Main fundraiser photo

APRHF Amtrak Exhibit Refurbishment

Tax deductible
The Exhibition of Amtrak History has been a beautiful source of history for guests that stop, or visit, La Plata, Missouri, but we need YOUR help with this project to make it better!

We want to:

Provide the cars with a solid base for the track and ties.
Paint the outside as close to original as possible.
Protect the cars with a shelter.

The ground needs leveled in order to have a very solid base under the cars. “New to us” track and ties would need to be purchased and laid.

The outside of the cars have been a sore spot for several years and we have been addressing issues that will help with the longevity of the cars. The leaks in the roof of the car’s have been fixed and now we want to put the cars back to “as close to original” as we can.

To help with the longevity of the cars in our future and care, we want to provide them with a shelter. Under this shelter will be new walkways that will be handicap accessible.

What is the Exhibition of Amtrak History?

The Exhibition of Amtrak History is housed in two ex-Amtrak material handling cars and is the only one like it in existence in the world. The displays inside the cars cover Amtrak from its inception in 1971 to modern day: the north car houses a Lionel layout and displays of the Dome Car, 40th Anniversary, Trails & Rails, and timetables through the years; the south car houses Amtrak memorabilia by the route, a large Ski Amtrak advertising map, menus, books, and etc. The cars only show part of the collection the APRHF has in its archives. This exhibit was dedicated in 2008 and has sat adjacent to the Depot Inn & Suites since.

What is so special about these cars?

The cars are from the late 80’s and 90’s when Amtrak entered the express business. It was not uncommon to see these type of cars on Amtrak trains across the USA. Sometimes there were more express cars than there were passenger cars on the trains. Most of these 1400 series cars were retired in the late 90’s and replaced by newer boxcars and expresstrak reefers. These cars were only used for a short time and the whole program was shut down in the early 2000’s. We have two 1400 series cars (1429 and 1451) that the Exhibition of Amtrak History reside in: the rest of the cars in this first series were scrapped.

Here is our plan for the project.

Step 1: Build a new track area (240ft) for the cars that will not sink into the ground (like what is happening now). This will require that the track and roadbed be built prior to the move to the Lookout Point Park annex to the east of the lookout. This track will be made longer, so we can accept another rail car donation in the future. The original track sections the cars sit on now, by the Depot Inn & Suites, will be stored for future use.  

Update 8/8/2018 We have widened our scope of trying to get the track, ties etc donated. If you know of anyone that can help make this happen please get them in touch with me.  If things do not work out this way we will reuse the track we have. It will be cheaper in the long run to have two crane moves. This would also allow us to be better stewards of your donations to us. Thank you for your support now and in the future.  So with that said.  If all goes as planned on this new way.  $10,000 is all we need to get step one moving forward. 

Update 5/1/2019 Still on the search for donations or discounted rail and ties.  We found out the other day that BNSF does not do this anymore. We do have a tie gang coming through the area and hopefully the group that picks up the ties will donate or sell us some.  If this does not work. We will have to go buy some used ties and then re-use the rail that is under the cars now.  This will allow us the ability to get the foundation built this year as well as set the ties. If the money for the move comes in $10,000.00 we will move the cars ASAP when the money is in the project account. That is only $100 from 100 people, $50.00 from 200 people or $25.00 from 400 people. We thank you in advance for your support on this one of a kind project. BTW the painter is going to stop by in a couple weeks and take a good look at the cars and get color samples to be sure he is ready when we are. 

Update 8/18/2019 We are on the schedule of Magers Construction to have the  foundation built soon. We have a new lead with the BNSF on a possible tie donation.  If not we will continue with buying them. The best news is we have rail donated for the project. This puts the project in fast forward and also changes the money needed to move the cars to the $5000.00 dollars. That is only $100 from 50 people, $50.00 from 100 people or $25.00 from 200 people. Sure makes that look a lot more attainable. We thank you in advance for your continued support of this project.  The  rail car painter was not able to stop by due to delays at the other workplace. We will save that until next year. There is still time to get these cars moved this year. I know we can make that happen. 

Update 9/10/2019 Magers Construction has set out the flags and is ready to move forward building the foundation. I have a new contact again for ties from BNSF. Fingers crossed. The math of donations still rings true. Everything is attainable when we all jump in together.  Thanks to everyone. 

Update 11/11/2019 The foundation is almost done and it looks great.  Still working on the tie procurement. Next spring the rails will be brought in. 

4/5/2020 Ties are donated and we are all set to build. We will get rolling on it ASAP. This donation helps us make this first step in this project closed but not completed. 

3/6/2021 The equipment to move the cars is being organized. Plan is for a spring 2021 move.  Step 2 is what we are collecting donations for now. 

The cost for this: $12,000 Funds for this step accomplished (Thank You all for your support)

Note from the APRHF president.  A donor mentioned that he looked at the donation totals on here and noticed they were not very high. He was actually hesitant to donate. I then showed him the balance in the account for this project. There are many private donations that do not show up here. I wish there was a way to add it to the total.  

Step 2: Time for a face lift: the exterior of the cars will be sandblasted and repainted. Proper electrical connections will be made and then the displays will be reset.  The first thing that will happen is the cars will be repainted to look like they did when they rolled off the floor at Thrall.  After that it is rebuild of the exhibits inside. This will include new showcases, larger Lionel layout display etc. This is the exciting part of this fundraiser project. 

The cost of this: $40,000

Step 3: Build a shelter (with roof) to protect the cars and the handicap accessible ramps to the cars. This shelter will be lit so the cars and walkway can be seen at night.
The original brick walkway with personalized bricks will be moved also.  *See note below*. 

The cost of this: $40,000

The time is now to take action to help the APRHF Exhibition of Amtrak History step up to the next level. This is a big and exciting project and we hope you are just as excited to help out with this change!! This project has been broken into stages, as you can see above. As each goal is met, that step will be done. This is one of a few projects that the APRHF will be working on over the next few years. All of these projects will enhance our efforts to educate and preserve passenger rail heritage and provide a public place where all ages can enjoy learning about and seeing the railroad. How fast will this project be done? It is according to how fast the donations come in.  The APRHF would love to break ground in the summer of 2019 on this project. 

*If you donate a $1000.00 or more you will become a conductor member of the APRHF and get a named brick placed in your honor in the new walkway to the cars. $5000.00 will get you a large engraved paver stone (put in place in the decorations around the cars)and conductor membership .*

The APRHF and its board thank you in advance for your support. This project will be a centerpiece of the Lookout Point Park.

If you would rather mail in a donation. Please send it to  P.O. Box 175, LaPlata, MO 63549 You may also send a donation via Pay-Pal


  • Doug Meyer
    • $10 
    • 1 yr
  • Anonymous
    • $10 
    • 1 yr
  • Anonymous
    • $100 
    • 1 yr
  • Jim Brooks
    • $20 
    • 1 yr
  • Jeff T
    • $5 
    • 2 yrs


Bob Cox
La Plata, MO
American Passenger Rail Heritage Foundation
Registered nonprofit
Donations are typically 100% tax deductible in the US.

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