The Mid-South Chapter of the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society held its recent meeting at the Historic Leeds Depot with guest speaker David Brewer. Brewer is the executive director of the Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum (HODRRM) located in Calera and formerly the executive eirector of historic Rickwood Field in Birmingham.
In his presentation to the society, Brewer outlined the museum’s plans and goals which include increasing ridership on the weekly train rides that the museum offers, guiding the acquisition of equipment and its maintenance, and coordinating the large staff of volunteers required to keep things rolling. The museum is planning to restore, and make operational, the small steam train that was moved several years ago from the Birmingham Zoo to the HODRRM. Once that restoration is completed and the tracks are refurbished, people will be able to again ride that narrow-gauge train around the museum property.
Brewer voiced concerns regarding a new truck route being proposed to alleviate some of the truck traffic passing through downtown Calera. “the proposed route would cut through the midst of the HODRRM property and would be located where a proposed new museum building is planned” said Brewer. He indicated that the City of Calera and Shelby County both have been very supportive of the Railroad Museum and he hopes that negotiations can proceed in such a way that the truck route would not pass through HODRRM property.
Brewer encouraged members to visit the museum and walk among its trains and signaling equipment. There is no costs to view the equipment, however, tickets are available for riding the active train. For more information on regular train ride schedule, special event dates, ticket prices, museum and gift shop hours visit horde.org.