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Tom Flanary

Tom Flanary

Tom Flanary is a Director on the Board of Directors, and maintains the website for GCRM. He has been involved in GCRM as a volunteer since 2011, and has been a director since 2012. If you have comments, concerns, or questions, please contact him directly at Tom.Flanary@gcrm.org

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Tuesday, 12 June 2012 16:03

Donate Items

Donate Now

The Gold Coast Railroad Museum is in need of the following items and you can Help. You or your organization can donate the specific item needed or donate money to the designated Fund. Please keep in mind that ALL DONATIONS of specific items or money are Tax Deductable. Please call Michael Hall or the store museum for information how you can donate items. We can be reached at 305 - 253 - 0063.

Items that we need:

 

  • Any Available Working Utility Vehicles and Trailers
  • Outdoor Tables and Chairs
  • Picnic Tables
  • New or Working Used Golf Carts
  • Weed Eaters
  • Lawn Mowers
  • Riding Lawn Mowers
  • Hurricane Shutters for our Administration Building
  • Miami-Dade Approved Storage Buildings
  • Bicycle Rack
  • 1920's and 1930's baggage & trunks for display in our bags cars and floats
  • New flooring for our Cafe Car
  • 200 metal folding chairs would greatly expand our ability to host functions
  • Store Display Fixtures
  • Shrink Wrap Machine for the Museum Store
  • French Barricades
  • Wood-working tools and equipment for our "Wood Shop"
  • Computers
  • Laptop Computer with a DVD burner & wifi capability Web Maintenance
  • Trash Bins
  • DVD Players for Displays
  • LCD Projector
  • Cleaning Equipment
  • Display Cases
  • Air Conditioning Equipment
  • Electrical Equipment
  • Stanchions
  • Paint Brushes
  • Halloween Lights and Decorations
  • Holiday/Christmas Lights and Decorarions
  • "Check Out" counter for the Museum Store
  • Mannequins
  • Office Supplies
  • Basic Camera DVR Security System for the Administration Building
  • Commercial Napkins and Table Clothes (Dining Cars)
  • Carpeting For Passenger Railroad Cars
  • Silk and Live Plants

 

Click Above to donate money to the museum through Paypal

Tuesday, 12 June 2012 02:38

Volunteer

Be an Volunteer - Opportunities to Become Part of Our Crew (Non-Community Service)

The Gold Coast Railroad Museum offers several opportunities for visitors and members to take part as a crewmember on Museum trains.

For General Members who desire to become an active part of the Museum's Operating Crew, we encourage those interested to call the museum, or stop by on a weekend. The Museum depends on the dedication of volunteer crewmembers built from within its general membership to operate its trains as part of its endeavor to educate our visitors.

For adult visitors, who do not wish to be members, we offer a Train Crewmember For-A-Day Program providing anywhere from a half-hour to an all-day adventure at the controls of historic railroad equipment.

The Museum also offers a Junior Trainman Program for children under age 18 who are interested in learning about operating trains and railroading in general.

To become part of the operating crew, it is first necessary to become a Museum member. Insurance considerations require that only members of the Museum may operate our equipment.

 

Railroad Operations

The first step in becoming a crewmember or volunteer is meeting with an Train crew volunteer. They can talk with you about your interests and arrange for a good time to begin your training. For information, e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , or call the Museum at 305-253-0063 for details.

Interested volunteers will learn the basics of railroad operation at the Museum. Attendees will spend approximately two hours in classroom instruction covering the Museum's Operating Rules including whistle/horn signals, hand signals, railroad safety, and operating procedures.

The remainder of the class is conducted outside, in and around the Museum's cars, equipment, and right-of-way, where railroad terminology is discussed and the physical properties of the railroad are explained, including coupling cars, brakes, switches, and more.

After completion of the course, attendees may take the class materials home to review and study. When they feel ready, attendees can schedule to take the Operating Rules Written Exam. If attendees obtain a passing grade on the exam, they will gain the title of Trainman, become an official crew member.


Edwin Link Train

Upon becoming a Trainman, new crewmembers can assist with operations at the Museum and begin further training in the various positions.

New Trainmen will first be instructed on the operation of the "Link" Train. Trainmen will work alongside qualified crewmembers and learn the mechanics of operating a small scale steam locomotive on compressed air during regular train operations. This training will also familiarize new Trainmen on the general operating procedures at the Museum and day-to-day activities.


Operating the Link Train will teach the principles of safety, responsibility, judgement, and equipment care, that will be required for advancement to standard gauge operations. At the same time, learning on this relatively small scale equipment ensures that any errors, mistakes, or accidents during training are not exacerbated as they might be with standard gauge operations.

In addition, the steam locomotive is perhaps the most difficult piece of equipment to learn to operate smoothly and effectively and thus will provide an excellent base for further advancement. To some, it is the most difficult piece of equipment to master at the Museum.

After sufficient training, Trainmen will gain the title of Link Engineer and will have the authority to operate the Link Train on their own. Link Engineers will be monitored for a period of time before advancement to standard gauge equipment can begin.

 

Fireman Position - Standard Gauge

Concurrent with Link Training, Trainmen who have demonstrated responsibility and adequate knowledge of the Museum's Operating Procedures may be trained by qualified crewmembers in the Fireman position on Cab Rides and other standard gauge operations.

After sufficient training, Trainmen will gain the title of Fireman and will have the authority to act as Fireman on their own on standard gauge trains.

 

Engineer Position - Standard Gauge


After acting as Fireman for a sufficient period, training may begin in the positions of Engineer and Conductor. Written and practical exams may be required for each position.

