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On track for Railfest this weekend

Take the family and explore your inner "railman."

Posted: March 28, 2008 2:04 p.m.
Updated: May 29, 2008 5:03 a.m.

A modern Metrolink train. Attractions and exhibits at Railfest will focus on railroads old and new.

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The Santa Clara River Valley Railroad Historical Society (SCRVRHS), in conjunction with the Fillmore & Western Railway Co. (F&W), will present the 13th annual Santa Clara River Valley Railfest on March 29 and 30. This year's Railfest theme is "Turning into the Future," in honor of the soon-to-be-operational turntable.

The Railfest has now become a regional event and includes Santa Paula, Fillmore and Piru. The center of activities will be held in Central Park in Fillmore.

Other activities will be held in Piru, Rancho Camulos and Santa Paula. The hours of the event are from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. each day. Admission and parking are free. However, there is a charge for the railway excursions.

Fillmore & Western will offer a $25 adult one-day or a $35 adult two-day "Rail Pass" for travel from Fillmore to Santa Paula and Piru, where additional railroad activities are being planned. These vintage trains will
consist mostly of traditional pre-1940 heavyweight passenger cars.

Following SCRVRHS's tradition of providing Southern California with a family fun event, Railfest 2008 offers railroad-related venues such as "speeder" rides, and informational displays from various railroad related
organizations. There will be arts and crafts booths, model trains and unique food vendors, including SCRVRHS's very own tri-tip barbecue sandwiches.

Other attractions include antique farm equipment and performances by the Frontier Gunfighters. SCRVRHS's 1956 Union Pacific Pullman Sleeping Car, the "National Embassy;" a Santa Fe caboose, the "Vicky Vee;" and a Pacific Fruit Exchange boxcar will be on display in Fillmore, adjacent to the new SCRVRHS turntable.

The first railroad turntable to be constructed in California in more than 50 years will be available for observation prior to its dedication.

Metrolink may provide a diesel engine for demonstration on the function of the turntable. The turntable is 96 feet in diameter and weighs 85 tons. It is located on Main Street in Fillmore between Central Avenue and Mountain View just east of the historic Fillmore Depot.

Trains will depart from the restored Fillmore Depot to Santa Paula at 10 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m., and will return from Santa Paula at 11:20 a.m., 1:50 p.m. and 4:20 p.m.

Departures to Piru will be at 10 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. and will return from Piru at 11:20 a.m., 1:50 p.m. and 4:50 p.m.

In Santa Paula, Limoneira Tours will provide back-country Jeep tours and tethered hot air balloon rides.

The California Oil Museum will be available for touring at $4/adult and $3/senior.

In Piru, Rancho Camulos will be open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. for docent-led tours of this National Historic Landmark known as the "Home of Ramona" ($5 adult, kids free). There will be a shuttle service for those arriving in Piru by train.

In Fillmore, the Fillmore Historical Society will have a historic tour of the Fillmore Depot.

Most of the Railfest proceeds benefit the non-profit Railroad Historical Society and its railroad restoration efforts, which include the ongoing restoration of the turntable and a future roundhouse/railroad interpretive
Center. Donations to the Santa Clara River Valley Railroad Historical Society, a non-profit 501(c) (3) organization, are tax deductible.

The SCRVRHS Railroad Visitor Center, located across from Fillmore's Central Park at 455 Main Street, contains many historical railroad artifacts, a Lionel .027 model-train layout, a gift shop and a 20-seat digital theater with surround sound.

Railfest 2008 is centered in Fillmore on Central Avenue and Main Street, 19 miles west of I-5 on Highway 126.

For more information, visit or


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