Logo Los Angeles Railroad Heritage Foundation



The Los Angeles Railroad Heritage Foundation is a non-profit educational corporation chartered in the State of California in 1999 as a California Corporation numbered C2104684. The corporation is tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. The Foundation maintains offices at 1500 West Alhambra Road, Alhambra, California.

The Foundation's mission is to diligently preserve and dynamically present the history of railroading in Los Angeles through its three core programs: public outreach, archival preservation, and multiple-media publishing. Each of these programs is interdependent and together they will enable the Foundation to achieve its mission.

The Foundation publishes one title every year or two and offers it for sale. They do not reprint their books once the print run is sold out. Here is their current publication:




Hollywood’s Trains & Trolleys

Lesser, Joseph and Wanamaker, Marc

Los Angeles Railroad Heritage Foundation

Archival photos. Illustrations specially created. Double page map in color. Decorative color endpapers

216 pages



Pub Date: 11/1/2019

MADE IN HOLLYWOOD - a phrase often synonymous with the production of motion pictures. So, why is this book different from all other books published in the past with their subjects about trains, trolleys, cowboys, and the West? Because in this book all the motion pictures described and illustrated were produced and crafted within a 30-mile radius of Hollywood. The only exception is the location of Railtown 1897 State Historic Park in Jamestown, CA. It is a lot more economical to build a set in your "own backyard" than to take a production crew on location farther than 30-miles. To be able to travel daily to the studio from your home makes a lot of sense. A movie like The Broadway Limited, which celebrated the famous Pennsylvania Railroad train operating between Chicago and New York City, was recreated down to the rivets on a stage in Hollywood. It was then produced on a sound stage not in Chicago or New York City but in Hollywood. In Hollywood's Trains & Trolleys, locations of film scenes, studios, and trolley and train lines are identified with street locations. A map helps locate and find the sites and vestiges of bygone Hollywood memories. So, sit back, reminisce, and enjoy the golden age of trains and trolleys in Hollywood!

The Los Angeles Railroad Heritage Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit public benefit corporation, working to preserve and dynamically present the history of railroading in Los Angeles and Southern California through public outreach, archival preservation and multimedia publishing.


Josef K. Lesser established J. K. Lesser Productions in 1962 to produce marketing, sales and training films for business and industry. A sampling of the films they produced were for companies such as Statham Instruments (transducers for medical and aviation), American Pneumatic Tool Co., Ameron Corp. (plastic pipe, corrosion control), Hydril Co. (oil well drilling equipment), Cla-Val Corp. (all kinds of hydraulic valves), ITT Jabsco (pneumatic valves for aerospace), Whittaker Corp. (Controls Division, Dynasciences, ERI, Tasker Industries (mostly military ship and air OEM suppliers). His final production was for the company Smith-Emery (a construction testing laboratory and inventor of the seismic beam connection). Mr. Lesser had 45 years of film production experience working together with his wife, Jo Ann Lesser with an additional 20 years as co-founder with Ronald Gustafson. He served as president and today continues as the CEO of the Los Angeles Railroad Heritage Foundation. In 1996 he was invited to be the guest curator at the California Heritage Museum in Santa Monica, designing and installing a six-month display, The Southern California Railroad Experience.   Since 1996 Mr. Lesser’s time has been occupied in the day-to-day operations of the Los Angeles Railroad Heritage Foundation. With headquarter offices in Eagle Rock its public outreach program includes ten permanent “satellite” displays, lectures, panels, field trips, an extensive photography archive, ephemera collection and library. The Foundation (LARHF) has published five books. Its mission is to diligently preserve and dynamically present how the railroads and interurban systems impacted the social and economic fabric of the greater Los Angeles Basin.

Marc Norman Wanamaker is an historical author, writing on early Los Angeles and Hollywood. He is the founder of Bison Archives, which manages research on the motion picture industry. He helped form and worked with the American Film Institute. He was a co-founder of the Los Angeles International Film Exposition and American Cinematheque.



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Here are some of the books that the Los Angeles Railroad Heritage Foundation has published in the past:



Route 66 Railway: The Story of Route 66 and the Santa Fe Railway in the American Southwest

by Elrond Lawrence



192 pages

Over 300 photos. 16 more pages, plus updated text & photos. Color endpaper maps. Post cards & memorabilia. Cover: Warbonnets and Route 66, Cajon Pass, California, 2003. Rear jacket: Sunset at Chambers, Arizona, 2005.


