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Fullerton Railroad Days 2015 5/2/2015

by Chris Guenzler

Fullerton Railroad Days History

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.

Our Visit

Robin Bowers picked me up at 7:30 AM on this first Saturday in May and drove us down to the Santa Ana station where he parked in the parking structure. I had bought my ticket on-line but Robin had to visit the station agent to get his. We took the elevators over to Track 1 and waited for our train from Irvine to arrive. Due to track work in San Diego County, nothing was running on Amtrak south of Irvine and Metrolink south of San Juan Capistrano. We boarded the cab car of Pacific Surfliner 763 for a quick trip to Fullerton although we waited for an eastbound BNSF freight before we arrived. We then went to the American Passenger Rail Heritage Foundation booth to help out.

The American Passenger Rail Heritage Foundation booth.

Jackie Hadnot's latest wood oak carving, the drivers of a steam engine.

Jackie's smaller wood carvings. Now it was time to look around Fullerton Railroad Days 2015.

Santa Fe 4-8-4 3751, built by Baldwin in 1927, was on display this weekend in Fullerton.

BNSF ES44C4 8357, built by General Electric in 2015, was also on display.

A Kalamazoo handcart.

Disneyland Railroad 2-4-0 4 "Ernest S Marsh", built by Baldwin in 1925 as Raritan Sand Company 10 in Nixon, Newe Jersey. It was sold to a scrap dealer in Newark, New Jersey before being sold to the Pine Creek Railroad in Freehold, New Jersey in 1952. In 1957, it was leased to the Cranberry Creek Railroad before being sold in 1958 to W.E.D. Enterprises.

Bill Hatrick and a little friend.

USA Trains.

Backyard Railroads.

International Order of Rainbows for Girls.

Fullerton/Yorba Linda Rainbow Girls.

Women in Railroading.

Trains, Planes and Automobiles Passport Stamp Here.

Arts Colony of La Mirada Face Painting.

Color Your Train & railroad games.

Operation Lifesaver.

Sparky, the train with a brain.

Walts Toy Trains.

Fullerton Indians.

Orange Empire Railway Museum.

Fullerton High School Football Boosters.

The Big Train Show.


Rail Giants Train Museum.

Daylight Sales.

Kids Handcar Rides.

Leanne Howie Photography.

LA Rail.


Fullerton Veterans.

Milpost 38 Toy Trains van.

Arnie's Trains.

Locomotive Air Horn Collectors.

Santa Fe 3751 San Bernardino Railroad Historical Society.

Fullerton Fire Truck E-1

Disneyland steam engine display.

Trains of Disneyland.

Carolwood Foundation/Walt's Barn.

Amtrak Thruway Bus 46350.

The dining area on Santa Fe Avenue where you get food; the portable bathrooms were behind me.

Door Hollow Shortline G gauge.

National Association S gaugers.

Brian Stairs O gauge.

Orange County LEGO Users Group O gauge.

Standard gauge trains.

Toy Train Collectors Association, Western Division O gauge.

Daylight Sales highway van.

Zocal Z Scale Z gauge.

Toy Train Operating Society Southwestern Division O gauge.

Toy Train Operating Society Southern Pacific Division O gauge.

John Bowman O gauge.

Orange County 'N'-gineers n gauge.

N-Trak Express N gauge.

Orange County Modular Engineers HO gauge. Robin and I worked the APRHF booth until 12:30 PM then walked over to Track 3 for a few more pictures.

BNSF ES44C4 8357 was on display.

Santa Fe 4-8-4 3751. We then stopped and chatted with Cliff Prather before going to wait for Pacific Surfliner 774. We boarded the Superliner coach and rode that back to Santa Ana, ending our Fullerton Railroad trip.