Engineer training is engine specific and qualifications will be issued per engine, and further, for specific operations (i.e., cab rides, coach rides, switching, etc.)

Engineer trainees will work alongside qualified crewmembers to learn the operating and physical characteristics of each engine, including handling and braking, as well as safety and dealing with emergency and unusual situations.

 

Conductor Position - Standard Gauge


Conductor trainees will learn the groundwork required in making and breaking trains, moving equipment, and working effectively with groups of crewmembers.

Qualified Conductors hold the highest rank on Museum trains; collecting tickets, attending to the needs of passengers, guarding the rear of equipment during reverse movements, and control train movements.

 

Mechanical Department

While it is possible to become qualified in various positions without participating in the care and maintenance of equipment, it is strongly preferred that crewmembers assist in these activities wherever possible.

Engines may only be started by crewmembers qualified by the Mechanical Department and specific training is arranged for each piece of equipment.

All mechanical work is arranged through the Chief Mechanical Officer, and all crewmembers and members are invited to assist wherever their skills may be useful. The Museum depends on volunteers to help maintain our collection.


Commitment and Duty

Becoming an active crew member may be considered a free "bonus" for members who volunteer time and/or services at the Museum and is not a privilege of membership. In return for the opportunity to become and remain an active crewmember, we offer a free museum membership to the individual who volunteers his or her time.

There is no defined contribution requirement, but we aim to ensure that the program is fair and crewmembers have an equal opportunity to operate equipment given consideration to personal schedule, physical ability, and level of commitment to the Museum.

Our members' skills are as varied as their interests and we understand that not every member is mechanically inclined, and we also understand that time is always a premium resource. We offer to teach people the following areas, and some examples of crewmember contributions are:

  • Assisting with regular maintenance of locomotives\
  • Assisting with regular maintenance of other equipment
  • Painting
  • Offering tours of equipment or structures
  • Grounds and Building Maintenance
  • Assisting with the Museum Store
  • Computer work, displays, promotions, marketing, etc.
  • Answering patron questions
  • Assisting with Opening and Closing the Museum
  • Supervising Community Service Workers
  • Track inspection and repair
  • Historical Research
  • Work with the model trains (almost any scale is represented)
  • Just about anything else


For members who may not desire to actively contribute and participate as a permanent crewmember, but desire to operate our equipment on a one time basis, we offer a Train Crewmember For-A-Day Program.

For more information on the volunteer program, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012 02:36

Private Parties

Museum Grounds Use Information

The Museum grounds are routinely used for a variety of functions including:

 

 

 

 

Please see our Reservation Information section for details on booking your event.

Field Trips

The Museum welcomes school groups and field trips. We offer a unique educational experience for students of all ages. Your groups will enjoy:

  • Train Rides.
  • Educational Tours.
  • Historic Artifacts.
  • Picnic Areas.
  • Interactive Games.
  • Model Trains and Thomas Tables.

Field Trip/Group Rates:

Children:

$6.00

Adults:

$5.00

Teachers:

Complimentary Admission

Palmetto Pre-K School

Price includes a ride on our Link Train for all guests and Guided Tour. Allowances may be made for schools on tighter budgets. Field trips require a $60.00 non-refundable security deposit at least two (2) weeks prior to scheduled arrival.

Please see our Reservation Information section for details on booking your trip. 

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Birthday Parties

The Museum invites you to plan your birthday celebration in our nostalgic atmosphere.

Amenities include exclusive use of one of our designated Picnic Party Areas consisting of a group of picnic tables under our train shed or use of an air-conditioned Lounge Car (depending on package). During your party, guests can enjoy the Museum's exhibits, including the Model Train room.

  • We suggest booking at least two months in advance.
  • Party hours on weekends are from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (after-hours party packages are available).
  • Party area must be cleaned up and all guests and vehicles departed from the property by 4:30 p.m.

Package #1—Sheltered Picnic Party Area

  1. Use of four (4) large picnic tables under the Main Exhibit Building from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.Sheltered picnic tables beside standard gauge coach.
  2. Scheduled Private Train Ride on our two-foot gauge Edwin Link “Steam” Train.
  3. A museum staff member will be on hand to assist you.
  4. Your guests may tour our historic trains, historic artifacts and grounds, and have access to our Model Display building, home to our hands-on Thomas the Tank Engine play tables.
  5. Admission for up to 20 guests ages one and up including all adults (additional guests are $6.00 each).
$100 Non-refundable Reservation Fee 
(the reservation is not confirmed until this fee is received).
Sheltered picnic tables beside the Silver Crescent.
+ $100 Payment due on the day of the party.
$200 Total (Based on attendance of 20 guests or less. 
Total may increase with additional guests.)

Package #2—Air-conditioned Lounge Car

View inside the SAL #6300 Lounge Car.
View of exterior of the SAL #6300 Lounge Car.
  1. Exclusive use of the air-conditioned Lounge Car #6300 on Track #1, as well as four (4) large picnic tables alongside the car, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Lounge Car is a guaranteed memorable experience, as well as an excellent way to avoid those excruciatingly hot Florida days.
  2. Scheduled Private Train Ride on our two-foot gauge Edwin Link “Steam” Train.
  3. A museum staff member will be on hand to assist you.
  4. Your guests may tour our historic trains, historic artifacts and grounds, and have access to our Model Display building, home to our hands-on Thomas the Tank Engine play tables.
  5. Admission for up to 25 guests ages one and up including all adults (additional guests are $7.00 each).
$175 Non-refundable Reservation Fee 
(the reservation is not confirmed until this fee is received).
+ $175 Payment due on the day of the party.
$350 Total (Based on attendance of 25 guests or less. 
Total may increase with additional guests.)

