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Railway & Locomotive Society Southern California Fairplex Pomona Railroad Display 2/12/2011

by Chris Guenzler

I finally remembered the Railway & Locomotive Society Southern California Chapter Railroad display at the Fairplex in Pomona that is open to the public from 10:00 AM until 3:00 PM the second weekend of each month. I had wanted to visit it for years to write a story about it but never remembered it until this week, so made plans to go there. After a train ride from Santa Ana to Irvine and back, I went on the Let's Talk Train chat room to let AC Adam know what I was doing before I drove north on California Highway 57 to Interstate 10 to Fairplex Drive, then left to Gate 18 where I entered the Fairplex Grounds. I drove down the hill where I found the display, parked the van and walked over.

The sign of the Railway & Locomotive Society Pomona Railroad Museum and Display.

RailGiants Museum Information

The Railway and Locomotive Historical Society, founded in 1921, is the oldest organization in North America devoted to railroad history. Its object is to promote research and to encourage preservation and documentation of all facets of railroading. We take pleasure in welcoming you to our exhibit at the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds in Pomona, California. A small group of devoted railroad historians gathered in a home in the spring of 1953 and set the wheels in motion to organize this local chapter and on June 5, 1953 the deed was done.

This exhibit first opened in 1954 with our first acquisition, the Climax geared type locomotive, 3. It was donated by Sunkist Growers, Inc. Since that time seven more locomotives, a Heavyweight Pullman Lounge, a Santa Fe wooden caboose, refrigerator car, an AT&SF Horse Express car and two track motor cars have been added to the rolling stock exhibit.

The center of Museum activities is the former Santa Fe Depot from Arcadia, California. This was given to the Society in the summer of 1969. Built in 1895, it witnessed the daily passing of the Santa Fe's finest trains but became obsolete with the coming of the 210 Freeway. It had to be moved or demolished and so it is now preserved as a classic example of a 19th Century Santa Fe station.

Our exhibit is maintained by a dedicated staff of volunteers who work at the museum to keep our exhibits maintained for public exhibition. Admission to the Museum is always free, we only ask for you generous donations to help maintain our historic railroad equipment.

Beside the Arcadia Santa Fe station was a semaphore signal.

The Arcadia Santa Fe station built in 1887. It was given to the Society in the summer of 1969 after it had watched the finest of the Santa Fe Railway passenger fleet pass its location in Arcadia for years.

Timetable board and Santa Fe emblem.

Two baggage carts. Note the wheel styles whch they both have.

A cut-down crossing signal.

Locomotive wheel on display.

Track gang equipment.

There is a single blade semaphore signal next to Santa Fe 4-6-4 3450.

Santa Fe 3450 with its smokebox door open.

Two more views of Santa Fe 4-6-4 3450 built by Baldwin in 1927 and presented to the museum in 1955 by the Santa Fe Railway.

United States Potash 2-8-0 3 built by Baldwin in 1903 as a 36 inch gauge engine for the Morenci Southern Railroad in Southern Arizona running from Morenci on the San Francisco River to connect with the Arizona & New Mexico Railroad in Guthrie, Arizona. The line was completed in 1901 and its winding route and heavy grades limited passenger trains to only three cars and a caboose. It took two hours to climb 1,400 feet and complete the 18 mile trip. The railroad also shipped copper ore for its owner, the Detroit Mining Company.

The most distinguishing feature of the Morenci Southern was a series of five loops built to negotiate the Morenci Gulch. The first loop was at Morenci, followed by three more loops in the canyon constructed in part from wooden trestles. The final loop incorporated a tunnel by the San Francisco River, briefly earning it the name “the cork screw railroad of America”. In 1914, three of the five loops were replaced with switchbacks, adding about 0.4 miles to the route. When the Morenci Southern was abandoned in 1922, 3 was bought by United States Potash for their ore hauling railroad at Carlsbad, New Mexico, where it operated until 1946.

A double semaphore signal.

Southern Pacific 4-10-2 5021 built by American Locomotive Company in 1926. Delivered in 1926, 5021 initially hauled passenger trains over the Sierra Nevadas but was soon moved to fast freight. Its last years were spent working largely in Oregon on the Portland Division, remaining in service until 1955.

Santa Fe Horse Express Car 1922 built by the Pullman Company in 1930. The chapter was fortunate to obtain the 1992 from the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe in 1971 with all of the stalls in place.

Nickel Plate Railroad business car "Mountain City" built by the Pullman Company in 1923. After remodelling, it was named "Carlton Club" and numbered 6. It was later purchased by the Palos Verdes Peninsula Railway Company as a private railcar then by the Robert P. Warmington Company as a real estate office. They donated the car to RailGiants.

A track indicator signal.

Union Refrigerator Transit Line Refrigerator Car 67806 built by General Transportation Company in 1950 as a Milwaukee Road car.

Santa Fe wooden caboose 1314 built by American Car and Foundry as a drover caboose in 1923.

Union Pacific's two biggest locomotives, DD40X 6915 and Big Boy 4-8-8-4 4014.

Union Pacific DD40X Centennial 6915 built by Electro-Motive Division in 1969. The class was named in honour of the 100th anniversary of the driving of the Golden Spike at Promontory, Utah, on 10th May 1869. In fact, 6900 was rushed to completion so that it could participate in the associated ceremonies that took place in May 1969.

Union Pacific Big Boy 4-8-8-4 4014 built by American Locomotive Company in 1941. It was designed for heavy grades between Ogden and Wahsatch, Utah and also on Sherman Hill just west of Cheyenne, Wyoming. It last ran in July 1959 and was donated to the chapter in 1962.

Rear view of DD40X 6915 and Big Boy 4014.

View of the grounds.

Front view of Union Pacific 4-12-2 9000.

Union Pacific 4-12-2 9000 built by Alco-Brooks in 1926. 9000 worked freight, mainly between Council Bluffs, Iowa and Green River, Wyoming.

Rear view of Union Pacific 9000.

Another view of the grounds.

Under restoration is Outer Harbor Terminal Railway 0-6-0 2 by American Locomotive Company in 1887 as Santa Fe 580. In 1893, it was sent to the Southern California Railway where it was renumbered 40. In 1900, it was transferred back to the Santa Fe and re-numbered 2285. In 1906, the Santa Fe took over the Southern California Harbor Dock & Wharf Company and re-numbered the locomotive 2. In 1909, the Union Oil Company bought the railroad and renamed it the Outer Harbor Terminal Railway Company. The locomotive worked the next forty-five years along the docks in San Pedro, California until it was retired in 1955 and donated to the collection. At the time it retired, after sixty-eight years, 2 was reputed to be the oldest operating locomotive in the United States.

Fruit Growers Supply Company Climax 3 built by Climax in 1909 for Northern California Lumber Company in Hilt, California. It was sold to the Fruit Growers Supply Company, also in Hilt, in 1913 and donated by Sunkist Fruit Growers in 1954; it was the chapter's very first acquisition.

I called Let's Talk Trains then talked with a few of the museum members before thanking them and headed home. I listened to the rest of Let's Talk Trains and returned to the chat room for the rest of the show. This museum has an excellent collection of locomotives for you to visit if you go out to Pomona the second weekend of any month.