2013 Heritage Grants Announced

The National Railway Historical Society (NRHS) has announced 16 recipients of its annual National Railway Heritage Grants program. The 2013 grants total $50,000 and are awarded to organizations such as historical societies, museums, and railroads including some that are affiliated with the NRHS as Chapters.

Six of this year’s recipients are NRHS chapters while others include historical societies, museums, and operating railroads. Projects range from the restoration of rare locomotives, rolling stock, and trolleys to the digitization of rare artifacts and the collection of oral histories. For the first time, a grant was awarded to a railroad landmark listed on the society’s “most at-risk” list announced in April 2013. Through these varied projects, NRHS funding will leverage hundreds of thousands of volunteer hours and in-kind matching donations—all in support of railroad preservation.

Since 1991 the NRHS has provided nearly $600,000 to rail preservation efforts, awarding matching grants for projects that preserve, research, educate or publish railway history. Ninety five grants have been awarded to NRHS chapters while 142 have gone to other organizations – many of them for projects endorsed and supported by NRHS chapters. Funding is provided by additional gifts to the society.

This year’s grants total $50,000 and were given to the following recipients:

$5,000 to the NRHS Alexander Chapter in Hickory, NC, to purchase materials and parts to restore two rare, narrow gauge passenger cars rescued with the assistance of an NRHS Heritage Grant in 2012.

$3,350 to the Bay Area Electric Railroad Association in Suisun City, CA, to refurbish Portland Traction Co. interurban car no. 4001 and return it to operation on the association’s National Register-listed railway.

$2,500 to the Branford Electric Railway Association in East Haven, CT, to repair hurricane damage to Brooklyn & Queens Transit no. 1001, the first production PCC trolley, built in 1936.

$2,500 to the Electric City Trolley Museum in Scranton, PA, to restore to running condition the “Electromobile,” the former Scranton Transit Company car no. 505 built in 1929 by the Osgood Bradley Car Company.

$5,000 to the Empire State Railway Museum in Kingston, NY, to remediate the last surviving New York Central Railroad heavyweight dining car Lion Gardiner, listed on this year’s Most At-Risk List, as part of a phased, multi-party restoration project.

$650 to the NRHS Cincinnati Chapter in Cincinnati, OH, to preserve and convert to digital format historic 8mm films of various railroad subjects.

$2,500 to the George L. Carter Museum/NRHS George L. Carter Chapter in Johnson City, TN, to collect oral histories of Southern Appalachian railroading in partnership with the East Tennessee State University.

$5,000 to the Louisville &Nashville Historical Society Archives in Bowling Green, KY, to digitize, preserve, organize, and store original blueprints, maps, and mechanical drawings of the Louisville & Nashville Railroad. The records date back to the 1880s and are the sole surviving copies.

$2,500 to the Lake Superior Railroad Museum in Duluth, MN, to purchase boiler and superheater tubes for former Duluth, Missabe and Northern no. 332, a 1906 Pittsburgh Locomotive Works 2-8-0 being returned to operation.

$2,000 to the Gold Coast Railroad Museum in Miami, FL, to repair glass in the dome of the Silver Crescent, a former California Zephyr observation car.

$5,000 to the NRHS Lackawanna & Wyoming Valley Chapter in Scranton, PA, to restore to operation the trailing truck and booster unit of Boston and Maine 4-6-2 no. 3713 to operation. According to the chapter, the restored booster will be the only operating unit of its type in the US.

$1,500 to the Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum in Nevada City, CA, to purchase materials to restore the rare Westside Lumber logging car no. 253.

$2,500 to the New England Electric Railway Historical Society/Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, ME, to purchase brake and control stand components for Laconia-built Bay State Street Railway Car no. 4175, completing a 30-year, $112,000 restoration.

$2,500 to the NRHS Promontory Chapter in Taylorsville, UT, to cosmetically restore Denver, Rio Grande & Western SD40T-2 no. 5371. The EMD diesel was also owned by Southern Pacific and Union Pacific but retained its Rio Grande number and colors.

$2,500 to the NRHS South Oregon Chapter in Medford, OR, to rebuild or replace the injectors, the water sight glasses, the blowdown valves, the safety valves, the oil firing controls and associated piping of Medford Corporation (Medco) no. 4, a Willamette-geared steam locomotive.

$5,000 to the Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington Railway Museum in Alna, ME, to complete the operational restoration of WW&F locomotive no. 9 with a replicated "Russia Iron" style boiler jacket. No. 9 dates from 1891 and is one of only two surviving products of the Portland Company. The restoration of the Russia Iron jacket will employ a new technology that the museum hopes will prove useful to the preservation industry.