Package #3—Air-conditioned Lounge Car

  1. Exclusive use of the air-conditioned Lounge Car #254 on Track #1, as well as four (4) large picnic tables alongside the car, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Lounge Car is a guaranteed memorable experience, as well as an excellent way to avoid those excruciatingly hot Florida days.
  2. Scheduled Private Train Ride on our two-foot gauge Edwin Link “Steam” Train.
  3. A museum staff member will be on hand to assist you.
  4. Your guests may tour our historic trains, historic artifacts and grounds, and have access to our Model Display building, home to our hands-on Thomas the Tank Engine play tables.
  5. Admission for up to 25 guests ages one and up including all adults (additional guests are $7.00 each).
$250 Non-refundable Reservation Fee 
(the reservation is not confirmed until this fee is received).
+ $300 Payment due on the day of the party.
$550 Total (Based on attendance of 25 guests or less. 
Total may increase with additional guests.)
View inside the ACL #254 Lounge Car.
View of exterior of the ACL #254 Lounge Car.

Big Kid Birthday Party—Air-conditioned Lounge Car

Who says that a railroad party is just for kids? Here is a package for the young at heart. Prior to the Museum opening the "Big Kid" will be trained on basic railroad operating rules and familiarized with the controls of a standard gauge locomotive. Guests will then arrive to celebrate with the "Big Kid" on board the air-conditioned lounge car. Guests will have the opprtunity to explore the Museum and, at the appointed time, climb on the train as the conductor shouts "All aboard." The train departs with the "Big Kid" at the throttle for a special train ride. Two guests will be able to ride in the cab with the "Big Kid" as they engineer the train (under supervision of a certified locomotive engineer).

Price includes a membership to the Gold Coast Railroad Museum for the "Big Kid," training at the controls of a standard gauge locomotive for the "Big Kid," exclusive use of our Atlantic Coast Line #254 Lounge Car, admission and standard gauge train ride for up to 20 guests, and a cab ride for 2 guests. 
The Big Kid Birthday Party Package requires a $250 non-refundable deposit to secure a reservation on a first-come, first-served basis. 
An additional $300.00 is due the day of the party for a total of $550.00. Each additional guest over the 20 included is $12.00.

Requirements for the "Big Kid" are:

  • Must be 18 years of age and speak and understand English.
  • May not have consumed alcohol 12 hours prior to classroom instruction and/or locomotive operation or be under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.
  • Must have completed a membership application (since insurance regulations require that persons operating Gold Coast Railroad Museum equipment must be members.)

We have the room to host multiple parties at the same time and can offer special rates for schools and other special needs.

Please see our Reservation Information section for availability and details on booking your party.

Feel free to download the more detailed Party and Event Information Sheet.

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Film Shoots

       Film Shoot

The Gold Coast Railroad Museum offers a variety of different scenic backdrops for filming all located on its 50 acre site.  The Museum, which is located just over a mile off of Florida’s Turnpike in South Miami-Dade County has historic railcars, a railroad yard, operating rail equipment, pineland forests, industrial-looking brick structures, and open fields.  We are easy to work with and can accommodate most any shooting schedule.  The Museum even has railcars that can be rented to serve as dressing/make-up rooms or on site production offices.

Download our Scouting Guide for more information.

Fee Structure:
8:00 am - 4:00 pm - $125 per hour
(This fee includes: A staff member to assist you, reservation fee, gate entrance fee, equipment usage fee (for filming purposes – non-operating), and fixed costs (electrical, restrooms, etc…)

6:00 am - 8:00 am and 4:00 pm - 7:00 pm - $150 per hour
(This fee includes: A staff member to assist you, reservation fee, gate entrance fee, equipment usage fee (for filming purposes – non-operating), fixed costs (electrical, restrooms, etc…), and after-hours staff costs.

7:00 pm - 6:00 am - $200 per hour
 (This fee includes: A staff member to assist you, reservation fee, gate entrance fee, equipment usage fee (for filming purposes – non-operating), fixed costs (electrical, restrooms, etc…), after-hours staff costs and Metro Zoo main gate security fees.

Extras:

  1. An air conditioned train car for make-up and dressing room or on-site production office use is available.  Up to three of these cars are available at an additional $25 per hour each.
  2. Railroad equipment can be moved prior to your shoot in order to create a desired look or equipment can be operated during filming. 
    1. To rearrange equipment requires 2 weeks advanced notice and is billed at the rate of $150/hour to set it according to your plan as well as returning the equipment to its original location.
    2. For operations during a filming the rate of $150/hour will be charged.  This provides for a two person crew, fuel costs and equipment usage.  Please note that if the crew needs to be attired in specific clothing it must be provided by your wardrobe department.

Exclusive Property Use:
For large shoots requiring exclusive use of the Museum (not applicable for night shoots) requiring it to be closed to the general public an additional $1000/day for weekdays and $1500/day for weekends will be imposed to compensate for lost gate revenue.

Additional Information:

  1. Partial hours billed in 1/2 hour increments. 
  2. Insurance Certificate is required
  3. Tax will be charged in the absence of an exemption certificate
  4. Minimum shoot time is four hours

For more information, please contact Michael Hall, Executive Director at 786-217-8780 or email  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Model/Still Shoots

Fee Structure:
8:00 am - 4:00 pm - $100 per hour
(This fee includes: A staff member to assist you, reservation fee, gate entrance fee, equipment usage fee (for photographic purposes – non-operating), and fixed costs (electrical, restrooms, etc…)

6:00 am - 8:00 am and 4:00 pm - 7:00 pm - $125 per hour
(This fee includes: A staff member to assist you, reservation fee, gate entrance fee, equipment usage fee (for photographic purposes – non-operating), fixed costs (electrical, restrooms, etc…), and after-hours staff costs.

