The sounds of train whistles and the sight of steam in the air brought joy and laughter to families and train lovers alike as Railroad Days full steam ahead on Saturday, May 6 through Sunday, May 7.
Railroad Days was a two-day event for families and rail fans of all ages to gathered and spend a day surrounded by historical machinery, rows of tents selling food and much more.
“It’s great having the opportunity to see old trains” said Jewel Retta, Oceanside resident. “We actually took the train up here.”
The event ran from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., offering attendees a full day of fun without having to worry about ticket prices since admission was free.
This is the eighteenth year that the Southern California Railway Plaza Association (SCRPA) hosted their community event that honors railroads. Volunteers and sponsors came together to help make this event a success.
SCRPA is a nonprofit, educational corporation that is dedicated to promoting public appreciation and awareness of Southern California’s rich rail history.
There were countless railroad model layouts under one giant tent at the center of the event. Each layout had their own theme and mini train running on their mini railroad track.
During the event, attendees were welcome to walk through the interior of SCRPA’s caboose collection. They represented all three major Class 1 railroads that served Southern California in the mid-20 century.
The Santa Fe 999110 was a part of the caboose collection and is known as a cupola-styled way car that dates back to 1929. “Way car” was a term used by the people of Santa Fe instead of caboose.
A fan favorite in the train event is the Santa Fe 3751. The appearance of the massive train was not only rich in beauty, but rich in history as well. A timeline stood right outside the train beginning in 1926.
A tour was available for attendees who wanted to learn more on the popular Santa Fe 3751.
“We have to do a 15-year-federal inspection on the boiler so all of the stuff you see back here we have to take off” explained Warren Peterson, fire chief at East Olympia Fire District, as he pointed to the boiler mechanics during the tour. “We are taking any donations to help put her back together after the required inspection.”
Not only did the spotlight highlight the history of trains, but the future as well. Metrolink publicized a new revamped train called the Tier 4 Locomotive.
“One of our goals is definitely taking care of our environment, which is why we are bringing the new Tier 4 into service soon.” said Roxann Nunez, communications coordinator for Southern California Regional Rail Authority at Los Angeles. “The new Tier 4 will be more eco-friendly by bringing down emissions and using less fuel.”
Although the event was free, donations are very much appreciated to help keep the event and the history of railroads alive.
For more information, you can visit the Fullerton Train Museum website.