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Railfest 2011

Get your ‘training’ in Fillmore this weekend

Posted: March 25, 2011 6:00 a.m.
Updated: March 25, 2011 6:00 a.m.

Railfest 2011 rolls into Fillmore this weekend.

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If you're a fan of anything railroad, whether full-sized, model-sized, historic or modern, you should get out to Fillmore this Saturday or Sunday, as the 16th annual Railfest rolls in. Presented by the Santa Clara River Valley Railroad Historical Society, in cooperation with the Fillmore & Western Railway, there will be train rides, ‘speeder' rides, historic demonstrations, vendors, food, antique farm equipment, gunfighters and a host of other family-fun activities. Overall admission is free.

The Santa Clara River Valley Railroad Historical Society (SCRVRHS), will present its 16th annual Santa Clara River Valley Railfest on March 26 and 27, with the center of activities to be held in Central Park in Fillmore. The theme for Railfest 2011 is "Steam Returns to Fillmore," and it will feature a fully-operating and restored Baldwin 1913 Consolidation-type steam locomotive. This locomotive, #14, with a 2-8-0 wheel arrangement, will be powering the Railfest special event train and there will be diesel engines pulling the scenic excursions to Santa Paula.

Railfest 2011 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 fun family 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 steam trains leave Fillmore at 9 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Railfest 2011 also offers "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 (PFE) 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 Street between Central Avenue and Mountain View, just east of the historic Fillmore Depot.

Rancho Camulos National Historic Landmark Museum, located just east of Piru on CA-126, will also be celebrating Railfest 2011 and will be giving guided tours. Rancho Camulos is one of the settings for Helen Hunt Jackson's famous book "Ramona," written back in 1884, a few years after the Southern Pacific railroad came into the Santa Clara River Valley. There will be a bus service to the ranch for those who would like a docent tour of the ranch buildings. 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.

F&W Diesel trains will depart from in front of the restored Fillmore Depot to Santa Paula at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. The Vintage Steam train will depart at 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. 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 Family Murder Mystery Dinner Train. The steam train will depart Fillmore at 5 p.m. Reservations are required for the dinner train and can be made by calling F&W at 1-800-773-8724 or (805) 524-2546.

Railfest proceeds benefit the non-profit Santa Clara River Valley Railroad Historical Society and its railroad restoration efforts, which include the ongoing restoration of the Railroad 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 a Railroad Brick. The bricks will be used to beautify and enhance a new walkway from Main Street to the promenade. Donations to the Buy-A-Brick program are tax deductible.

Donations to the Santa Clara River Valley Railroad Historical Society, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, are also 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.

Railfest admission is free, but the train rides must be purchased. For more information visit www.scrvrhs.com.

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