Pacifica Historical Society pushes fundraiser to restore, display antique rail car

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Saturday, April 22, 2023
Pacifica Historical Society pushes to restore antique rail car
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The Pacifica Historical Society is raising money to refurbish the last rail car of the old Ocean Shore Railroad.

PACIFICA, Calif. (KGO) -- There's a push in Pacifica to restore a piece of Bay Area railroad history.

The Pacifica Historical Society is raising money to refurbish the last rail car of the old Ocean Shore Railroad so they can put it on display for the public.

They hope to combine old with new and add virtual reality technology.

A flatbed truck carried the antique railroad car to its new location on March 30.

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The car is the last one used by the old Ocean Shore Railroad, which used to go from San Francisco to Santa Cruz, and helped establish the towns along the coastline.

Historians say it was the car was first purchased by the railroad in 1909.

Mike O'Neill, who is on the board of directors of the Pacifica Historical Society, said it was discovered in a backyard in Sebastopol. He said the railroad opened up the Coast to the U.S.

"It also introduced the United States to artichokes," O'Neill said. "At one point, Pacifica grew 95% of the artichokes in the United States. Despite all the biotech, all the high tech, there is a $100 million a year industry of agriculture in San Mateo County."

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They want to display the rail car in a parking lot on Francisco Boulevard in Pacifica, across from the Pacifica Coastside Museum.

They're funding the refurbishing with private donations.

A fundraiser is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday on Francisco Boulevard across from the Pacifica Coastside Museum. It's a paint party for children and they'll be accepting donations.

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They're also raising money on GoFundMe.

O'Neill said they eventually want to make this a virtual reality experience so you would sit in the rail car and put on a VR headset and get the experience of riding down the San Mateo County Coast from Pacifica to Santa Cruz.

More info about the rail car can be found here.

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