Portola Union Pacific Train Museum Announces Plans to Become Premier RR History Operation in North America


Portola Western Pacific Railroad museum secures a one million dollar grant to expand. The historic railroad museum is a long-standing tourist attraction in the City of Portola, bringing over 10% of the county’s tourism. The railroad has a rich history in the county, with the final gold spike hammered in to complete the railroad line in 1909.

Eugene Vicknair, a board of directors for the museum and corporate secretary for Feather River Rail Society, said talks of “big ideas” to make “big things happen” have been in the works for some time. the grant was secured through Congressman Doug La Malfa’s office to complete phase one of the Whitman building.

The Whitman building, named after the society’s longest-standing president, Frederic Whitman, will be 20,000 sqft at the West end of the parking lot. Vicknair added that the new steel building could double as an event center for entertainment, host sports tournaments, or serve as an emergency mass casualty center for public health. This phase of the project would begin as the anchor to future expansions. That would include a 300 ft long building to house a train car representing the decades starting in the 1920s.
A renowned S.F. architect who boasts such projects as the S.F. Exploratorium and Monterey Bay Aquarium has been brought in to participate as the consultant on the project.

The Feather River Rail Society’s “long-term goal is to develop the WPRM into one of the premier railroad history operations in North America and to have it play a significant and pivotal role in the economic health and development of Plumas County.”