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National Railway Historical Society Convention Gold Coast Railroad Museum Trip 9/6/2023

by Chris Guenzler

Elizabeth and I arose, did some of our usual Internet checking then went down to the Spotted Stag Restaurant where I had French Toast and Elizabeth had a waffle. While Elizabeth opened the registration room and dealt with things there, I returned to the room, watched CNN and finished e-mail and other items on the Internet before returning downstairs for the buses. I boarded Bus One and once everyone was aboard both buses, we were driven the short distance to the Tri-Rail station in Deerfield Beach.

Tri-Rail train P-613 arrived, we all boarded and Elizabeth sat next to me until Hollywood where I moved up a seat with a cleaner window.

CSX GP39-2 4310, nee Reading 3402, built by Electro-Motive Division in 1974.

CSX GP40-3 6522 and CSX GP40-3 6445.

Tri-Rail BL36PH 819 built by Brookville in 2021.

Tri-Rail P-620 with F40PHM-3C 808 built by Morrison Knudsen. Upon arrival at Miami Airport station, the group walked down to the buses, which had driven to the airport and now took us to the Gold Coast Railroad Museum, twenty-five minutes away.

The Gold Coast Railroad Museum History

The Museum was founded in 1956 and built on the former Naval Air Station Richmond. With over three miles of tracks, the old base was an ideal place to build a railroad museum.

It is one of three Official State Railroad Museums in Florida and joined the existing two in 1984 when it received statutory recognition by the Florida Legislature as meeting the four statutory criteria that: its purpose is to preserve railroad history, it is devoted primarily to the history of railroading, it is open to the public, and it operates as a non-profit organization.

The Museum promotes historical trains and railroads. It houses over 30 historic trains including classic railroad cars like the Western Pacific "Silver Crescent" and Florida East Coast steam engine 113." The Museum strives to teach railroad history with the use of artifacts, movies and railroading materials. The Museum includes a number of interactive displays.

Our Visit

Florida East Coast Railway 4-6-2 153 built by Alco in 1922. This engine pulled a train carrying President Calvin Coolidge to Miami in 1928. In 1940, it was sold to the United States Sugar Corporation in Clewiston then in 1957, it was donated to the University of Miami and stored on the Gold Coast Railroad Museum's site at Port Everglades. There, it operated every Sunday from March 1957 until November 1966, when the museum moved to Fort Lauderdale and it received a $10,000 major overhaul. In 1984, it moved with the collection to the current site and had further restoration work from 2000 to 2002.

Atlantic Coast Line lounge-observation 254 built by Budd in 1941. Later, it became Seaboard Coast Line 5833 and Amtrak 3333.

Seaboard Air Line coach/tavern car 6300 built in 1939 as SAL 30. It became Seaboard Coast Line 5810, was sold to Amtrak in 1971 and became buffet-lounge-coach 3810 (as buffet lounge coach) and ten years later, was acquired by GCRM.

Atlantic Coast Line Railroad caboose 0322 built in 1923 at the ACL Shops in Waycross, Georgia.

Florida East Coast Railway passenger coach 136 built in 1925 which played a role in the evacuation of a portion of the Florida Keys as part of the preparations for the Labor Day hurricane of 1935.

Former Seaboard Air Line sleeper-lounge car 54 "Henderson" built by Budd in 1955 as "Silver Palm".

Western Pacific baggage car "Silver Stag" built by Budd in 1948.

Chesapeake and Ohio power car 914101, ex. Penn Central 101, nee Chesapeake and Ohio baggage car 34, builder and year unknown.

Florida East Coast Railway 4-6-2 113 built by American Locomotive Company in 1913 and was sold to the United States Sugar Corporation at Bryant, Florida in 1938. In 1968, it was donated to the museum at Fort Lauderdale and after moving with the rest of the collection to Miami in 1984, it hauled a one-time special from Miami Zoo to Homestead, Florida in 1986.

Seaboard Air Line Railroad Combination baggage-coach 259 built by Pressed Steel in 1913. It is one of the Jim Crow cars because of its segregated seating areas. It has 18 seats in the front section and 24 in the rear. It was donated by SAL and restored by the Gold Coast Railroad Museum in 1958. The National Park Service named the car as a Historic Rail Object in 2001- 003, and in 2007, through a State of Florida Grant, a History of Segregation on the Railroads exhibit was placed in the baggage portion of the car.