7:00 pm - 6:00 am - $175 per hour
 (This fee includes: A staff member to assist you, reservation fee, gate entrance fee, equipment usage fee (for photographic purposes – non-operating), fixed costs (electrical, restrooms, etc…), after-hours staff costs and Metro Zoo main gate security fees.


 

Walk-in Photo Shoots
(Engagement/Student)

10am to 4pm $50
 per hour plus tax Monday thru Friday
Saturday/Sunday 11am to 4pm $75
 per hour plus tax
After 4pm Monday thru Friday $75
 per hour plus tax
After 4pm Saturday/Sunday $100
 per hour plus tax
(Maximum of 8 people)
Must show valid Student ID to receive Student Rate
Mini Photo Shoots
(Engagements, graduations, weddings, family portraits, and Quinceaneras)

Monday thru Friday 10am to 6:30 pm 
$50 per hour plus tax 
Saturday/Sunday 11am to 4pm
 $75 per hour plus tax
After 4pm Saturday/Sunday 
$100 per hour plus tax
Maximum of 8 people
Student Rate
$25 per hour plus tax
Maximum of 4 people
Must show valid Student ID to receive Student Rate
Reservations for Mini Photo Shots not required but preferred










 
Commercial Photo Shoots
(We offer trains, brick building backgrounds and forest and grassy field settings)

8:00 am - 4:00 pm - $100 per hour
(This fee includes: A staff member to assist you, reservation fee, gate entrance fee, equipment usage fee (for photographic purposes – non-operating), and fixed costs (electrical, restrooms, etc…)
6:00 am - 8:00 am and 4:00 pm - 7:00 pm - $125 per hour
(This fee includes: A staff member to assist you, reservation fee, gate entrance fee, equipment usage fee (for photographic purposes – non-operating), fixed costs (electrical, restrooms, etc…), and after-hours staff costs.
7:00 pm - 6:00 am - $175 per hour
(This fee includes: A staff member to assist you, reservation fee, gate entrance fee, equipment usage fee (for photographic purposes – non-operating), fixed costs (electrical, restrooms, etc…), and after-hours staff costs and  Metro Zoo main gate security fees.
Must show valid Student ID to receive Student Rate
Reservations for Commercial Photo Shoots required

All Commercial Photo Shoots must be self-contained and insured. 
( We have no available electric so generators are required for everything. 

We will need a copy of the Photographers’ insurance certificate a day before the shoot - specifying 

“The Gold Coast Railroad Museum" as additionally insured. )


Extras:

  1. An air conditioned train car for make-up and dressing room or on-site production office use is available.  Up to three of these cars are available at an additional $25 per hour each.

Additional Information:

  1. Partial hours billed in 1/2 hour increments. 
  2. Insurance Certificate is required
  3. Tax will be charged in the absence of an exemption certificate
  4. Minimum shoot time is four hours
  5. Additional fees apply with regard to operating/relocating equipment.

Download our Scouting Guide for more information.

For more information, please contact Michael Hall, Executive Director, at 786-217-8780 or email  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Events, Meetings, and Weddings

The Museum's plaza area, main display shed, and several air-conditioned lounge cars are available for meetings, weddings, and other events.

Wedding of Bill and Lourdes MetzOver the past five decades, in close cooperation with the Miami Dade County Parks Department, the Gold Coast Railroad Museum has grown into a remarkable historic train and industrial arts collection. The Museum offers train rides on historic rail equipment and is open six days a week to the public (10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday-Sunday), 350 days a year. The railroad museum is not just a collection of trains. It is about families, community, schools and the joy of learning in a historic environment. On its fifty acres of historic property the Museum provides train rides and hosts increasing numbers of guided school field trips with an orientation presentation, lectures, bus tours, birthday parties, weddings, receptions, business and corporate meetings, film shoots and special events that bring the history of trains to life. The mission of the Museum is to serve by educating all the youths and adults who walk through its doors. Its commitment to education focuses on hands-on interdisciplinary and intergenerational exhibits, programs, outreach activities and special events which speak to the richness and diversity of our Florida heritage.

Option A

Rental fees per 3 hour event for the plaza and the lawn (up to 225 guests)

Friday, Saturday, or Sunday: $400.00
Monday through Thursday: $250.00

Maximum suggested number of guests is 225. Each additional guest over 225 is $9.50 per guest. Each additional hour $100.00.

Option B

Rental fees per 3 hour event for the Ferdinand Magellan platform ceremony (up to 125 guests)

Friday, Saturday, or Sunday: $450.00
Monday through Thursday: $275.00

Maximum suggested number of guests is 125. Each additional guest over 125 is $9.50 per guest. Each additional hour $100.00.

Option C

Rental fees per three hour event for air conditioned lounge car (maximum capacity 55 guests)

Friday, Saturday, or Sunday: $450.00
Monday through Thursday: $250.00

Each additional hour $100.00.

Wedding under the Shed

The Gold Coast Railroad Museum can work to meet your catering needs and can work with your preffered caterer.

  • All rentals are subject to 7% Miami-Dade County Sales Tax and a $200 refundable Security Deposit.
  • Evening rentals after 7:00 p.m. require a $100.00 per hour fee for Zoo Security because we are within the security perimeter of the MetroZoo after closing.
  • A summer discount of 25% is given during the months of June, July and August.
  • All prices are subject to change without notice.

