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The First Train to Piru in Years! 3/18/2006

Fillmore Railfest 2006

by Chris Guenzler

Chris Parker and I had talked about going to the Fillmore Railfest 2006. I had talked with my good friend Jeff Hartmann about attending, but he was far to busy that weekend to get away. Since Chris lives in Torrance and offered to drive, I decided I should meet him someplace near where he lives. The Redondo Beach Green Line Station was the closest, so I told him I would drive to Norwalk from Santa Ana, take the Green Line and meet him at the Redondo Beach Station at 7:30 AM.

Southern Pacific passenger trains stopped using the Piru Station in 1938. Through service ended in 1953. A tunnel fire on the Coast Line returned trains 97 and 98, the Coast Daylight, train 75 and 76, the Lark and Mail, and trains 90 and 91 in early 1963. In March 1963, Golden West Tours ran a westbound trip over the line with four scarlet F-units and 14 cars. There may or may not have been others but 43 years later, I would hopefully be on the first train to Piru.

3/18/2006 I was up early in order to clean the house a little before I left. I had an easy drive on Interstate 5 to Norwalk where I made my way to the Green Line Station. I purchased a Day Pass for $3 and walked down to wait for an eastbound train. I set up for the first photo of the day.

Down the middle of the 15 Freeway came my train, which would become a Redondo Beach train. It was a single car train which, as we made our way west, filled to standing room only. At the Rosa Parks Station, the junction with the Blue Line, we gained far more passengers than we lost. Most of the passengers left at Aviation, transferring to the bus for Los Angeles International Airport. I continued on to Redondo Beach, where I detrained. As I walked across the elevated platform, I spotted Chris and Jesus pulling into the parking lot. I took the passenger seat of the truck and we headed for Fillmore.

A picture of the train at the Redondo Beach Green Line Station. As I walked across the elevated platform, I spotted Chris and Jesus pulling into the parking lot. I took the passenger seat of the truck and we headed for Fillmore. I did some research about Canadian Pacific Royal Hudson 2839 at the Nethercutt Collection and Museum, so we decided to see if we could take a photograph of it. We drove to Sylmar and soon found the museum. The engine was located behind it. We drove around to the front and saw some of the cars in their collection through the large front windows. We drove by the building and looked north and across a lawn was the engine.

Views of the nicely restored Canadian Pacific Royal Hudson 2839. We all took pictures of the nicely restored Canadian Pacific Royal Hudson 2839. After completing our photographs, we left. At Castic Junction, we left I-5 for the twenty mile drive to Fillmore. As we drove west, we looked for evidence of the former Southern Pacific right-of-way. We passed through Piru and started scouting locations for the afternoon train's run from Fillmore to Piru.

Fillmore Railfest 2006 3/18/2006

We found a place to park under a tree. We went to the caboose to buy our tickets but the place was closed.

Fillmore & Western GP-30 3003.

Fillmore & Western GP-35 3502.

While I was waiting to buy a ticket, I walked over to the former Southern Pacific Station.

The Station Sign on the west face of the depot.

A Wig Wag crossing signal in Fillmore.

Semaphore Signal just west of Fillmore's main drag. I walked back to the caboose and bought my ticket for an All Day Rail Ticket. I then took a walk around.

Cabooses in Fillmore with the second one being the Ticket Office.

Views of the Speeders and the power for the first Piru Trains.

Cars used in movies.

Ex Arizona & California Railroad GP-35 3501.

Ex A&C GP-30 3004.

Baggage Carts and other props used in many movies.

More equipment used in the movies.

Fillmore & Western S-6 1059.

The Baldwin steam engine number 14.

I finished my walking tour and return to meet Chris and Jesus.

The First Train to Piru 3/18/2006

We waited to board our train to Piru. Once we boarded we took seat in the covered open car. Here we meet our fellow passengers. Although the train was scheduled to leave at 10 AM, we did not leave until almost 10:25 AM but that was OK with all of us.

Fillmore & Western RS-32 4009.

Passing the former Arizona & California units with those palm trees in this view.

Ex Salt Lake Garfield & Western DS-4.

Once across Pole Creek we headed east out of Fillmore.

We crossed the highway for the first time on the way to Piru.

Our Conductor punches my ticket.

The covered open car we chose to sit in.

The forward coach.

Just an interesting view of our rear locomotive's headlights.

The Fillmore & Western Snack and Souvenir Car.

The rear coach.

The Dining Car which was serving light meals today.

A look as we left Fillmore.

Rolling past a field.

Some boundary bushes along the field with the mountains ahead.

Another look back.


Mountains to the south.

Passing through Linda.

Young orange trees along our route.

Rolling through Orange Groves.


Between the Orange Trees not around them! Like the Rio Grande old solgan "Through the Rockies, not around them!

More new trees.

All the way up the hillside!

Making a big curve.

An unspoiled trip back through time in Southern California. Where I live in Santa Ana I used to have an orange grove across the street until they had to build homes.

Crossing Hopper Creek.

More newly planted orange groves.

A look back.

View to the north.

Curving into Piru.

Our destination is behind this tree.

There is a ribbon that the train will break announcing our arrival into Piru.

The train about to stop at Piru.

The ribbon the train had cut through when the first passenger train since 1963 arrived in Piru.

Our power then had cut off the train in order to run around to lead the train back to Fillmore.

I detrained briefly to get a picture of the Fillmore & Western 100 and 101.

Our power running around the train.

The start of our trip back.

Views on the trip back.

Returning across the highway into Fillmore.

The Santa Clara Valley Live Steamers.

The power for the next train to Piru.

Fillmore Western 3503 as we arrived back into Fillmore. We all detrained and visited a tent for some excellent Tri Trip Sandwiches.

The Train to Santa Paula 3/18/2006

With our Tri Tips in hand we reboarded the same train set and again found a set of seats in the open car. Before we departed, the Train for Piru left Fillmore.

Crossing Sespe Creek.

Sespe Creek.


More orange groves.


Mountains to the north of our route.

On old Southern Pacific phone booth.

Curving towards the mountain range to our south.

As we neared Santa Paula.

The Santa Paula Station.

The Metrolink Train on display at Santa Paula.

Our power ran around the train again at Santa Paula. For the return trip I took a seat inside the forward coach as I had enough of the now cool air in the open car.

Santa Paula Creek on the return trip. Chris had some really hot {spicy} soup and I enjoyed a Fillmore Dog, Fritos and a Coke. That meal took us most of the way back to Fillmore and the next thing I knew, we were crossing Sespe Creek and arriving back in town. Once we all had detrained, we went to the truck and drove west to catch the train crossing Sespe Creek.

We caught the Santa Paula Train at the truss bridge over Sespe Creek. Once we had nabbed him we returned to the main highway exiting Fillmore in search of the Train to Piru.

We caught up with the Piru train at the grade crossing just west of town and took our last pictures of the Fillmore and Western. We returned to the car and headed back to Redondo Beach. We drove through a pair of rain showers before reaching a backed-up 405 Freeway in Santa Monica. Chris did a great job of driving and soon had me back at the Redondo Beach Green Line station where we said our goodbyes.

I walked up the stairs just as a train was arriving to take me back to Norwalk and my car. It was interesting that one person on the trip would be babbling the whole way to Norwalk, driving the other passengers crazy. It was a full train heading east and once at Norwalk, I was the first one to detrain. I walked up to my car and battled the traffic on Interstate 5. I returned home a very happy person after finally getting to ride a Fillmore & Western train to Piru.

For more Fillmore Western Steam and Diesel Trips I have taken!