Southern Railway baggage-express car 359 built by Pullman in 1926.

Presidential Pullman passenger car "Ferdinand Magellan" U.S. Car 1 built by Pullman in 1929. The "Ferdinand Magellan" is unique among Pullman railroad cars in that it is the only car ever custom-built for the President of the United State and one of a group of six cars named after famous explorers. The six cars were Ferdinand Magellan, David Livingstone, Henry Stanley, Marco Polo, Robert Peary and Roald Amundsen. These cars were all placed in the Pullman general service pool at about the same time and were operated by the Pullman Company over many of the nation's railroads.

Western Pacific Vista Dome "Silver Crescent" built by Budd in 1948 and used on the California Zephyr which ran from Chicago to Oakland between 1949 and 1970. The route covered 2,525 miles each trip and averaged two-and-a-half days to complete, for an average of 45 miles per hour. It was donated to GCRM in 1981.

United States Army Hospital Car 89436 built by American Car and Foundry in 1945 and was used heavily during World War II. The car was to carry one doctor, two nurses, four service personnel and could carry up to 33 patients. It was majorly used to move military patients between medical facilities. Declared surplus in 1969, it was acquired by the museum through the State of Florida Federal Surplus Program.

Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad sleeping car "Silver Vale" built by Budd in 1956. It became Burlington Northern then was sold to Amtrak in 1971 as 2675 and planned for \conversion to HEP 2876, but this was cancelled and the car was subsequently stored until sold in 1991 to GCRM.

Florida East Coast Railway maintenance-of-way car built by American Car & Foundry in February 1965 as a coach for the Union Pacific. It was purchased by the FEC for use in work train service. In 1996, it was renumbered 1996 to coincide with the City of Miami's & FEC's Centennial. The FEC 1996 contains an exhibit of South Florida railroad photographs. This car was donated by the Florida East Coast Employees as a gift for the Post Hurricane Andrew Recovery Effort.

Seaboard Air Line dining car 6112 built by Budd in 1947, then became Seaboard Coast Line 5917, Amtrak 8017 in 1971 and was sold to GCRM in 1984.

Florida East Coast caboose 715 built by the railroad in 1922 and moved here in July 2021.

NASA S-2 1 was built by the American Locomotive Company in 1943 for the United States Army. Acquired by the Department of Defense along with two other S-2s (numbered 2 and 3) to work at NASA's Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, it was used to move space craft components and fuels on Space Center property. The thirty-eight mile NASA Railroad, built by the Florida East Coast Line in 1963, connected its mainline to the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Because of its hazardous operational nature, NASA bought the line in June 1983. That year, NASA also bought three EMD SW1500 switchers built in 1968 and 1970 from the Toledo, Peoria & Western Railway to replace the aging S-2s, which were then donated to the museum.

Western Pacific baggage car "Silver Stag" built by Budd in 1948.

Original Miami Peoplemover on display with the remaining concrete supports for the 51 wooden truss arches of Naval Air station hangar 1.

NASA SW1500 2, nee Toledo, Peoria and Western 305 built by Electro-Motive Division in 1970 and acquired by NASA in 1983. GCRM obtained it in 2014.

Seaboard FP10 4033 built by Electro-Motive Division in 1946 as Gulf, Mobile and Ohio 800A, then Illinois Central Gulf and Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority 1101. In the early 1990s, it was sold to the Cape Cod Scenic Railroad before being bought by the museum in 2003.

Florida East Coast E8A 1594, nee Pennsylvania Railroad 5794, built by Electro-Motive Division in 1952. Pennsylvania Railroad joined Penn Central in 1968 when 5794 was renumbered 4254. It retained that number under Conrail in 1976 and later under the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. It was then sold to the Santa Clarita Railway in Saugus, California, a movie prop company. At some point, 4254 was leased to Tennessee 200 Inc., a company set up in 1993 to prepare for celebration of Tennessee's 200th anniversary in 1996. Along with ex CB&Q E9A 9988, it was painted in the old Louisville & Nashville blue and cream livery and lettered Spirit of Tennessee. The units toured with trains of bi-centenary exhibits that year. 4254 arrived at the museum in 2002 and has been repainted as FEC 1594.

NASA SW1500 2 bringing the coach out for the afternoon's train.