For more information, please contact  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , Executive Director, at 786-217-8780.

The area of Museum property desired for the service or reception must be approved by the Museum in advance. Generally, most of our train cars are not available for events with the exception of our lounge cars (see Lounge Car rental section). Tax will be added to total bill.

Large events and/or multi-day events requiring significant use of the grounds, including closing the Museum during the event, require significant lead time (a minimum of one month is recommended).

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Business Meeting

ACL 254

The Museum has a lounge car which is now available for rent. The ACL Observation Bar Lounge #254 is sure to offer a very unique place to conduct your next business meeting. The air-conditioned lounge car can accommodate up to 45 people and is ready for catered events such as business meetings. After hours use can be arranged. Please follow the link to see photos of the car.


Four Hour Package - (Use of the #254 for only 4 hours)

$100.00 Non-refundable Reservation Fee (the reservation is not confirmed until this fee is received).
+ $200.00 Payment due on the day of the meeting.
$300.00 Total (Based on attendance of 45 or guests. Total may increase with additional guests).

Full Day Package - (meeting may start as early as 9 a.m. and run until 4 p.m.)

$100.00 Non-refundable Reservation Fee (the reservation is not confirmed until this fee is received).
+ $300.00 Payment due on the day of the meeting.
$400.00 Total (Based on attendance of 45 or guests. Total may increase with additional guests).

Full Day "Table" Package - (meeting may start as early as 9 a.m. and run until 4 p.m.)
Don't need a lounge car? You may use up to five of our picnic tables that are located within the main exhibit building to host your meeting.

$100.00 Non-refundable Reservation Fee (the reservation is not confirmed until this fee is received).
+ $75.00 Payment due on the day of the meeting.
$175.00 Total (Based on attendance of 45 or guests. Total may increase with additional guests).

ACL 254

Please consult the Party and Event Information Sheet or call for more details.

Please see our Reservation Information section for availability and details on booking your rental.

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Reservations Information

For reservations, availability, or other information, call 305-253-0063 during regular weekday hours, or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Please consult the Party and Event Information Sheet or call for more details.

Driving Directions and other Contact Information.

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Tuesday, 12 June 2012 02:27

Upcoming Events & Programs

 

 

The Gold Coast Railroad Museum Car Show


When: Every 3rd Sunday


Time: 10:00am – 5:00pm

Where: 12450 SW 152nd Street, Miami, Florida 33177 (adjacent to Miami Zoo)
 

Admission: Free


*****Fun for the entire family*****




For more information, visit us at www.gcrm.org or call telephone number (305) 253-0063 or call Gerry at telephone number (786) 344-4228 or visit him at www.southdadecarshow.com

 

 

Tuesday, 12 June 2012 02:19

About GCRM

In the Beginning

The history of today's Gold Coast Railroad Museum is rather unique. The coming together of persons and events in a rare mix that helped shape today's premier railroad museum in the state of Florida and one of the finer rail museums in the United States.

It all began in August, 1956. William J. Godfrey was a Business Administration student, attending the University of Miami (UM). He was also a bit of a "rail enthusiast." He had heard that the University's "South Campus" contained miles of unused railroad tracks. That site was 2,100 acres of high pineland located in southern Dade County. The property had been Naval Air Station Richmond (NASR) - A WWII airship base. A few years after the war, the Navy left the base and the land was leased to the University of Miami from the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) for non-profit educational and research purposes. The University used the base as a remote campus for returning GI's and for botanical research. Being an all male campus, the students could use the same barracks that the Navy had recently abandoned.

Lots of Tracks

Bill reasoned that, with over three miles of tracks, the old base would be a great place to have an operating steam engine. It could be used as an engineering, educational, and historical attraction. He presented the idea to Dr. Jay F.W. Pearson, President of the University who just happened to be a rail fan. President Pearson liked the idea and thus the seed of a South Florida institution was germinated.

A "Sweet" Steam Engine

The U.S. Sugar Company (USSC), based in Clewiston, Florida had a few steam engines which they were considering for retirement. Mr. R.M. Hare of USSC was contacted. President Pearson and Dr. James M. Godard, Executive Vice President went to Clewiston and "picked out" former Florida East Coast (FEC) locomotive #153 as their choice. USSC agreed to donate the locomotive to the UM. Months of preparations for the movement were completed, and on February 19, 1957, the locomotive left USSC on its trip to Miami. The engine moved "cold" over Atlantic Coast Line, Florida East Coast Railway, and Seaboard Air Line trackage to reach the South Campus. On Friday, April 12, 1957, at 2:30 p.m., the #153 acceptance ceremonies were performed at the South Campus. Dr. Charlton Tebeau, Chairman of the University's History Department, was the master of ceremonies. The gathering took place on a portion of the old Navy blimp landing pad. In attendance were UM President Pearson, US Sugar Executive V.P., H.T. Vaughn, as well as representatives of the FEC, ACL, and SCL. At the same time the Miami Railroad Historical Society (MRHS) was created under the umbrella of the UM to oversee the maintenance and operation of the locomotive on the university property.

The Founding Fathers

The MRHS was "steamed-up" and "ready to roll." The persons originally involved were: William J. Godfrey - President; Henry G. Dooley -Vice President; and Charles H. Rose III - Secretary/Treasurer. The original Board of Directors: Robert L. Beekman, Lois Beekman, Joan Lea Godfrey, Nina Creel Taylor, Erle B. Nelson, and John R. Edmonds. Additional early supporters were "Johnny" Johnson, Bill Moneypenny, Wayne Whistler, Walter Locke, Leo DeSola, and Charles Flygare.

