Note: the Capital Campaign to build the Ruffulo Carhouse successfully concluded in 2008. This page has been left on the website to tell the story of this successful campaign and to chronicle the construction of this major new facility.
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 February 2008, the building is complete along with the track inside, and two of the six tracks are now sheltering our historic cars and locomotives. Work is underway to construct the remaining yard and lead tracks that will connect the rest of the building to the Museum railway and allow more cars to move 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 into a protected environment.
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.
The Ron Ruffulo Carhouse: 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: The Ruffulo Carhouse 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 parking improvements.
More Project Details
Construction of the building, along with the track and related roadway, drainage and utility improvements is budgeted at one million dollars. The building itself, complete with doors, gutters, roof ventilators and sprinkler system, makes up about $630,000 of that cost. This cost does not include any type of floor inside the building. Costs to extend the Museum’s underground waterline to the building site and provide the requisite number of hydrants add another $132,000 to the budget ($92,000 already expended, $40,000 budgeted for the remaining work), while permits and fees related to obtaining the building permit tallied up to $71,000. The cost of the concrete slabs that the rails will be bolted to inside the building is budgeted at $122,000. Costs for civil engineering, building electrical, construction of the required trackage for the yard are anticipated to bring the costs up to the one million dollar mark by the time the cars are resting inside.
The six tracks that run the length of the building will be on 15 foot centers, excepting the middle pair of tracks, which are on 18 foot centers to provide extra clearance around the center column line. (For comparison purposes, Carhouse Four has 17 foot track centers, while Carhouse Two has 12 foot centers). The resulting aisle width inside Carhouse Seven will be between 5 and 6 feet depending on the width of the railcars or locomotives which are parked on the tracks. The center and side aisles are a bit wider.
Carhouse Seven will give the Museum the ability to rotate exhibits into and out of the various display areas; it's located in a non-public area of the Museum site, and will serve as the Museum's "attic", storing artifacts in a protected environment, while the other carhouses and various outdoor exhibit areas provide a place for the public to view and interact with the collections.
Prior to the commencement of the project in April of 2004, $600,000 had been set aside by the Board of Directors from a combination of sources. Several bequests were earmarked for the project, including over $200,000 from the estate of Mercedes Glenn. Several significant “seed money” donations had also been received, including one from longtime Museum benefactors Ward and Betty Kimball. Augmenting these gracious gifts was the sale of several pieces of railway rolling stock that were either duplicates or outside of the Museum’s mission statement (three San Francisco streetcars returned there in 2003, and in 2005 British Columbia Electric Railway interurban car 1225 returned to Canada and New Orleans streetcar 913 was sold to the San Francisco Muni. The rolling stock sales provided $489,000 towards the project.
In March of 2008, the building was named the Ron Ruffulo Carhouse in honor of the Museum's long-serving Buildings Superintendent. Ron has worked as an OERM volunteer since 1958, and has had a hand in constructing all of the buildings on the grounds. His decades of hard work have helped preserve OERM's collection and have helped the organization to grow through the addition of many key facilities.