Florida East Coast Railway 4-6-2 113. I then visited the model railroad museum building.

They have many dioramas of all gauges.

Gold Coast Model Museum established in 1957.

Another of the layouts.

A children's area.

Model trains are displayed in wall-mounted cases.

Headlights of locomotives.

Another replica of the Rocket.

More locomotives in this case.

There are plenty of model trains on display.

Cases on locomotives.

Books, jacket and dining car china.

California and Denver Zephyr pictures.

The Pullman Porters.

The cases of locomotives. I returned to the main building and the catered lunch was ready so enjoyed chicken, potatoes and a piece of chocolate cake with bottled water.

The view out to the museum's engines.

Florida East Coast coach 136. After lunch near 1:00 PM, several members, including Elizabeth and I, boarded the train with a toot of a horn, I was riding the train at this museum, which was not operating during our last visit in January 2022.


Inside this car is a drawing of the Florida East Coast emblem.

Seaboard Coast Line tool car 765310 built by Pullman in 1924 as 10 section-1 drawing room-2 compartment sleeper "Lake Alexander", which was sold in 1948 to Seaboard Air Line 1251, converted to a maintenance-of-way bunk car and became Seaboard Coast Line 765310. It went to CSX before coming to the museum.

Seaboard Air Line dining car 6112 built by Budd in 1947.

Seaboard FP10 4033.

Florida East Coast E8A 1594.

This 150 ton steam operated crane was built by Industrial Works (later the Industrial Brownhoist Corporation) in 1919 as Atlantic Coast Line 65157. The crane became 765157 with formation of the Seaboard Coast Line in 1967 and retained that number when the Seaboard System was formed in 1983.

Atlantic Coast Line GP7 1804 built by Electro-Motive Division in 1951 for the United States Army Transportation Corps. It then worked hauling both freight and passenger trains on the Alaska Railroad as 1834 for most of its life, later renumbered 1804. 1804 was then sold to the Santa Clarita Railway. It was bought by the museum in 2002 and painted in the former Atlantic Coast Line livery. It is regularly used on switching at the museum's yard, and provides cab rides at weekends.

Gold Coast Railroad Museum RS-1 106 built by American Locomotive Company in 1951 for the Savannah River Site, a nuclear facility next to the Savannah River in South Carolina. The site was built during the 1950s to refine materials for nuclear weapons and is owned by the US Department of Energy.

Southern Pacific sleeping car 9001 built in 1950 as Southern Pacific 10 roomette-6 double-bedroom 9001. 10-6 sleepers were built as part of the re-equipping of the Sunset Limited. It was sold in 1971 to Amtrak as 2681, converted to HEP 2443 in 1980 and became "Walnut Grove".

Florida East Coast Railway coach "Belle Glade" built by Budd in 1946.

Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad 24 duplex roomette-8 double roomette slumbercoach 4901 "Silver Slumber" built by Budd in 1956. It became Burlington Northern, then sold to Amtrak in 1971, re-numbered 2021 and converted to HEP 2085 in 1980.

Chicago, Burlington and Quincy E9A 9913 built by Electro-Motive Division in January 1956, the last of the railroad's E-units. Renumbered 9983 when the Burlington Northern was formed in 1970, this unit was rebuilt in 1973 by Morrison Knudsen, renumbered 9913 and redesignated Class E9AM. It transferred to Chicago's Regional Transportation Authority (later METRA) in 1974 and hauled commuter trains as 9913 until it was retired in 1992. It was bought by Indiana Transportation Museum in 1994 and then sold to Tennessee 200 Incorporated in 1996. Repainted, it hauled the state's bi-centenary exhibits that year, and was finally bought by the museum in 2002.

We ran by the yard limit sign.

We passed the switch and it was thrown for our forward trip.

We ran through the remains of Hanger II out to the end of track at the south end of the museum, where we reversed to return.

The miniature train set was out of service due to bad track.

Two views looking back into the museum grounds.

We ran back by the yard limit sign then headed out north to the CSX Homestead Branch.

We went to the CSX line and where we would return to the museum.

Burro Crane Model 15 built by the Cullen-Friestedt Company of Chicago. The history is unclear, however small cranes like this were commonly used for maintenance of way work, such as lifting rails and ties, installing signalling equipment or point systems. The boom can be fitted with different tools depending on the assignment, from the simple hook hanging upside down here to an electromagnet.

