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Railfest 2010

Trains — fun for all ages

Posted: March 25, 2010 3:33 p.m.
Updated: March 26, 2010 6:00 a.m.

Railfest visitors can ride authentic railroad "speeders."

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The Santa Clara River Valley Railroad Historical Society (SCRVRHS) will present its 15th annual Railfest this Saturday and Sunday, March 27 and 28, and the society's director, Jim Mendrala, emphasized that "This year's Railfest theme is ‘Trains - Fun for All Ages.'" The Railfest has become a regional event in the Santa Clara River Valley, with the center of activities at Central Park in Fillmore.

Railfest hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Admission and parking are free; however, there is a charge for the railway excursions.
Following SCRVRHS' tradition of providing a family-fun event, this year there will be a Railroad Spike Driving Contest. The contestants, both men and women, will compete against the clock.

Demonstrations of the passing of "train orders" will take place when the Fillmore & Western Railway trains leave Fillmore, 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

Railfest 2010 also offers railroad-related venues such as "speeder" rides and informational displays from various railroad-related organizations. There will be arts and crafts booths, model railroad trains in various scales and some unique food vendors, including SCRVRHS' very own Tri-Tip BBQ Sandwiches. Other attractions include performances by the famous Frontier Gunfighters and a display of antique farm equipment.

SCRVRHS' 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 railroad turntable.

The turntable is the first to be constructed in California in more than 50 years. Demonstrations will be given throughout the event. The turntable is 96 feet in diameter and weighs 85 tons. It was purchased from the Canadian National Railroad and is now located in Fillmore on Main St. between Central Avenue and Mountain View, just east of the historic Fillmore Depot.

Metrolink will provide a train containing a diesel-electric engine and Metrolink passenger and cab railcars for walk-on tours.

Concurrently with the other Railfest activities, on Saturday the Piru Depot in the town of Piru will offer free trackless train rides and a horseshoe tournament (contact Rusty at (805) 432-6388). There will be music from Dan Torres and the Piru River Band, a model train exhibit, crafts, homemade jewelry and Heritage Valley Studio's T-shirts. There will also be plenty of tasty food.

Please donate to our soldiers. Bring letters, cards or supplies to the drop-off booth to show your appreciation. For information call (805) 521 0527.

In the Piru area you can also visit the Piru Mansion and Bennett's bee farm.

Rancho Camulos National Historic Landmark Museum, located just east of Piru on Highway 126, will also be celebrating Railfest 2010 and will be giving guided tours. Rancho Camulos is one of the settings for Helen Hunt Jackson's famous book "Ramona," written in 1884, a few years after the railroad came into the Santa Clara River Valley. Visitors can also watch the first movie based on the book, starring Mary Pickford, which was filmed on location in 1910 at Rancho Camulos.

In Fillmore, the Fillmore Historical Society and Museum will be giving guided tours of the Fillmore Railroad Depot, Bunk House and Hinckley Home.

Fillmore & Western vintage trains will depart from in front of the restored Fillmore Depot at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. The round trip fare (Fillmore to Santa Paula and back) will be $25 adult, $22 senior, youth ages 4 - 12 $14, and children ages 2 - 3 $10.

These vintage trains will consist mostly of traditional pre-1940 heavyweight passenger cars.

On Saturday night one can enjoy the old west with cowboys and characters on F&W's Murder Mystery Dinner Train. The train will depart Fillmore at 6:30 p.m. and return at 9 p.m. The fare for the Murder Mystery Dinner Train is $61, children 0 - 13 $32. Reservations are required for the dinner train and can be made by calling F&W at (800) 773-8724 or (805) 524-2546.

Railfest proceeds benefit the nonprofit Santa Clara River Valley Railroad Historical Society and its railroad restoration efforts, which include the ongoing restoration of the turntable, a future roundhouse and a Railroad Interpretive Center/Exhibit Hall.

In addition, SCRVRHS' "Buy-A-Brick" program will be selling bricks with your name, family, organization, company or other slogan engraved on the them. The bricks will be used to beautify and enhance a new walkway from Main Street to the promenade. Donations to the "Buy-A-Brick" are tax deductible.

Donations to the Santa Clara River Valley Railroad Historical Society, a nonprofit 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 "0" gage model-train layout, a gift shop and a 20-seat digital theater with surround sound.

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