Hollywood and Transcontinental Railroad Headline May 2 event


    Santa Monica    Santa Monica

In celebration of the 150th anniversary of the transcontinental railroad, join the Los Angeles Railroad Heritage Foundation on Thursday, May 2, as we commemorate this milestone and unveil our latest “satellite” history exhibit in Philippe’s French Dip Restaurant in downtown Los Angeles. Our new exhibit celebrates Hollywood’s portrayal of the Golden Spike with dinner and a talk by LA historian Marc Wanamaker!

The romance of the Golden Spike and the meeting of Union Pacific and Central Pacific rails in 1869 was a favorite subject of early Hollywood. In 1925, just 56 years after the golden spike ceremony at Promontory Summit in Utah, Fox Film produced the adventure film Iron Horse, directed by John Ford and starring George O'Brien. Then in 1939, one of the greatest film directors of all time, Cecil B. DeMille, created his big-screen vision of the story with the movie Union Pacific – this time with sound. More recently, the AMC television series Hell on Wheels dramatized the race to Promontory and was honored with a trainload of award nominations.

LARHF will bring these three film epics to its satellite display in rarely seen photographs and large scale railroad models of the saga. Even better, to celebrate Union Pacific’s extraordinary steam locomotive program and the restoration of massive “Big Boy” steam engine no. 4014 (of LA Fairplex fame), LARHF will match our O-gauge no. 4014 with an equally beautiful model of “living legend” engine no. 844, previewing the actual ceremony that will take place May 9 in Odgen, UT with the real locomotives.

The special evening on May 2 will begin at 6:00 pm with a Philippe’s French Dip dinner including salad and drink, followed by our special guest who will unveil the display and talk about Hollywood’s love of trains, especially the Promontory story. Following Marc’s short talk, Philippe’s will present the movie Union Pacific on its big flatscreen TVs.

Cost is $25 for this milestone evening, which will help fund our continuing mission of preservation. Deadline for reservations is Thursday, April 25. Purchase tickets online below, or email us at info@larhf.org for more details.

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LARHF at Summer Train Festival at LA Union Station


LARHF is proud to host a booth at this year’s Summer Train Festival at Los Angeles Union Station on Saturday, July 14, from 10 am to 5 pm. We’ll display historic railroad and transit photos and sell our beautiful Route 66 Railway book for $35. Look for us in the main waiting room.

The second annual event is free and will be a fun event for all ages! Come and see the following:

- Amtrak and Metrolink equipment displays.

- Privately-owned rail cars from the golden age of train travel: 1940s streamlined California Zephyr cars Silver Lariat and Silver  Solarium, plus 1923 Santa Fe business car Redwood Empire, lounge Utah and the National Forum from the Pacific Railroad Society.

- Model railroad displays and tutorials from the Los Angeles Model Railroad Society, High Desert Modular Model Railroad Club, the Del Oro Pacific Large Scale Modular Railroaders and top private model-railroad collectors.

- 360° virtual reality stations

- Classic cars & food trucks

- Displays from the California High-Speed Rail Travel Town Museum in Griffith Park.

- A kids’ zone with Thomas the Tank Engine, games and much more!


LARHF hosts California State Railroad Museum Foundation directors


On June 20 and 21, the Los Angeles Railroad Heritage Foundation hosted the board of directors and staff of the California State Railroad Museum Foundation in Sacramento, beginning with an evening reception at LARHF's offices and a morning tour of historic Los Angeles Union Station

The board and staff of the CSRM Foundation - the nonprofit fundraising arm of the world-class rail museum in downtown Sacramento - visited the Foundation's offices in Eagle Rock on the evening of Wednesday, June 20. They learned about LARHF's mission, our Scout Merit Badge program, the satellite exhibits in restaurants and public spaces around the Southland, book projects, and our photography and rail memorabilia archive. Route 66 Railway author Elrond Lawrence was on hand to sign books and photograph the session. 

Santa Monica    Santa Monica

The following morning, CSRM foundation members & staff gathered again at the east portal of LA Union Station for a tour of the "Last of the Great Stations" built in 1939. The whirlwind tour included a walk through the modern but equally stylish Metro Transit Authority building, where the group stopped to admire several enormous murals before a stop at the cafeteria balcony that overlooks rows of Metrolink and Amtrak trains waiting to depart. 

Santa Monica    Santa Monica

Joe Lesser, chief executive officer of LARHF, then led the group back to the east entrance and under the tracks to the station's historic west end. In a high-tech touch, the CSRM group used a LARHF visual guide on their phones that illustrated tour stops with archive photos sof the same locations during the "golden age" of train travel before and after the station's debut in May 1939. A stroll through the handsome waiting room was followed by a stop to view the cavernous former ticketing concourse and the main entrance from Alameda Street before the CSRM group departed for meetings in downtown LA. 

We were thrilled to host President Cheryl Marcell, her staff and the CSRM Foundation board, and we look forward to collaborating on rail preservation and education projects in the future!


"Streetcars and the Movies"

Hollywood Field Trip


On Saturday, April 21, LARHF supporters experienced an exciting day visiting the Pacific Electric Headquarters at 6 and Main Streets and the Subway Terminal tunnel/Toluca Yard LARHF satellite display, tunnel portal and substation. From downtown Los Angeles, we followed the two Pacific Electric routes to Beverly Hills and returning from Beverly Hills, the third route from downtown to Beverly Hills via Venice Blvd. and San Vicente. Special guest Marc Wanamaker of Bison Archives accompanied the trip and guided us through Hollywood’s early days of moviemaking.

Saturday – April 21, 2018

The Field trip left promptly at 8:30 a.m. from the Los Angeles Union Station East Portal Bus Plaza. Our Lion Express motorcoach proceeded to the PE Headquarters to visit highlights of the building with a private tour of the 8th and 9th floor penthouses. The Jonathan Club occupied these two top floors for its exclusive club activities from 1905 through 1925. Mr. Henry Huntington’s private luxury penthouse was also on the 8th floor.


Next we rode crosstown to the Belmont Apartments which were built on the PE Toluca Yard at the mouth of the subway that ran from the Subway Terminal Building on Hill Street. LARHF has an extensive satellite display in the grand lobby of the Apartments, that traces with rare photographs all of the construction phases of the tunnel and yard.

Noted Hollywood historian and curator, Marc Wanamaker pointed out early movie locations and studio landmarks along the PE Western Division routes as well as today’s film and television studios. During the day’s sightseeing, we saw three PE substations; Toluca Yard, Olive and Burlington. We enjoyed lunch at Barney’s Beanery, the famous West Hollywood icon. After lunch we circled the vast Sherman Yard then followed the original PE right-of-way to Beverly Hills and retuned to downtown LA via Burton Way to San Vicente, passing the Vineyard Junction location passed under the West Boulevard Bridge in to Venice Boulevard. Everyone raved about the day!


Bill Everett Passes at 92


Bill Everett, LARHF’s dear friend and colleague, passed away on December 14th in Santa Barbara. Bill was a renowned artist/craftsman who scratchbuilt hundreds of O-scale trolley car models. He was particularly drawn to modeling trolley cars of the Pacific Electric Railway and the Los Angeles Railway, as well as cars from all over the Western United States.

Bill and his dear wife Betty lived long lives in Santa Barbara. Betty passed away in 2015 at the age of 98. She encouraged Bill to build his models and accompanied him throughout the world to ride the trolley systems. Bill worked for five years for the Santa Barbara police department and then 22 years for the California Highway Patrol.

His Pacific Electric layout was featured in Model Railroader magazine and other periodicals. He was the author of Mule Car and Trolley, the story of the Santa Barbara Street Railway, and served as a historian and lecturer on trolley and streetcar lines throughout the United States.

Joe Lesser, CEO of LARHF, and Bill had a remarkable friendship and Joe has kept Bill’s legacy alive with ongoing LARHF “satellite” displays located throughout Southern California. The most recent extensive display was seen at Philippe’s French Dip in downtown LA entitled “Once Upon a Streetcar.” Of the 72 western models that Bill has gifted to LARHF, 32 were on display.

All of Bill’s models gifted to LARHF continue to be displayed, both in our ten public “satellite” exhibits and in LARHF’s Eagle Rock offices. Anyone who would like to visit our offices and view the impressive collection are more than welcome to contact us and arrange a visit.

   Santa Monica    Santa Monica   

We’re grateful to Bill for his talents and generosity, and for preserving an incredible history of traction transportation for future generations to enjoy.


Click Here to View the Bill Everett Collection


12th Annual Archives Bazaar


Saturday, October 21, 2017

Doheny Memorial Library

USC University Park Campus




For more than 20 years, the L.A. as Subject consortium has brought to life the diverse, often hidden stories that make Southern California such a fascinating place of discovery. In 2005, the Los Angeles Archives Bazaar inaugurated a day to give anyone with an interest in the region’s history a one-stop opportunity to interact with dozens of archives, from large institutions to private collectors. In all, more than 70 archives are represented at this event, which is free and open to the public.

Look for LARHF's display, including its photo archive, and its new book Route 66 Railway - Revised and Expanded  by Elrond Lawrence. 


Boy Scout Merit Badge Class


Saturday – October 7, 2017

8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Boy Scouts – $25.00 each

(Fee includes Workbook - Notebook - Morning Snack - Spikes - Handouts)


The Class was held in the METRO Headquarters building at One Gateway Plaza on the 3rd floor in the Henry Huntington Room

(The building is located at the east end of the LA Union Station above the parking garages)


The Merit Badge class began promptly at 8:30 a.m. At 11:30 a.m. the class broke for lunch. Following lunch we rode the METRO Gold Line to the Del Mar Station in Pasadena to see an early Santa Fe Depot and experience, 1st hand, rail safety. Upon completing the Gold Line ride, we return to the Los Angeles Union Station for a tour and then had the “blue” cards signed by LARHF’s Merit Badge counselors.


Boy Scout Merit Badge Class


Saturday – June 10, 2017

8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Boy Scouts – $25.00 each

(Fee includes Workbook - Notebook - Morning Snack - Spikes - Handouts)


The Class was held in the METRO Headquarters building at One Gateway Plaza on the 3rd floor in the Henry Huntington Room

(The building is located at the east end of the LA Union Station above the parking garages)


The Merit Badge class began promptly at 8:30 a.m. Following lunch we rode the METRO Gold Line to the Del Mar Station in Pasadena to see an early Santa Fe Depot and experience, 1st hand, rail safety. Following the Gold Line ride, we returned to the Los Angeles Union Station for a tour and the signing of your “blue” card by LARHF’s Merit Badge counselors.