Metra Cab Car 8723 built by Pullman in 1960.

Metra Coach 7670 built by Pullman in 1956.

Illinois Central caboose 199477 built by the railroad in 1970 as 9477.

Chicago and North Western bi-level coach 177 built by Pullman-Standard in 1961.

Chicago and North Western bi-level coach 37 built by Pullman-Standard in 1956.

Belcher Oil Company (BEPX) Tank Car 121 built by American Car and Foundry in 1920.

Belcher Oil Company (BEPX) Tank Car 105 built by American Car and Foundry in 1920.

Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Slug C had three slugs, or cabless auxiliary units, rebuilt from Alco S-2 switchers. They were assigned letters of the alphabet: A, B and C. C was rebuilt from RF&P S-2 71. The railroad rostered twenty-two S-2s purchased between 1942 and 1948. 71 was the last in an order of ten delivered in 1948.

A box car set up with a historical mural.

A railroad wheel set.

Winston Company 0-4-0 48, a 36" gauge steam engine built by Alco in 1922 for the Winston Company, of Edgefield, South Carolina. It may have been built as a tank locomotive and later converted. 48 passed through many owners, including Bona-Allen Inc., of Buford, Georgia, the Georgia Lumber Co., Lake Lure Scenic Railroad, the Daniel Boone Railroad and James Wells of Fairfax, Virginia, before arriving at the museum.

Next I waited for my turn to go through the Presidential Pullman passenger car "Ferdinand Magellan" U.S. Car 1.

"Ferdinand Magellan" History

Back before the President of the United States could climb aboard and fly the friendly skies in Air Force One, there was the Ferdinand Magellan presidential railcar, also known as U.S. Car Number 1.

The story of the only private coach railroad car built for presidential use began not long after the U.S. entered World War II in December of 1941. Secret Service agent Mike Reilly and Stephen Early, White House Press Secretary, advised President Franklin D. Roosevelt that an armored vehicle was needed to better protect and facilitate his travels around the country during a war. Roosevelt initially balked at the idea, but when informed that it would also be used to protect future presidents, he gave his approval.

The Pullman Company originally built the Ferdinand Magellan in 1928 as one of six other luxury railcars named after famous explorers. Once authorized, Pullman went to work retrofitting the 84-foot-long, 15-foot-high, and 10-foot-wide train car.

The 80-ton (160,000 pounds) car originally came with six rooms, but two were consolidated to make the presidential suite (via Culture Trip). Additionally, there were two guest rooms, a dining room/conference room, and the observation lounge at the back of the car. The lounge was created by removing one of the original staterooms. Each room had a telephone, and the e ntire car was "air-conditioned" by blocks of ice with fans blowing the cold air around the compartments. Pullman even customized the president's bathroom with a cigar holder because Roosevelt liked to light up a stogey while cleaning up.

Pullman really got to work by adding an additional 125,000 pounds worth of security features to the Ferdinand Magellan. First, it put 5/8-inch-thick bulletproof steel on all the areas (roof, floor, and sides) where the president stayed. It also installed 12-ply, 3-inch-thick laminated glass in many of the windows. Two escape hatches were installed in case the president needed to be extricated in an emergency. One was located in the bathroom where the window would have been and a second on the lounge's roof, fashioned from a submarine.

The Ferdinand Magellan was the heaviest U.S. railcar ever built when it was presented to Roosevelt, even needing special trucks to accommodate the weight. Pullman had to keep the car at 285,000 pounds because that was the limit allowed on bridges and trestles at the time.

U.S. Car Number 1 traveled with other White House railcars, including ones for staff quarters, offices, medical, and communications. Even the Presidential Limousine and Secret Service Cadillacs hitched a ride inside a garage car (via Atlas Obscura). The entire string was so heavy it often needed two locomotives to get it up steeper track grades.

The president's train car was never painted red, white, and blue, as it kept the original Pullman green. They even removed "Ferdinand Magellan" from the side of the car, which further helped to hide it in plain sight.

In the simpler times of the 1940s — before every house had a television — the Ferdinand Magellan was also pivotal in reelection campaigns. Keep in mind America's very first scheduled television broadcast had just taken place at the 1939 World's Fair in New York City, so TV was a new extravagance that very few people could afford. In fact, Roosevelt was the first president to appear on television during that World's Fair broadcast.