A Train is Born

Over the next year, more equipment is added.

1958: Seaboard Air Line donated a ”Jim Crow" combine car (part baggage - part passenger) #259.
August 1958: Apalachicola Northern blue caboose #X3.

Dogpatch Station

The MRHS set up their operations in a small portion of one of the former Navy wooden warehouses and called it "Dogpatch Station." The society members named their rail operations the "Gold Coast Railroad." On those Sundays when the MRHS operated for the public, many members would dress up in "period" clothing to add to the visitors' experience. Walter Locke, later to become President of the organization, often dressed as a convincing railroad hobo. Visitors were treated to train rides behind a real operating steam locomotive. The train was called the "Gold Coast Special." The cost to ride in 1961 was 50 cents including admission. The engineers paid $2.00 per half hour to cover the cost of fuel oil.

A Presidential Railcar

In April 1958, the former Presidential Pullman "Ferdinand Magellan" was declared "surplus" by the U.S. Government. This was the armor plated railcar used by Presidents Roosevelt, Truman, and Eisenhower. Mr. Godfrey learned that the car would be going on the surplus list and with knowledge that surplus items must be first offered to any of the 48 states willing to request the object. Wasting no time, Bill again approached the President of the University of Miami, Dr. Pearson with the idea of obtaining this unique car. The UM president agreed, and on August 11, 1958, Dr. James M. Godard, made the formal request to Mr. R.B. Beard of the Florida Development Commission that the "Ferdinand Magellan" be acquired by the State of Florida for the UM. Apparently, no other state made a request and the car was transferred to the State which then passed ownership to the University of Miami, as a non-profit educational organization. On January 17, 1959, the "Ferdinand Magellan" arrived at the South Campus and drew much attention. The car arrived with very little to identify it as the former U.S. Car #1; no speaker cones on the roof; no presidential seal on the rear platform - not even its name on the side of the car, but what a wonderful prize for the still small MRHS. Shortly, the car was opened to visitors.

More Equipment Arrives

March 1959: Florida East Coast Railway donated passenger coach #136.
1960: Atlantic Coast Line donated wooden caboose #0322.
Late 1960: The switch and 50 feet of track on north leg of the wye connecting to Seaboard Air Line Railroad were removed.
1961: Frisco Line donated a Gondola freight car #60053.
1961: Southern Railway System donated Baggage-Express car #359. This became the "museum car" filled with small railroad items on display.
1962: Florida East Coast donated a Track Section Car.
1965: Southern Railway donated freight boxcar #260909. This became the "spare parts" storage car.

Missiles, the CIA, and Our Liability

Everything seemed to be rolling along nicely. The public was invited to come ride the train on certain Sundays. Plans were being made to erect a shelter for the steam engine to allow work to be done out of the weather. The MRHS was increasing its membership. Then, the Cuban Missile Crisis occurred. The G.S.A. determined that some of the land leased to the University would be needed for a large "listening post" for the C.I.A. The University, under pressure from the G.S.A., and raising the issue of liability of running a steam locomotive, informed the MRHS that the museum would no longer be able to operate the "Gold Coast Railroad" on the South Campus and would have to look elsewhere to find a new home for its activities.

As a result, on November 13, 1966, at 11:30 a.m., the Gold Coast Railroad (MRHS) chugged off the South Campus property heading for a new found home in Ft. Lauderdale, Broward County. The UM transferred ownership of all rail locomotives, cars, and rail objects to the MRHS. The train was pulled by the #153 under steam.

Ships and Trains

While arrangements were being made for a long-term home in Broward County, the Beekmans made arrangements with the Broward Port Authority to call Port Everglades, at least temporarily, the museum's new home. There was no running of the locomotive at the port. The museum had become a static display. The name of the organization was changed to the Gold Coast Railroad, Inc., (GCRR) on January 4, 1967.

A New Home & New Beginning

Running along the north side of Ft. Lauderdale airport was a rail track that connected the Seaboard Coast Line (SCL) Railroad to Port Everglades. The SCL was agreeable to the museum operating on the line so long as there was no interruption in their schedule. The Beekmans, being well "connected" in Broward County, contacted a Mr. Snyder who had a small rock quarry along the side of that track. An agreement was worked out whereby the museum would be located on a portion of his property. There was not much usable land on the property. The Beekmans brought in fill to bring the area of the museum up to the grade of the adjacent track and make enough land for the buildings and a parking lot. They then set about to build a three-track, concrete train shed which could hold approximately 9 pieces of rail equipment. They also underwrote the building of a beautiful "turn of the century," country-styled, passenger station of brick and detailed wood trim. It was named Loisville for Mrs. Beekman.

The remainder of the quarry property, along with the Gold Coast's portion, was to become a part of the Ft. Lauderdale park system known as Snyder Park.

The land area of the GCRR was quite limited, and as a result the museum's rail collection could not expand to any great degree. Over the next few years it would have two operating steam engines and trains that would operate on the weekends back and forth along the north side of the Ft. Lauderdale airport. At times there were bandits who would "rob" the train on foot or on horseback. The train rides were a popular attraction for the South Florida residents and visitors.

More Additions

1968: William Godfrey donated a 1909 operational Case steam traction engine.
1969: U.S. Sugar donated a second steam locomotive FEC #113.
Port Everglades donated a freight flatcar #1103.
Port Everglades donated a Track Section Car.
1981: Liquid Sugars donated Western Pacific #881, Vista-Dome, Observation, "Silver Crescent."
1981: Liquid Sugars donated Western Pacific #802, Baggage Car, "Silver Stag."
Seaboard donated wooden caboose #5292.

