The San Leandro Historical Railway Society (SLHRS) is housed in the San Leandro depot which was built in 1898 by the Southern Pacific Railroad to replace the original depot built by the Central Pacific Railroad in 1865. The depot was officially opened in June of 1898. It was instrumental in the agricultural and industrial growth of San Leandro and the surrounding area. Examples of this are the San Leandro Plow Company and the Daniel Best Manufacturing Company which evolved into the Caterpillar Tractor Company and the cherry orchards which are celebrated by San Leandro’s Cherry Festival for over 100 years in June.
The depot was in use as a passenger facility until the Second World War, when the passenger agency was closed down as a “non-essential service.” The depot was downgraded and used as a break facility for switch crews working the San Leandro area.
The depot was sold to the Society (for $1.00) in 1988. On December 11, 1988, the building was moved to its current site and work was begun on its restoration. In June, 1989, the museum and depot were officially reopened to the public. At that time the building was also designated a San Leandro Historical Site and has a bronze plate affixed to the front of the building.
Construction of the HO scale model railroad display began in 1991. As with most model railroad displays, there is always more work to do. Per the National Model Railroad Association (NMRA) Kalmbach Memorial Library, the SLHRS has the largest HO scale helix in the United States both in height and in diameter.
There is over 4,000 feet of track on 3 levels, dozens of switches, and miles of wiring that have been installed by society members. It takes about 45 minutes for a train to travel the entire length of the display at scale speed. Most locomotives and rolling stock are membership owned and cared for.
The maintenance of the museum and construction of the model railroad display are performed by members of the society. Financial support is through membership dues and donations from visitors and railroad enthusiasts. The SLHRS receives no public funds.
The SLHRS has programs for many age levels; novice (ages 6 through 13), student (ages 14 through 18), and general membership. Our novice program requires parental or adult supervision. We also welcome contributing sponsors for those who want to support our organization, but are unable to participate on a regular basis.
The Society holds general meetings on the first Friday of each month (except for major holidays) at 7:30 PM in the depot.
For those who would like to contribute to the San Leandro Historical Railway Society (SLHRS) and choose not to participate in the Society, there are Contributing Sponsorships available for as little as $15 per year.
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The San Leandro Historical Railway Society is a 501 (c)(3) Non-Profit Corporation. Receipts for your donation can be provided upon request. Contact Us to learn how you can donate.