The JOHN EMERY RAIL HERITAGE TRUST is pleased to announce the following grants for this year. John Emery was a long-time Chicago resident who was an avid rail enthusiast who loved to ride trains around the world, and wanted to help preserve rail equipment and infrastructure that will allow future generations to share his experiences during what he considered the “Golden Age” of railway travel, from 1920 to 1960.

Thirty-one (31) applications were received requesting almost $ 850,000.00. After extensive research and serious consideration by advisors of the Trust, eightteen (18) grants were awarded grants totaling $ 250,000. The John Emery Rail Heritage Trust is the largest trust in the US that makes 100% of its awards solely for railroad restoration purposes.

For 2024, grants were approved for the following organizations/projects:

  1. Abilene & Smoky Valley Railroad Association: $ 5,000.00 to refurbish their ex-Missouri-Kansas-Texas passenger coach Enterprise.

  2. Adirondack Railway Preservation Society: $ 10,000.00 to help repair and restore their railroad coach 5320 Old Forge to a parlor car configuration.

  3. Austin Steam Train Association: $ 11,000.00 for traction motor rebuild and restoration of their ALCO RSD-15 locomotive #442.

  4. B&O Railroad Museum: $ 10,000.00 to replace windows in coaches and observation car that run on their Mile One Express Train.

  5. Branford Electric Railway Association: $ 6,000.00 for the re-upholstery of their Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee Car # 709.

  6. Colebrookdale Railroad Preservaton Trust: $ 15,000.00 for the roof restoration of ex-Wabash Pullman Parlor Observation Car Diplomat.

  7. Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society: $ 15,000.00 to help with the restoration of their ex-New York Central Railroad Empire State Express cars.

  8. Friends of SP4449: $ 15,000.00 for help with the repair of the roof, ventilation, and windows of their dining car #1349.
  9. Gulf Coast Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society: $ 21,000.00 to assist in providing head end electrical power to ex-Missouri-Kansas-Texas chair car New Braunfels.
  10. Illinois Railway Museum: $ 25,000.00 for electrical and air brake work on their Milwaukee Road long-distance coach #649.

  11. Iron Mountain Railway: $ 14,500.00 for roof replacement for 2 ex-Illinois Central coaches #1345 and #1365.

  12. Kentucky Steam Heritage Corporation: $ 23,000.00 to help with the oil burning conversion for ex-Chesapeake and Ohio 2-8-4 “Kanawha” #2716 steam locomotive.

  13. Michigan State Trust for Railway Preservation: $ 15,000.00 to help with the overhaul and seat re-upholstery of their coach #5447.

  14. Midwest Railway Preservation Society: $ 15,000.00 to help with the repair of ex-Nickel Plate Road coach #90.

  15. Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation: $ 1,000.00 to help in the initial stages of their ex-Oregon Railroad & Navigation Co. #197 (aka Union Pacific Railroad #3203) “Pacific” 4-6-2 steam locomotive restoration project.

  16. Railroad Museum of New England: $ 18,500.00 for help wih the restoration of ex-New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad ALCO RS-3 locomotive #529.

  17. San Bernardino Railroad Historical Society: $ 15,000.00 to help provide Positive Train Control (PTC) for ex-Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe #3751 4-8-4 steam locomotive.

  18. United Railroad Historical Society: $ 15,000.00 toward restoration of their ex-New York Central Railroad Great Steel Fleet tavern lounge car #37.

Congratulations to all the groups who received a grant and the best of luck as they continue to preserve our railroad heritage!

First Option Bank, Trustee of the Emery Rail Heritage Trust, continues to provide ongoing support during the application/selection process and due to their investment management the Advisory Committee is able to continually increase the effect this Trust has on the preservation of rail passenger travel.  If you would like more information about how to set up a Foundation or are interested in donating to the Emery Rail Heritage Trust, please contact them directly at 913-294-9222.

Applications for the next round of grants will be due not later than February 1, 2025.



Questions? Send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.


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