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, Gary Anderson. He knew that for the longevity of the rail cars something had to be done to protect them from environmental factors to prevent further degradation. The dream is being realized, 30 years later with Executive Director Tammy Morgan on board.

The rail cars, most of which are upwards to or over 100 years old and made out of fine wood and other organic materials, take a lot of resources and intervention to keep up with preservation efforts. Currently, maintenance as well as heating and cooling systems for the rail cars costs up to $60,000 dollars a year. The train shed will cut costs dramatically while preserving the cars for generations to come and will allow that money to be put towards new exhibits and programming for the community.

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 before it’s expected completion in summer 2019.

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, an accessible new platform will be constructed, allowing for people with physical disabilities and others who do not want to take a guided tour an opportunity to view and learn about the rail cars at their own pace.

Future phases surrounding the Heritage Rail Car Building will include walling the structure, adding solar panels, heating, air-conditioning, and concrete floors used for display areas.

This project will ensure that we can continue to build a reputation based on the quality of exhibits, programs, and education services that we provide to the people of Cranbrook and beyond. The shed will allow us to provide additional school programs and projects, paleontology lectures and programs, and potentially an additional gallery space to showcase information on the Kootenay Area. The preservation of the trains is key, and without a Train Shed they will continue to deteriorate and will no longer be able to be on our. Ultimately, this would mean a piece of Canadian History will be lost.

Model of the train shed.

Total Funds Raised


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