Friday, June 17, 2005

Railway muesum gets grant for display building

From Daily Republic, Fairfield, Ca. // June 17, 2005

By Barry Eberling // Staff Writer

SUISUN CITY - This train is picking up speed.

The Bay Area Electric Railroad Association received a $310,520 state grant. That's one more piece of the funding needed to construct a display building at the association's Western Railway Museum.

This 38,000-square-foot display building will cost $2.1 million, museum executive director Phil Kohlmetz said. The museum, with the state grant, has raised about $1.6 million.

But the association hasn't waited to raise all the money to get started. People can see the building going up as they pass the museum located on Highway 12 between Suisun City and Rio Vista.
"The building is probably about halfway completed right now," Kohlmetz said.

When finished, the building will display electric train cars that are in the museum's collection.
Visitors can already see restored cars inside the museum's existing buildings. They can also take a ride on an electric train through rural Solano County toward Birds Landing.

The grant came from the California Cultural and Historical Endowment Board using money from Proposition 40, a $2.6 billion state park funding initiative passed in 2002. The state awarded a total of $11.6 million to 13 projects at its May meeting. The museum car house competed with 56 other grant applications.

Assemblywoman Lois Wolk, D-Davis, in a press release praised the $310,520 grant to the railway museum.

"The Western Railway Museum is the only place in California devoted exclusively to preserving a significant but vanishing thread of our state's history, its electric railway heritage," Wolk said.

The Western Railway Museum is open from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. For more information, please visit the Web site or call 374-2978.

The Bay Area Electric Railway Association is a nonprofit organization that runs the museum.

Reach Barry Eberling at 425-4646 Ext. 232 or at

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