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The El Dorado Express Trip 10/8/2016

by Chris Guenzler

I had called them about coming to write a story about their unique train and decided on October 8, 2016 since it was the first of three weekends with no real train service on our Pacific Surfliner Route. I called Robin Bowers to see if he wanted to come and he offered to drive. That Saturday, Robin picked me up just after 8:30 AM and we drove to El Dorado Park in Long Beach and he paid the $7.00 to get us into the park and soon we parked near the train station. We walked over to where the train was getting ready to take a test run of the track this morning. There I met Greg Ruvelo whom I had talked to on the phone and then he and his daughter Taylor took the walk to inspect the track while his dad Tony got the train ready to take its test run.

The train waiting for the inspection run of the day. I walked over and set up for my first pictures of the El Dorado Express train.

The El Dorado Express train heads northbound on its inspection run. Robin joined me waiting for the return trip.

The El Dorado Express train heads southbound on its inspection run. We met Tony who gave us a tour of the grounds.

El Dorado Express History

The El Dorado Express is a real park train, which Tony Ruvolo and his son Greg refurbished in 1988. They are a family owned train ride. This beautiful train was originally built as a park train powered by a live steam engine in 1946. Tony and Greg found the train at Colton piano in Colton, Ca. It had been sitting for over twenty years in a dirt lot. It took them over 8 years to restore the train to working condition. The track gauge is 15 inches.

Our look around

The operating area of the engine.

The water tower. We next walked through their tunnel made out of two storage containers. This is where the train is stored when not in use.

The east end of their tunnel which had many railroad and seasonal things inside along the walls.

A Choo Choo crossing sign.

We walked back to their train station and now we would board the train for our ride on the El Dorado Express.

Our train ride on the El Dorado Express.

The engine was turned on, a whistle toot and we were off on the El Dorado Express train trip. We started on the southern loop track.

The train took the first curve of the trip.

The train left the station behind

The train took the curves on the southern loop track.

The train is entering the tunnel on this railroad.

The train inside the tunnel.

The train had exited the tunnel.

We are now on the mainline of the El Dorado Express.

The train took the southeast curve on the railroad.

The train run through my photo location of this morning.

Views from the train in El Dorado Park.

The train entered the northern loop track.

The track we will return on.

The train takes the curves of the northern loop track.

Now we will pass by the rainforest along our route. How many creatures can you spot?

How many did you spot?

Back on the main line leaving the northern loop track behind.

A view on the return trip.

The railroad sign visible from the southbound 605 Freeway.

Views on the return trip.

The train took that southeast curve for the last time of the trip.

They have a mine on the southeast curve.

We returned to the southern loop track.

The train pulled into the station thus ending a unique trip aboard the El Dorado Express. We thanked Tony for the excellent trip. I walked over to where Greg and Taylor were working and gave each of them my business card and thanked them for having us. A special thank you to the El Dorado Express for having Robin and I aboard their train this morning. We left El Dorado Park in Long Beach and headed northwest to our next stop of the day.