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Date: 11/17/09 19:03
Sacramento Railroad Technology Museum Will Beacome A Re
Author: 3751

Gov. Schwarzenegger Announces Agreement Allowing Development of Railroad Technology Museum in Sacramento
Saturday, December 8th, 2007

Agreement is for Two Historic Buildings at Sacramento Railyard

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger today announced that an agreement has been reached among California State Parks, the California State Railroad Museum Foundation and Thomas Enterprises regarding the Downtown Sacramento Railyard. As a major component of the agreement, State Parks will receive two historic buildings in the railyard, under certain conditions, for use as the new Railroad Technology Museum.

“I applaud all parties involved for coming together to reach an agreement that will pave the way for a major transformation of the Sacramento Railyard. Under this agreement, the development of an internationally-renowned museum on a truly historic piece of property is possible,” said Governor Schwarzenegger.

“This is a very important first step that will begin the process of revitalizing the downtown railyard area of Sacramento including the development of green space, retail stores, housing and increased transit between the Sacramento and Bay area. This important renaissance of an historic area that has sat vacant for decades will positively impact the quality of life and economy of Northern California.”

As part of the agreement, Thomas Enterprises will transfer two historic buildings, the Boiler Shop and the Erecting Shop, to State Parks for use as a proposed Railroad Technology Museum. The transfer will take place in two phases, under the following terms:

Phase I - State Parks will receive the Boiler Shop and three associated parcels (the firing line, turntable and transfer table) upon approval by the Public Works Board. Approximately $13 million in proposition 40 and proposition 116 have been designated for this project. These funds will be used to rehabilitate the building and to ensure public access to the museum facility. The Boiler Shop will be used to create a proposed ”working museum” museum where the public can watch and interact with craftsmen and artisans as they restore locomotives, rail cars and other historic equipment in the museum’s extensive collection. The Boiler Shop is currently used as a restoration and maintenance facility for locomotives, rail cars and other historic equipment owned by State Parks.

Phase II - A third party museum consultant will be hired to assess how to transform the second building, the Erecting Shop, into a more formal museum attraction. As part of the agreement, State Parks and its nonprofit supporter the California State Railroad Museum Foundation will certify that they have the funding for 100 percent of the building rehabilitation and 25 percent of the funding necessary to complete the museum exhibits within the building. The State and Foundation will have three years to accomplish this task in order to gain fee title to the Erecting Shop. The agreement also calls for Thomas Enterprises to meet certain timing benchmarks for infrastructure development within the central shops or the three year horizon may be extended.

The parties will jointly fund the consultants to develop the museum plans and estimated costs.

“We can now begin moving forward on a 25-year dream to build a railroad technology museum that will explore cutting edge innovations in transportation while preserving and re-using some of the most significant industrial heritage facilities in the West ,” said Ruth Coleman, director of California State Parks.

The agreement also resolves other land-ownership issues in the railyard as it makes possible the adoption of the State Lands title settlement approved by the Commission Dec. 3. The State Lands title settlement offer includes four acres of State Parks-owned property just north of the “I” Street bridge along the railyards waterfront, as well as the State Lands 25 acre public trust easement in the north part of the railyard. These actions smooth the way for the Sacramento City Council to take action on Thomas Enterprises entitlements at their next meeting set for Tuesday, Dec. 11.

“Since the Railroad Museum opened in 1981 it has been considered one of the finest, and is among the most-visited, railroad history museums in the world. The addition of science and technology to the museum will increase the stature of Sacramento as a major tourism destination and complete our plan for a museum complex unrivaled in North America,” said Bob Slobe, Chairman, California State Railroad Museum Foundation.

Date: 11/17/09 19:48
Re: Sacramento Railroad Technology Museum Will Become A
Author: Digger

Are those realistic funding goals for Phase II? I am interested to know if those who negotiated on behalf of CSRM have a plan in place to come up with those dollars. Wow, 125% of the costs up front in three years! I bet Thomas enterprises is banking on the museum defaulting on their agreement. I assume if that happens, Thomas enterprises gets the Erecting shop?

If it works out, this could be very cool. I wish CSRM & the foundation all the best in their endeavour!

Chris Donhost
Vacaville, CA

Date: 11/17/09 23:16
Re: Sacramento Railroad Technology Museum Will Become A
Author: Mgoldman

Remind me - what park or rail-related location was to be closed due to
lack of funds and how did this project ever get considered afterwards?

