Florida's Gold Coast Railroad Museum offers 20 pieces for sale in transition plan

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Among 20 pieces of rolling stock offered for sale at the Gold Coast Railroad Museum is Florida East Coast 4-6-2 No. 113.
Trains: Jim Wrinn
MIAMI, Fla. — A south Florida railroad museum facing financial hardship is transitioning to an events venue and as part of that change the Gold Coast Railroad Museum will sell 20 pieces of rolling stock, including a Florida East Coast steam locomotive.

According to the Ozark Mountain Railcar equipment brokerage website, the Gold Coast Railroad Museum in Miami is offering rolling stock that includes FEC Pacific-type steam locomotive No. 113 and two EMD cab units. Museum Board President Jeff Brown says in an interview with Trains Newswire that the sale of the equipment is part of the museum’s transition to a mixed-use events venue for weddings, gatherings, motion picture productions, and other activities. He said the transition is a way to keep the museum open and operating.

“We decided that the best thing to do would be to, in future, to start marketing our property,” Brown said. “We have decided that we’re going to become a special events area. We’re going to maintain the collection — the prime items that we have — and we’re going to sell the excess equipment.”

Not for sale is another FEC Pacific, No. 153, which makes it unnecessary for the museum to keep sister No. 113. The two locomotives are not operational. “We don’t need another steam engine that’s identical to that one (No. 153),” he said. “And there’s a little key to that one (No. 113) being sold: It will only be sold to somebody that can prove they have the funds to restore this engine and operate it, or we’re not going to sell it. It’s not going to go sit in somebody else’s back yard. We want it to run.” Brown said the museum has two parties interested in the locomotive. He added that California Zephyr passenger cars Silver Crescent, and Silver Stag, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt presidential office car Ferdinand Magellan are also not up for sale.

Brown said the sale of the equipment listed on Ozark Mountain’s website is also part of an effort to update the museum’s passenger car fleet with stainless steel Budd coaches. He said in order to get new cars, mostly from Ozark Mountain Railcar, the older cars will have to be sold. Brown said many of those cars up for sale have been used little and are not visually appealing.

He said the condition of the cars was a factor in the museum losing the licensing to conduct Polar Express events. “We just have too much junk,” he said. “People complain about the junk … that’s never good PR when the newspaper comes out to do an article on us and they make a remark about all the rusted junk. It just gives us a bad reputation, so we’re trying to clean that up, as well.”

Brown said the is struggling to cover $30,000 in monthly operating expenses. He said the museum also saw a drastic decline in revenue with its 2018 Polar Express event from the year before. One reason Brown cited for losing the event license was the condition of some of the equipment at the museum.

Brown said by transitioning to an era of marketing the museum property, the museum will be better able to cover the monthly expenses. “We’re not going out of business. We just have to clean this place up a little bit,” he said. “We have to sell the equipment to get the new equipment, that’s just the bind we’re in right now, because there’s just no money in the bank.”

Brown added that rumors that CSX planned to sell or abandon the rail line adjoining to the museum are not true, and he denied any connection between the sale and that rumor. A CSX official also confirmed that the railroad has no plans to sell or abandon the line, which is the Homestead Spur off the Miami Subdivision.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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