can “Cover the Cars”. Imagine having only pictures instead of the real thing when reminiscing about wooden railcars from the early 1900s or Los Angeles ’ “Big Red Cars”. Each year the Museum hosts hundred of visiting school children and gives them an opportunity to learn about the history of Southern California through the vantage point of our historic railway collection. Our efforts now will ensure that their children and grandchildren will in turn be able to experience this same educational opportunity.

We are constructing a 64,000 square foot building that will double the amount of indoor space we now have for our collection. By early 2004, $600,000 had been set aside for the project, and the goal of raising an additional $400,000 within two years was set. As of May 2007, the building is complete along with the track inside. Work is underway to construct the yard and lead tracks that will connect the building to the remainder of the Museum railway and allow the cars to start moving inside. Our $400,000 target has been met through donations and the sale of a surplus piece of rolling stock. Thanks to your help, another substantial portion of our historic collection will soon move out of the elements.

Please join with our museum membership and friends from throughout the rail preservation community by giving to the “Cover the Cars” capital campaign. Orange Empire Railway Museum is recognized by the IRS as a 501 (c) 3 non-profit corporation, and all donations are tax deductible.

Carhouse Seven: Facts and Figures in Brief

Campaign Goals: Construction of the building, track and related infrastructure is budgeted at $1,000,000.

Building Specs: All metal, 104 feet by 600 feet, 6 tracks inside, each with a roll-up door at the front of the building (and two at the rear of the building), skylights and an automatic fire sprinkler system.

Capacity: 3,600 track feet, room for about 65 railcars and locomotives

Strategic Importance: Carhouse Seven will double our current indoor storage capacity, add much greater flexibility in presenting our collection to the public, and anchor our planned Railcar Preservation Complex.

Additional Project Improvements: Railcar storage yard on the east side of the building, additional trackage to accommodate future elements of the Railcar Preservation Complex, expansion of our water line and fire hydrant system, improved fire access roadways. and as a condition of approval by the City, Museum entrance and parking lot improvements.