New Executive Director

Updated: Jul 7, 2019

Author and communications expert to build partnerships and with a commitment to expand LA's rail heritage community across the Southland

JANUARY 18, 2019 – The Los Angeles Railroad Heritage Foundation (LARHF), founded in 2000 to preserve and present Southern California’s dynamic rail transportation history, announced today that Elrond Lawrence has been named the foundation's new Executive Director.

Lawrence, a communications professional, writer and photographer who authored the popular book Route 66 Railway (published by LARHF), plus scores of articles for rail and roadside America publications, began transitioning to the role effective January 1, working with Josef Lesser, retiring CEO and co-founder of the 501 (c)(3) non-profit foundation based in Eagle Rock.

"For 19 years, LARHF has worked to connect railroads, transit, and rail history with audiences across Los Angeles and Southern California," said Lawrence, "and I’m thrilled to build on its mission of outreach and preservation and guide the foundation into its third decade."

LARHF hosts field trips to railroad and transit facilities, offers a Boy Scout Merit Badge Program in railroad safety and careers, and maintains an extensive vintage photography archive and library for historians. The foundation operates eight history exhibits in public spaces such as Philippe's French Dip in downtown Los Angeles, Spaghetti Factory restaurants in Orange County and Riverside, plus others.

"What excites me most is the opportunity to expand people's awareness of LA's railroad heritage and to collaborate with the Southern California preservation community," Lawrence added. “Trains and rail transit are fascinating, colorful, fun, and they link the Southland to its rich history. In addition to our continuing programs we’re planning an online hub that will celebrate SoCal railroads, their exciting future, and the people who preserve rail equipment and stations for future generations."

LARHF also announced the publication of its next book, Hollywood Trains and Streetcars, co-authored by Lesser and Los Angeles historian Marc Wanamaker, to be released in fall 2019.

Visit the foundation’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages for news and updates, or email For membership information visit the foundation’s website. Offices are located at 825 Colorado Blvd., Suite 242, in Los Angeles (Eagle Rock), and its resources are available to media and historians. Email or call 626-458-4449 for more information.

Elrond Lawrence grew up in Fontana, Cal., living in the Inland Empire with his wife Laura before moving to the central coast. He’s an award-winning author and photographer whose work appears in Trains magazine and other publications.

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