Was it Railtown? Not familiar with the parks and museums of the area.


Date: 11/18/09 05:37
Re: Sacramento Railroad Technology Museum Will Become A
Author: PERichardson

I wonder what the default provisions are. With the State just announcing a $21 billion deficit over the next two fiscal years, it's gonna be a long time before they can sell bonds for this project. At this rate, public safety and schools may be the only things financed. With the GOP saying no new taxes and the Dems saying no more cuts, something's gotta give.

Date: 11/18/09 06:43
Re: Sacramento Railroad Technology Museum Will Become A
Author: 49Fan

Did it dawn on anyone that this agreement is almost two years old ? I seriously doubt given the current state budget that all of this will come to fruition.

Date: 11/18/09 08:58
Re: Sacramento Railroad Technology Museum Will Become A
Author: inyo22

Yeah, the date on this article is December, 2007 - not even anywhere in 2009. The plan announced was an eternity and a gaping budget deficit ago.

Date: 11/18/09 10:25
Re: Sacramento Railroad Technology Museum Will Become A
Author: SandingValve

What revelence is this today, hence the post? I haven't heard of any new significant changes regarding the new proposed construction.

Some collegues of mine had been working for contractors (subs to Thomas) on the site improvements in 2008 and 2009. Lots of clean up involved and infrastructure rehab was going on. From what I hear on the construction end is that not much is happening right now. Anyone know of something different?


Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 11/18/09 13:28 by SandingValve.

Date: 11/18/09 16:01
Re: Sacramento Railroad Technology Museum Will Become A
Author: 3751

Railyard shops cleanup, preservation underway
by Suzanne Hurt, published on November 10, 2009 at 10:25PM
Storyline: Railyards
Community Tags: railyards richard rich sacramento railyards suheil totah thomas enterprises
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Piles are growing at the city's old railyard.

Inside the long-abandoned Southern Pacific railroad shops, there are piles of metal, wood, debris and contaminated junk. Up on roofs, white-suited, specially trained abatement workers are pulling up roofing material and roofing adhesive containing asbestos. Outside one of the shops lies a makeshift salvage yard.

Georgia developer Thomas Enterprises and a contractor, Allied Environmental of Placerville, are three months into a $5 million cleanup of the historic "Central Shops," which will form the centerpiece of a 244-acre mixed-used district dubbed the Railyards.

The developers envision the shops as the cultural heart of a district that will include the future a regional transportation center and retail, office and residential use. The centerpiece will be an open-air market and adjacent plaza. There also has been talk of a $500 million arena/entertainment center, a performing arts center and even a new $500 million county courthouse.

During a tour of the shops Tuesday, Railyards Development Director Richard Rich said workers are setting aside everything connected to Sacramento's railroad history to be recycled and used in the district.

"We want to save every single piece of this," Rich said as he pointed to old metal lockers and train parts inside the former Paint Shop. "Part of our job is to retell the story of the railyards as we rebuild this and bring it back."

Very little remains from the 1930s or earlier, when the shops were the center of the locomotive industry on the West Coast and that industry drove the city, he said. For more railyard photos, go here.

The railroad company took most items of value long ago. Then, squatters and vandals carried off everything they could.

Still, workers have already dug up tons of gnarled, rusted iron during soil remediation. Rich said he would like to hire an artist to create a large sculpture from the salvaged iron. The sculpture would go in the future Market Plaza.

"That's a dream at this point," Rich said. "I don't know where we'd find the money."

Hundreds of heavy locomotive drive wheels and axles were found on the site, which lies next to the Sacramento Valley Station train depot. California State Parks gathered up most of them, and two drive wheels left with the developers may become sculptures. Thomas Enterprises is talking with the parks department about placing drive wheel sculptures at intersections throughout the district.

"I would like every single intersection that we do to have some calling card of rail history there," Rich said.

Central Pacific established the Sacramento railyard during the steam locomotive era. The company, which later became Southern Pacific, built the first shop in 1868 — before Sacramento gained fame as the western start of the first transcontinental railroad with the driving of the last spike on May 10, 1869.

In the 1930s, Southern Pacific slowly began abandoning the railyards. Rail traffic was down because of the Depression.

The company set up maintenance shops for newer diesel locomotives in more rural areas as Sacramento grew, and the shops began falling into disrepair. The shops officially closed in 1999, four years after Union Pacific bought Southern Pacific.