Revised and Expanded! Route 66 Railway explores the relationship between U.S. Highway 66 and the Santa Fe Railway in the American Southwest. For 90 years and more than 800 miles, these famous routes have been constant companions through California, Arizona, and New Mexico. This book is a visual road trip over these icons and the land they traverse, filled with spectacular photography and engaging text. Nine decades of history bind these ribbons of steel and asphalt; each has experienced triumph, decline, and rebirth. U.S. Highway 66 was decommissioned in 1985, not long after the final section in Williams, Arizona was bypassed by Interstate 40. The Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway, which built into California during the 1880s, passed into history in 1995 when it merged with Burlington Northern Railroad to become today's BNSF Railway. Yet both legends thrive with newfound popularity. Route 66 has undergone a renaissance among travelers who want to experience the real American adventure, far from bland Interstates. BNSF has become one of the nation's busiest railroads—as many as 100 trains a day parallel the old highway through deserts, mountains, canyons, and dusty towns filled with warm souls and a determination to endure. Nearly 300 dramatic photographs will transport you up California's Cajon Pass, across the Mojave Desert and Arizona Divide, and past the mesas of New Mexico. Experience places where the worlds of road and railroad meet, and recall the days when crossing the Southwest was an adventure. Visit colorful cafes, tourist traps, motor courts, railroad depots, and more, all amid the thunder of passing trains. In Route 66 Railway, the journey is the destination!

Lawrence Elrond

Elrond Lawrence is an award-winning photographer and writer with a passion for railroads and roadside America. He grew up in Southern California's San Bernardino Valley and began taking pictures in the early 1980s. His work regularly appears in magazines, books, calendars, and advertising. Elrond lives in Salinas, California, with his wife Laura, daughter Kathryn, and three cats.




 by Tom Zimmerman and Roger L. Titus

A new book from the Los Angeles Railroad Heritage Foundation


Follow the Route of the Mission Bell


$39.50 – Hardbound, 208 pages, 9780578116204 

Over 250 photos

Color endpaper memorabilia

Post cards & maps


From the treks of the padres who established the missions of California, El Camino Real – the King's Highway – became the dramatic story of the Golden State.


The birth of the automobile era in the early twentieth century and the construction of Highway 101 so near to the twenty-one missions enhanced that story. Adding drama in the 1930s was the introduction of the Southern Pacific's celebrated Daylight passenger trains along the same route.


The relationship of the missions, the coastal highway, and the railroad paralleling them – never previously explored together – has at last been told. Lively descriptions and thoughtful analysis by historians Tom Zimmerman and Roger L. Titus bring that story to life, enriched by beautiful vintage and modern images and post cards.


Carton of 16 of El Camino Real = 40% and free freight




Destinations: How Trolleys and Postcards Helped Create the Southern California Dream, 1989-1950s

by Roger T. Titus and Jim Bunte

$21.95 - Paperback, 96 pages, 9780977815203 

 illustrated with hundreds of vintage postcards and rare Pacific Electric Railway memorabilia

Travel back in time, to a Southern California that was still wide-open space, where everything and everyone was interconnected by the trolleys of the Pacific Electric Railway. To most, these bygone days are a distant memory, but to postcard collectors, they are as vivid and vibrant as the day these colorful icons of another time were printed. Learn how trolleys and postcard publishers helped real estate developers transform Southern California from a sleepy, agricultural backwater into a bustling metropolis of the 21st century. DESTINATIONS by Roger L. Titus and Jim Bunte is an entertaining journey through the Southland's colorful history, illustrated with hundreds of vintage postcards and rare Pacific Electric Railway memorabilia. The trolleys of the Pacific Electric may be gone, but their influence continues to this very day.


ROGER L. TITUS is a Southern California native and Pacific Electric Railway historian, thanks to the influence of his father Robert, who took Roger on PE rides as the system was abandoning its network in the 1950s. Roger is also a well-known deltiologist (postcard collector) and a retired State of California Park Ranger Peace Officer, whose last assignment was the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento. Today he is a conductor on the McCloud Railway near Mount Shasta. JIM BUNTE has made a career from the celebration of the vintage. His credits include editing Classic Toy Trains and Collecting Toys Magazines, co-authoring Vintage Toys: Robots & Space Toys, and serving as Vice President of Design and Creative for Lionel, the venerable toy train manufacturer. Today he works with entrepreneurs as a publishing and design consultant, but his favorite activity is editing and designing books like DESTINATIONS. Jim is a native Southern Californian.