Stay up to date with the latest APTHM news!


APTHM wins a "Silver" metal!

The American Passenger Train History is pleased to announce our latest passenger car acquisition: California Zephyr Cable car lounge, 'Silver Shop'! We are honored by the Phil Sheridan Trust's donation of this historic piece of passenger rail history. And we are working on bringing 'Silver Shop' home to Charles City!

We need to raise $25,000 to prep, move, and secure 'Silver Shop' for preservation and restoration. You can give directly to the cause by going to our new online store and purchasing any number of the ‘Silver Shop’ labeled donation options. You can also send a check to PO Box 683, Charles City, IA 50616 and include in the memo the ‘Silver Shop’ fund. Thank you all for your amazing generosity!



You have options!





  1. The Depot will be moved to Museum grounds in October 6, 8, & 11, 2021!

  2. The move will cost about $350,000

  3. $353,000 has been raised so far!

  4. The matching grant of $100,000 by Jim Smith was a huge success

  5. Watch for more updates in the future.


  1. Phase 1: Move the Depot.

  2. Phase 2: Restore the Depot.  

  3. Phase 3: Enjoy the Depot.

    • Trailhead for Charley Western Trailway

    • Gateway into the American Passenger Train History Train

    • Parties and Special Events space


Our Donors making an Impact

Here are some of the ways donations will be memorialized!


Jim Smith $100K Match

Double your Impact?!

That's right!

For every dollar donated since October 2020, Jim Smith's $100k matching fund made an equivalent donation. That means, if you donated $50, Jim Smith's Match donated an additional $50. Thank you to donors like you who helped us meet Jim's full $100k Match for Phase 1 of the Depot Project!


The Downloadable Details

Brochure outside page.png

Save The Depot Brochure

Depot Site Plan


Depot Conceptual Plan


The Three Phases in Detail

Here are some more details on the 3 phases of this project.

Phase 1: Move The Depot

  1. Raise The Money by March 31, 2021 (Complete!)​

  2. Commit to the Canadian Pacific that we have raised the money and are ready to take possession of and then move the depot. (Complete!)

  3. Prepare the building to be moved (Currently in Progress)

  4. Prepare the new site with foundation and footings. (Currently in Progress)

  5. Make the move. (Estimated for September)

Phase 2: Restore The Depot

  1. Research historic plans and photos as a basis for restoration.

  2. Determine use of space.​

  3. Develop a restoration plan.​

  4. Research and Apply for Grants.

  5. Phase 2 Fund Raising efforts.

  6. Start restoring in prioritized sub phases.  


Phase 3: Enjoy the Depot

  1. Charley Western Trailway!

  2. Community Meeting Space​​!

  3. Rail Museum​ tours and special events!

  4. Make life-long memories!


APTHM: What We Do

We have a lot of projects on our plate.  Once the depot is moved we can look for grants to help us get it restored. Meanwhile we need to maintain and upgrade our existing tracks, buildings, and passenger cars.  Plans are under development for our eventual displays and telling the stories that accompany our equipment.


Save, Move, and Restore The Charles City Milwaukee Road Depot

It takes a village to move a Depot

This is a very large task.

· The move will cost about $350,000. This includes the move, excavation and a new

· The building is in structurally good condition with a new roof. It will need modern restrooms, new
Electrical, new Plumbing, new Air Conditioning and new Heating systems.

· We did it! We've raised $353,000 to move the Depot! Stay tuned for updates and starting renovations in Phase 2!

Get in Touch

Fixing Museum Infrastructure

One Board at a Time

As volunteer time and resources allow we are improving the quality of our track and also making internal structural repairs and improvements to our 110 year old shop building. 

We have recently removed part of the tracks in our yard off Grand Avenue and will be replacing the ties and some of the sub grade material.

The Shop building has seen some internal strengthening of rafters and rafter supports.

As with all historic relics, they require constant attention.

Get in Touch

Restoring our Cars

Breathing new life into old iron

The biggest struggle is to keep the cars weatherproof. Roofs and windows are the main way moisture can get in and destroy any original or restoration work we have done. We love these rust piles dearly and have spent many hours working on them.

Our Collection

Railway artifacts, local pieces of history, and more!

Want to see what other artifacts and antiques we have? Browse Our Collection by clicking the link below! We have a wide array of material and items ranging from historic pieces of Charles City and regional railway history as well as research and historical documents around passenger trains and equipment.


“History does not repeat itself, but it often rhymes”

Mark Twain

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