Moving South

In 1983, the Florida Department of Transportation notified the museum that plans were being finalized to build an east-west expressway to be know as I-595. The elevated route would run through the museum's location. Once again the museum had to look for a new home.

In Dade County, the National Park Service (NPS) was looking to acquire land on the bottom of Biscayne Bay for a National Monument. It was learned that the federal prison adjacent to the new MetroZoo had surplus property it did not need. Through the assistance of U.S. Representative Dante Facell, a land "swap" was arranged. The NPS got the bay bottom it wanted and Dade County got 56+ acres of park land to be leased to the Gold Coast Railroad. It was a portion of the same property that the museum had occupied in the 1960's at former Naval Air Station Richmond.

Once more the museum was on the move. Packing began and with all the museum items loaded onto flatcars, gondolas, and into boxcars, the train was assembled. Pulled by a Seaboard Coast Line (SCL) diesel-electric locomotive, the Gold Coast "Special" train headed south, back to its old home.

Back Home Again

So in 1984, the next "new" home for the museum would be the areas of hangars #1 and #2 of former airship base. Over the years since the museum had moved away, many shrubs, Florida Holly, and grasses had taken over the old hangar floors. These were scraped away and three additional tracks were constructed into the concrete pad of what was hangar #1. Rail was re-established to connect to CSX's mainline at the western end of the property. A large "butler building" was erected over a third of the length of the four tracks now in hanger #1's floor.

In 1904, the "Princeton Station" had been built on the mainline of the Florida East Coast Railway (FEC) between Miami and Homestead. In the 1950's it had been moved and preserved at Crandon Park on Key Biscayne. The station was now to be relocated to the Gold Coast's new home. As the roof was too high to make the road trip, a new roof was constructed on the station after arrival at the museum. The station became the entrance and museum store for the "new" Gold Coast.

An "old time" patio clock was acquired and added a nice look to the museum.

Using steam engine #113, a steam trip to the city of Homestead was operated with the hope of making many more in the future. Insurance costs "killed" those plans, but the museum did have enough track to operate short trips on their property.

For a year or so, Civil War re-enactors would occasionally "detain" the trains and look for traitors, valuables, and money.

Miami's First National Historical Landmark

In 1977, the Ferdinand Magellan was designated a "National Historic Site." A short time later and for many years thereafter, paperwork was filed to have the car nominated as a "National Historic Landmark." While the museum was still in Ft. Lauderdale, in the summer of 1984, plans were made to have the car travel to Washington, D.C., where it would be inspected by the Park Service and possibly visited by then President Ronald Reagan. While these plans were being finalized, the White House contacted the museum and proposed that the Magellan be used as the centerpiece of a one day, whistle stop re-election campaign train for President Reagan to be run in Ohio. This new plan was further developed and when the car arrived in Washington in early October it was put under the control of the United States Secret Service which "prepared" the Magellan for Presidential use. The car soon left on the positioning move to Dayton.

The Ferdinand Magellan was officially back in Presidential service, if only for one day. The date: October 12, 1984. Once the trip was completed, the Magellan returned to Washington and was on display at Washington Union Station. The Magellan was available for visitations by many Washington politicians as well as the local and national press. It then returned to Ft. Lauderdale, and was moved to Miami as the museum relocated.

Soon thereafter, word was received that the Presidential Pullman was indeed to be designated a "National Historic Landmark," as well as to be Miami-Dade County's first National Landmark. The official date: Monday, February 4, 1985. A short time later, with a color guard in attendance, the National Park Service presented the "National Historic Landmark" plaque to the Gold Coast Railroad during official ceremonies held on the Magellan's rear platform, under the train shed of the museum. Today, the Ferdinand Magellan remains "available" for Presidential service.

The Collection Expands

ALCO RS-3, Ex-Long Island #1555 *
Ex-SAL Streamlined Diner #6112
"Norfolk" Streamlined Passenger Car *
Erie Lackawanna Commuter Car *
EMD SW-1 Switch Engine #167 *
Steam Engine #9 "Saddle Tanker"
ALCO S-2 Diesel Switch Engine, Ex-NASA #1
ALCO RS-1 Diesel Switch Engine #106 *
1998: EMD FP-7 Diesel Locomotive, Ex-Tri-Rail *
ALCO "Slug" Diesel Locomotive Ex-RF&P
Passenger Baggage Car, Ex-C&O
1996: Display Car, Ex-FEC Maintenance-of-Way Car
Late 1980's: U.S. Army Hospital Car #89436
"Castleblayney" Ex-D&PH Business Car *
1987: Steam Crane, Ex-SCL #765157
Burro Crane #15
Freight Box Car, Ex-SR #27416
Freight Box Car, Ex-SCL #126307
Oil Tank Cars, Ex-BEPX #105 and #121
Freight Flatcar, Ex-USAX
Ballast Freight Car, Side Dumping, Ex-USAX
American LaFrance Fire Truck
"East Swamp & Gatorville" 2-Foot Gauge Steam Train, Donated By Mrs. Edwin Link

* No longer on roster - damaged, scrapped, or sold.

ANDREW!

