Heritage Rail Car Building

The Issue

The need for a roof to cover the historic trains was identified in the 1990’s by the original founding Executive Director of the Cranbrook History Centre, Garry Anderson. He recognized that lifespan of this remarkable collection of rail cars was limited unless something was done to protect them from the environment.

The rail cars, most of which are upwards to or over 100 years old and feature fine wood and other organic materials, require significant resources and some intervention to preserve. Currently, maintenance as well as heating and cooling systems for the rail cars costs up to $60,000 dollars a year. A train shed roof could cut costs dramatically, while preserving the cars for generations to come.

Trains cars covered in snow during the winter. The melt water leaks into the cars and can cause irreversible damage.

The Project

Beginning in the spring of 2018, the project will undergo multiple phases, as funding allows.

The building, contracted by Tyee Homes based in Kimberley, BC will be 3,000 sq. feet in total. Heavy timber frames and exposed naturally coloured roof structure will enhance the beauty of the rail cars as well as preserve them. In addition to the roof, a platform will be constructed, improving access for the elderly and for people with physical disabilities.

Future phases surrounding the Heritage Rail Car Building will include walling the structure, adding solar panels, heating, air-conditioning, and concrete floors for display areas. Constructing a roof over our treasured railcars will ensure that we can continue to offer exhibits, programs, and education services to visitors from across town and around the world. The preservation of these railcars is critical, and without a Train Shed these irreplaceable treasures will continue to deteriorate and may soon be lost.

Model of the train shed.

A big THANK YOU to the following sponsors of the Rail Car Preservation Project: