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Fullerton Railroad Days 2012 5/5/2012

by Chris Guenzler

Every year in May, I attend Fullerton Railroad Days which is a two-day event put on by The Southern California Railway Plaza Association.

The Fullerton depot's new parking lot and the installation of two sidings by the city provided the perfect site for what would be Fullerton Railway Plaza Association's (FRPA) inaugural Railroad Days weekend event in May 1999. It was a spectacular success, attracting 15,000 adults and children over the two days.

The annual event grew yearly to a record 40,000-plus visitors at its 10th anniversary in May 2008. The response verified FRPA's initial belief that a permanent, rail-related attraction at the depot would be well received by the public.

Meanwhile, in 2005, the City of Fullerton began preliminary planning to redevelop the area near the depot, and FRPA was encouraged by city fathers to present plans for a permanent destination attraction to be considered for inclusion in the project. FRPA hired attractions consultant Barry Howard - design concepts creator of the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento - to put the organization's dreams onto paper. His vision of an active, educational, learning-can-be-fun approach to the facility marked a new perspective to the static display concept of the past.

From Mr. Howard’s conceptual design study, FRPA developed a prospectus and a business plan for its newly named Southern California Railroad Experience and presented them to the city to be included in the Transportation Center’s planning process. Unfortunately, in December 2008 the proposal was not accepted by the city and FRPA was left to consider other options.

FRPA immediately refocused its efforts on a more regional basis. New vision, mission and goals were adopted; the organization name was changed to Southern California Railway Plaza Association, Inc. and the association began to search for alternative ideas for holding our events and creating a railcar display venue.

We decided that the best choice for the Railroad Days location should have access to the main line at the Fullerton Train Station lot. After several years of research and consideration, SCRPA has acquired six vintage railcars that are on permanent display and open for tours as the Fullerton Train Museum, at the east end of Fullerton train station.

I drove to the Santa Ana station and waited for Pacific Surfliner 763.

Pacific Surfliner 763 arrived and I boarded for Fullerton which was a quick trip, where I met Steve Grande and Barbara Cepinko at the American Passenger Rail Heritage Foundation Booth. We set up for the event and for me to host Let's Talk Trains at 10:00 AM. I then started my walk around the grounds.

Santa Fe & Disneyland Railroad combine 101 built in 1955 which is normally on display at the Carolwood Foundation in Griffith Park in Los Angeles.

Disneyland Railroad parlour car "Lilly Belle" built in 1955 observation coach "Grand Canyon". It was named after Walt Disney's wife Lillian and given a new exterior paint scheme and a new interior, which included varnished mahogany paneling, velour curtains and seats, a floral-patterned wool rug, and Disney family pictures framed and hung on the walls. The first official passenger to come aboard the "Lilly Belle" after its conversion in September 1975 was Japanese Emperor Hirohito, and since then it can be regularly seen coupled on the ends of the Disneyland Railroad's trains.

BNSF ES44C4 6967 built by General Electric in 2012.

Metrolink train set with Engine F59PHI 875 built by Electro-Motive Division in 1994, bicycle car 138 and Hyundai-Rotem cab car 664.

Santa Fe caboose 999110, nee Santa Fe 1789 built by American Car and Foundry in 1929.

Coast Rail Services caboose 1002, history currently unknown.

Southern Pacific caboose 4049, nee Southern Pacific 1403 built by Pacific Car and Foundry in 1961.

Walt Disney hand car built by Kalamazoo.

How a steam engine works.

Motor car.

Motor car MT 14 250.

A hand car.

Another hand car.

Rogue River Valley Railroad 0-4-0T 1 built by H.K. Porter in 1891 for Honeyman, DeHart & Company at Medford, Oregon. It was then sold to Rogue River Valley Railway Company 1 in Medford before being sold in 1905 to Skelly Lumber Company in Yoncalla, Oregon. In 1912, it became J.H. Chambers Lumber Company 1 in Cottage Grover, Oregon then in a 1923 corporate sale, beca J.M. Chambers & Son 1. It stayed this way until a 1946 corporate sale when it became Lorane Valley Lumber 1. The steam engine was then sold to Mrs. Chadwell O'Conner at Alta Loma, California in 1952 then in 1967, sold to Stan Garner and Bill Odem when they formed Short Line Enterprises. It was at this time that the engine was named "Sespe".

Sespe and my friend Victor.

The Orange County Railway Historical Society.

California High Speed Rail.

Railway and Locomotive Historical Society.

Niles Gift Depot.

USA Trains.

Daylight Sales.

The owners of Daylight Sales.

Orange County Garden Railway Society, established in 1996.

Southern California Railway Plaza Association.

Train Collectors Association Western Division.

K & R Lines.

Fish Toss.

International Order of the Rainbow For Girls.

Circus Guy.

Fullerton Police.

Carolwood Foundation.

Muckenthaler Cultural Center.

Imagination Depot.

Women in Railroading.

Orange Empire Railway Museum.

American Passenger Rail Heritage Foundation.

Fullerton Railway Plaza Association.

Orange County Register.

Grainger Industrial Supply.

Operation Lifesaver.

Pacific Southwest Railway Museum.

Archer Travel Services and LA Rail.

R Hobbies.

Artwork Display.

Fullerton Railroad Plaza Association.

P Train Barbecue.

Orange County Modelers Inc.

Orange County "N" Gineers.

Pacific Coast Modular Club.

ZoCal Z Gauge Layout.

SoCal Lego Train Club.

C&D System S Gauge.

N Trek Express.

Southern California S Gaugers.

Del Oro Pacific G Gaugers.

California Locomotive Preserve and Fillmore and Western Railway.

Pacific Surfliner 566 heading out of Fullerton.

I hosted Let's Talk Trains from Fullerton Railroad Days 2012. After the show, AC Adam and I had Tri-Tip sandwiches for lunch and I wrote the story then worked the booth until the event closed for the day. I went home on Metrolink 664, which was over 30 minutes late due to a passenger incident/police response , back to Santa Ana and drove back to my house.