Now, eight Central Shops — seven brick and one metal — are all that remain of what was once at least 243 buildings. The developers are giving the metal Boiler Shop and the Erecting Shop, the largest and grandest, to state parks for its future Railroad Technology Museum. State parks will handle abatement of those.

The buildings' exteriors will be preserved following the Secretary of the Interior's guidelines for rehabbing historic buildings. Abatement work, Phase 1 of shop restoration, is expected to be completed by March.

On Tuesday, 50 workers worked on various abatement projects including removing the badly peeling lead-based interior paint, junk contaminated with heavy metals and polychlorinated biphenyl or PCB, and asbestos sheetrock, floor tiles and pipe insulation. They're also removing extensive graffiti.

"Our job now is to clean these buildings so we can start to do the major work on the renovation," Rich said.

British Environmental Resources Management is providing construction management. The company initially was hired by Southern Pacific and has done all cleanup at the site for 20 years.

"Our primary challenge was to make sure we could abide by California environmental laws to take toxics out but not damage these historic buildings," Rich said. "It's something we have to watch very carefully."

Workers can't remove all the lead-based paint without damaging historic interior bricks. So remaining paint will be encapsulated in new paint, in a process created by the city's environmental office, he said.

The Railyards are the country's largest infill project. Most of the six shops are expected to be filled by restaurants, clubs, retail shops and small museums. Organizations have expressed interest in setting up museums for model railroads, carousels and blacksmithing in the 3,800-square-foot Blacksmith Shop.

The 56,000-square-foot Paint Shop will house an open-air market with Central Valley products including produce, cheese, wine, meat and fish -- similar to San Francisco's Ferry Building. It will be near the extended 5th Street.

An open space next to it, once a turntable that moved locomotives and train cars to the Paint Shop, will be turned into Market Plaza. Plans call for landscaping, water features, public art and a small outdoor performance area.

"That plaza is going to be the cultural living room of this region," Rich said.

On the other side of the plaza, clubs, restaurants and shops are expected to open in the Planing Mill, Car Shop and Machine Shop, where locomotives, passenger cars and flat cars once were built. The first building constructed on the site was a machine shop in 1868. Upper floors could contain art lofts and archive space.

Small shops and restaurants could go into the "Tower of Jewels," a three-story brick craphouse built in 1878. The plaster facade is peeling off the brick building, so the mortar on that and the rest of the brick buildings will be repointed.

The shops are expected to be ready for tenants in two or three years. The city has committed to building a 2,000-space parking garage east of the market. The garage will serve the regional transportation center and the Central Shops, said Suheil Totah, Thomas Enterprises vice president.

The county is considering the site for a new courthouse, said Totah, adding that Thomas Enterprises likes the idea of the city building an arena there as well.

Rich said he expects all electrical cables at the site will be underground. He said he hopes to use a line of old above-ground electrical poles to hold a 30-foot-high, 300-foot-long lighted landmark "Sacramento Railyards" sign.

That's just one of the efforts to preserve as much as possible. Restoring the historic buildings that once played such a large role in Sacramento is the key, Totah and Rich said.

"It would actually be cheaper to knock them down and rebuild them. But there's an ambiance you can't get with a new building," Rich said. "So they're priceless in that way."

Photos by Eric Whalen. Suzanne Hurt is a staff reporter for The Sacramento Press.

Date: 11/18/09 20:34
Re: Sacramento Railroad Technology Museum Will Become A
Author: KevinLA

"a three story craphouse"?

Date: 11/20/09 15:16
Re: Sacramento Railroad Technology Museum Will Become A
Author: scottp

Yeah, great, make a sculpture out of the scrap metal.

"What did they do here in the olden days?"
"They made rust."

Date: 11/20/09 15:41
Re: Sacramento Railroad Technology Museum Will Become A
Author: TCnR

"...Hundreds of heavy locomotive drive wheels and axles were found on the site, which lies next to the Sacramento Valley Station train depot. California State Parks gathered up most of them, and two drive wheels left with the developers may become sculptures..."

Are these the classic steam locomotive drive wheel or a news media description of something else? I understand the ancient concept of burying something to make it go away but this seems like an awful lot of metal. Since Old California was fairly distant from the steel belt I would have thought the older wheels would be melted down for other projects. But if it was just freight car wheels laying around it's a different and less glamorous story.

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