To reach out and touch the people quickly, Roosevelt (and then Harry S. Truman) went on campaign trips, state business, and personal trips via train. Roosevelt traveled some 50,000 miles in the Ferdinand Magellan during his 12 years as president.

When Roosevelt died suddenly in April of 1945, Truman was forced to take up the mantle of President. He used it for a few more years, most notably for his 1948 "whistle-stop" campaign, where he stopped at towns and cities along the tracks to give brief and raucous rally speeches. In total, he traveled over 31,000 miles and made 356 speeches from the back of the trail.

However, time moved on, and so did technology. Eventually, Truman stopped using U.S. Car Number 1 in favor of modern aircraft like the "Sacred Cow" and, later, "Independence," predecessors of Air Force One.

The Ferdinand Magellan is now housed at the Gold Coast Railroad Museum in Miami, Florida, where guided tours are available.

The kitchen of this car.

The Presidential dining room.

Stateroom B, the First Lady's bedroom.

The Presidential bathroom.

The Presidential bedroom.

The lounge area of the car.

The Flag of the United States of America shown in this car.

Pictures of the wall in the dining room.

Stained glass at the end of this historic car, which ends the tour.

I was very surprised to see a VIA Rail of Canada stepbox here in Florida.

A history board about the "Ferdinand Magellan".

Now the engineer of the train set up a photo runby opportunity of their excursion train and I took them up on it. Some of the members joined myself on the sunny side and Elizabeth stayed on the shady side. Our wait was not to long, but when the train was coming I changed the photo line and we set up for the rhoto runby.

The reserve move with the excursion train.

The photo runby with the excursion train. As it was quite hot (although a couple of the cars had air conditioning) and plenty of members had seen everything they wanted, the decisionw was made to leave the museum earlier than planned, so the new departure time was 3:00 PM. Everyone returned to the buses and headed back to Deerfield Beach.

The Hard Rock Hotel. Designed to resemble back-to-back guitars, this iconic engineering masterpiece rises 450 feet into the sky and houses 638 luxury guest rooms and suites. We then returned to the Doubletree Hotel, thus bringing an end to this year's National Railway Historical Society convention.

I went upstairs to my room and started writing the banquet story when Elizabeth called to tell me that Doug Scott had a railroad photo opportunity at the Deerfield Beach station this late afternoon. Elizabeth was busy shutting down the registration room and packing everything up.

Tri-Rail train P-634 came into Deerfield Beach.

Tri-Rail train P-639 arrived.

Next came our prize, Amtrak P42 160 in the 50th Anniversary paint scheme, led the Silver Meteor.

It slowly stopped and we relocated.

Amtrak Silver Meteor, Train 98, at rest.

Amtrak Heritage Unit 160.

Train 98 departed for Miami.

Tri-Rail train P-636 arrived, after which Doug and I returned to the Doubletree Hotel, finished the banquet story and started this one, which I finished at the Fort Lauderdale Airport the next day. Elizabeth went to Olive Garden for dinner with the rest of the convention committee then returned later.

9/7/2023 Elizabeth and I arose late and after checking the Internet and packing, went downstairs to breakfast then I worked on the story until 10:50 AM and we checked out. John Goodman offered us a ride to the Fort Lauderdale Airport and we loaded his rental car with our luggage. He then returned, putting his luggage in the back seat and we were off, dropping us at Delta and we paid the price to check our luggage. I worked on the story then I went to to say goodbye to John Goodman when he arrived from returning the rental car.

Delta Airline DL1512 9/7/2023

We boarded the plane, which was very different than other airlines I had flown in the past. Once in my window seat, I did word search puzzles for most of the flight to Atlanta.

Delta Airline DL2530 9/7/2023

Our gate had been changed so we went there and waited for our next flight then went to Boardwalk Burgers and Shakes wheren they messed up my order, but finally had it correct. We changed gates a second time and then it was time to board the plane. The boarding process was not as it should have been but once aboard, I gave Elizabeth the window seat as I played games and did word search puzzles for most of the flight to Kansas City.

Kansas City 9/7/2023

We retrieved our checked luggage then walked to the curb and boarded the bus to the rental car center. At Enterprise, we chose a Nissan Versa and soon were on the way to the Quality Inn for the night.