It has been said that "into life a little rain must fall." Yes, but not at 170 miles per hour! August 24, 1992. Hurricane Andrew roared into southern Dade County. The Gold Coast was hurt "bad" by the storm. The display shed was uprooted from its foundation and the building collapsed over the collection of equipment. One of the building's overhead beams pierced the roof of the Ferdinand Magellan. The "Silver Crescent" had a beam crush down on its "Vista Dome." The car also had a window blown out allowing the monstrous winds inside. On the South Pad a long string of coupled equipment were flipped onto their sides. The historic Princeton Station lost its roof and the remaining structure collapsed, never to be rebuilt. The site of the museum was of great devastation. It took a heavy emotional toll on the members, some of whom would not be seen at the museum again. The most costly storm in United States history might well have brought the Gold Coast Railroad to the "end of the line" - except for the "help" of the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA).

The "Battle" to Survive

A mandate from FEMA claimed that they would put all non-profits back to their pre-Andrew condition. In the case of the museum, that would end up being a multi-million dollar promise and take over 8 years to accomplish. Rebuilding the museum was to become a very long and arduous process. Along the way many rough times were encountered. A very small core of museum volunteers would "hang in there" through that time to see the project completed. It was not to be an easy job. All the equipment had to remain outside in the tropical environment, sun, rain, and heat, suffering much as a result. During this time the museum did not look very presentable. The entrance and store was a cheap house trailer. Visitors had to endure the sun and rain as they walked the museum grounds.

Equipment arriving during the eight years of reconstruction:

"9001" Streamlined Passenger Sleeping Car, Ex-SP
"Silver Vale" Ex-CB&Q Streamlined Passenger Car
Metro North, Long Island Passenger Commuter Car
"Belle Glade" Streamlined Passenger Coach, Ex-FEC
Fruit Growers Express Freight Car, Ex-SAL #593188

A New Name for a New Century

In April 1998, the museum changed its name to "Gold Coast Railroad Museum, Inc." to more accurately reflect its educational goals.

The New Millennium, Entering 2000:

Finally, at LONG last, the new, and much strengthened museum display building was completed and ready for the equipment to be placed inside. This was a major joy and relief for all who had worked for so many years to bring the museum to that point. The new museum store came shortly thereafter. Finally, the Gold Coast was "looking" again like the first class museum that it is.

Equipment arriving after Andrew:

July 2002: Helium Transportation Freight Car built In 1962
December 2002: E-8A Diesel Locomotive, Ex-PRR #5794 (Now Painted In FEC Colors #1594)
December 2002: GP-7 Diesel Locomotive, Ex-Alaska #1804 (Now Painted In ACL Colors #1804)
December 2002: E-9A Diesel Locomotive, Ex-CB&Q #9913 (Painted in CB&Q Colors #9913)
January 2003: "Silver Slumber" Streamlined Passenger Car built In 1956
June 2003: SAL Streamlined Coach Lounge Passenger Car built in 1939
June 2003: ACL Streamlined Observation Lounge Passenger Car built in 1941
January 2004: F-3/F-10 Diesel Locomotive, Ex-GM&O 800A (Now Painted In SAL Colors #4033)

1957 - 2007: 50 Years Strong

In April 2007, the Gold Coast Railroad Museum reached its 50 year anniversary. Expansion of the MetroZoo's master plan is hoped to increase the museum's attendance and importance as an educational destination for students, residents and visitors. As the museum continues to expand and grow, we strive to reach out to more community members and rail enthusiasts, to educate and enlighten each individual.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012 02:08

Train Rides

Train Rides

In addition to the railroad locomotives, cars, and equipment permanently on display at the Museum, there are special exhibits on display within our cars and buildings. Since we are an operating Museum using historic rail equipment, our "rides" are working educational exhibits.

"Edwin Link Children's Railroad"

Train rides on the "Edwin Link Children's Railroad", or Link train, are regularly offered on weekends at 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. The rides are suitable for both children and adults and consist of a 20-minute ride on 2-foot gauge track. The cost is $2.50 per persons of all ages.* Children under 1 are free.

Trains may run more frequently depending on crew availability and ridership. In cases of inclement weather, trains may be cancelled or rides may be substituted on standard gauge equipment when available.

The Link train is available for birthday parties, groups, and special events with advance notice.

 

 *- Ticket prices may vary during events.


Standard Gauge Caboose or Coach Car

Standard Gauge train rides using a diesel locomotive with the air-conditioned "Belle Glade" passenger coach are offered on some weekends or our Classic Caboose which has become very popular with our guests.

The cost is $6.00 per person for all ages for a 25-minute ride. Train schedule varies daily when operating.

Availability is dependent on crew, equipment, and other considerations, and is subject to change without notice. Please call ahead to see if the "Belle Glade" will be in operation during your visit or if the Caboose will be in service.

 


Engineer Cab, Standard Gauge Diesel-Electric Locomotive

Standard Gauge "Cab Rides" using diesel-electric locomotives are available on most weekends. This unique experience places guests in the operating cab of a locomotive, with the engineer, to experience the feel and operation of a diesel-electric locomotive. During the ride, crewmembers will detail the history and operation of the locomotive used as well as describe the importance of the Museum grounds in Florida's history.


The cost is $12.00 per person for all ages for a 25-minute ride. Cab rides depart generally on the half-hour when operating. Seating is very limited (2-6 persons depending on the active locomotive). In addition, guests must be able to climb steep locomotive stairs/ladders and be willing to ride in a noisy environment without air-conditioning.

Cab ride availability is not scheduled, nor guaranteed, and is subject to crew and equipment availability. 

Typically the standard gauge trains run most weekends. The Link Train generally runs both weekend and weekdays. During the weekdays, the Link runs on a reduced schedule. 

 Please call ahead to check availability.

Monday, 30 January 2012 22:01

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