Livermore Southern Pacific Railroad Depot

From Citizens For Balanced Growth Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

Historic Building

Livermore's Southern Pacific Railroad Depot was built in 1892 on the original rail line of the transcontinental railroad[1]. It served as Livermore's railroad station for decades. Although it was nearly torn down in the 1970s, it was saved by the Livermore Heritage Guild [2] and remains in its original location[3].


On October 30 2006, the Council approved a development agreement with Anderson Pacific to build houses on the land occupied by the depot[4]. Though the development failed, efforts have continued to move the depot, establish a viable plan to restore and operate it, and consider other types of development on the depot site. A $2.5 Million federal grant was obtained to move it to a nearby transportation hub and put it into transportation related use. Livermore also plans to spend $500,000 of general fund money to complete the budget[5].

On January 23 2017, Council elected to move the station [6]

Relocation Advocacy

Until recently, The Livermore Heritage Guild played a leading role in the continued relocation planning.

In addition to accommodating development, the move is an opportunity to put the depot back into service as a transportation hub, a function it has not served for over 4 decades since the tracks beside it were removed. Advocates say that the best way to preserve the depot is to use it, especially if it can be restored to its original use. Usually this is not possible, and old depots often become restaurants, antique shops or office space (which is not viewed as dignified by historians). The opportunity to have this depot do exactly what it was intended to do and restore it to that role is exciting historians, rail buffs and citizens anxious to save the depot.

The City has spent $362,000 for historical architects from Page and Turnbull[7] to lead the restoration and move, and they have produced a detailed plan for the restoration work which includes original colors, restoring original trim, and removing unwise modifications that were added over time. Advocates say that there is no way to keep the $2.5 Million grant unless the depot is relocated. Grants such as these are not easy to obtain, and this commitment is in hand. Furthermore, if not relocated it would remain dependent on unknown funding for operating cash. This reality has not served it particularly well so far.

Criticism of Relocation

Others suggest the Depot should remain where it is and argue that there is money available to accomplish the preservation activity. They also contend that the genesis of the relocation was financial, not for preservation reasons. They cite 4/22/13 report:[8] “relocating the Railroad Depot building will significantly enhance the value of the Livermore Village site, resulting in higher proceeds from the sale and development of the site.” In contrast to the advocates, they believe the grant would be useable even if the depot were not moved[9]. The MTC would need to approve this new use of funds, though it is argued that the approval would not face resistance[10].

The 2016 Livermore Heritage Guild board meeting was disrupted by relocation critics. A vote of members present ensued, and the result was to no longer recommend moving the Depot.