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  • See you next year Thomas!
  • First Free Saturday!
  • Experience the E-Unit
  • Drive a Locomotive!
  • Adopt a Project
  • Train Rides
  • February Newsletter +

    The February Steam and Steel newsletter is available on our newsletter link (Under Events). The file is 6 mb, so please give it some time to load, before refreshing the page.
  • Day Out with Thomas coming in March! +

    GCRM is proud to announce the upcoming Day Out with Thomas 2014! Thomas will be visiting on the first two weekends in March. Visit the Day Out With Thomas events page for more information and how you can purchase tickets!  
  • GCRM's Founder Passes +

    It is with great anguish and sorrow that we must make the following announcement.  William Jennings Godfrey, Jr., the Founder of the Gold Coast Railroad passed away on September 9th in his North Carolina home. His great contributions to this organization will be never forgotten, and he was an absolute great individual who will be missed. Click Read More for Mr. Godfrey's biography and to leave a message on a website for his family. Read More
  • Chicago Burlington And Quincy No. 9913 Back Online +

    After working on it over this weekend, GCRM's beloved 1956 CB&Q EMD E8A No. 9913 recieved some much needed repairs to the rear Head End Power generator. Thanks to our dedicated volunteers John Tompkins, Jr. and David McIntyre, the 500 kilowat generator recieved attention relating to it's fuel. Previous to the repair, the generator was hunting and unstable. Expect to see the CB&Q No. 9913 at this month's First Saturday and Spooky Halloween. 
  • Donate those lights & decorations! +

    Each year, the Gold Coast Railroad Museum purchases thousands of dollars in Halloween and Christmas Decorations. Help us spread the holiday cheer to the numerous children and guests that visit on a daily basis. You can help! Have any working christmas lights that you don't want or need anymore? Just drop them off and donate them, email us at webmaster @ gcrm.org or give us a call at 305 253 0063. We'd like to help however we can. Lights & other decorations may be dropped off during normal business hours at our main store location: 12450 SW 152nd Street, Miami, Florida 33177.
  • October Newsletter +

    The October Newsletter is out, view it below. Read More
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It is with great anguish and sorrow that we must make the following announcement.  William Jennings Godfrey, Jr., the Founder of the Gold Coast Railroad passed away on September 9th in his North Carolina home. His great contributions to this organization will be never forgotten, and he was an absolute great individual who will be missed. Click Read More for Mr. Godfrey's biography and to leave a message on a website for his family.

 

William Jennings Godfrey, Jr., 79, of Sylva, passed away September 9, 2013, at his residence. He was born in Queens, New York on May 24, 1934; son of the late William J. Godfrey, Sr. and Mildred Partens Godfrey. Known to friends around the world as simply "Bill," he founded several businesses, nurtured many hobbies and touched countless lives during his 79 years. As a member of the Aerobatic Club of America Bill enjoyed stunt flying in a Stearman Airplane and later built a full sized airplane. He was director of 5 (five) banks in the Fort Lauderdale, Florida area and built condos and homes as a General Contractor in Florida He founded the Gold Coast Railroad Museum in Miami, Florida with a steam engine donated by the U.S. Sugar Corporation, Bill was an avid sailboat owner and racer for many years. 


Bill served as Amtrak's Director of Administration for the western United States (west of the Mississippi River) until retirement. He purchased a private railroad car, the "Sealevel," which was used by Robert Redford in the movie "The Candidate." The "Sealevel" also carried the Godfreys on many cross-country trips. He designed and built a Gothic style, 2 story barn in Barker's Creek. He enjoyed collecting and building black powder guns. 


As Chairman of the Jackson County Republican Party for many years, Bill hosted the famous "GOP Bar-B-Ques" at his farm on Barker's Creek in the 1980's. He restored 35 antique, horse-drawn carriages, sleighs and a pre-Civil War hearse. Enjoyed driving the horses and buggies in the Barker's Creek community and on many camping trips throughout WNC with friends. Godfrey's horse-drawn carriages also graced many Sylva Christmas parades. He belonged to the Carriage Association of America and was instrumental in bringing the organization's annual event to the Biltmore Estate in April 1987. 


In 1988 Norfolk Southern Corporation was within 48 hours of abandoning the 67 miles of track from Dillsboro to Murphy when Godfrey lead an effort to save the rails for existing freight customers and a proposed "shortline" train service for tourists. With Godfrey as the first president, the "proposed" railway quickly incorporated as the Great Smoky Mountains Railway and began offering excursion train rides in October 1988. 


In September 1988, Chancellor Myron L. Coulter asked Bill to serve on the initial board of directors for Western Carolina University's International Program Fund. This non-profit corporation was established to support and promote the international programs at WCU. As a member of this board Godfrey traveled to China multiple times. 


After he sold the horses and buggies; building and flying RC planes (radio controlled airplanes) as a member of clubs in North Carolina and Arizona became a passionate interest. For several years, Bill mentored Franklin middle and high school students as well as WCU graduate students in model airplane design and construction. For the last 9 years, Bill captained the "Essence" a 25-foot steamboat on Fontana Lake. 


He is survived by Elaine Bowen Godfrey, his wife of 42 years; four children, James K. Godfrey (Bonnie) of La Grande, Oregon, Shirley Knapp-Wright (Dewayne "Cuz") of Sylva, Edward Knapp (Spring) of China, and Ellen K. Higdon (Richard) of Whittier; nine grandchildren, four great-grandchildren, his sister Phyllis Matthews of Plantation, Fla.,  and more friends than can be counted. 


His funeral service will be held on Friday, Sept. 13 at 2:00 pm in the Chapel of Appalachian Funeral Services in Sylva, NC, with the Reverend Bill Serjak officiating. The family will receive friends on Thursday, Sept 12, from 6 until 8 pm at Appalachian. Burial will be in Barkers Creek Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Jackson County Humane Society ARF, PO Box 298, Sylva, NC 28779. 

Please leave comments for Mr. Godfrey's family at http://appalachianfuneralservices.com/

Support the Collection!

The Gold Coast Museum is a non-profit organization. This year, we gave approximately 24,000 passengers a ride aboard our railroad. We rely on our volunteers and your donations to help keep us running, without this money, we would not be able to do the countless restoration projects that we have on the property. Please consider supporting us in our venture to keep these lovely historic pieces of equipment operational. If you would like to donate towards a specific car or project, please, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . You can give directly to us by using paypal (Just click the picture below!), or by calling us at (305) 253-0063, and telling the store staff that you'd like to make a donation. Even a dollar can help us restore this historic and impressive equipment.

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