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Fillmore Western Railway 2/20/2021

by Chris Guenzler

Elizabeth has been waiting to ride a local tourist train since she moved to southern California last spring. With COVID-19 happening, this was impossible. Finally, two weeks ago, we discovered that the Fillmore Western Railway was running a train once a week on Saturdays. Marty and Greg came over one evening to watch a program and we asked them if they would like to join us on a trip to Fillmore. They both said yes so tickets were bought for the Saturday when Metrolink's Orange County line would be closed south of Laguna Niguel due to track work.

That Saturday arrived, we picked up Greg and Marty and headed up Interstate 5 to the Nethercutt Museum in Sylmar, which is now completely fenced in unlike my previous visits. We walked along the fence and managed to get these pictures.

Canadian Pacific 4-6-2 2839. It was once destined for a museum in eastern Canada and wound up being sold to a group of owners in Pennsylvania. After a restoration to full working order to full CPR livery (with Southern lettering), the engine was leased to the Southern Railway for their steam excursion program in 1979–1980, but was found that the locomotive was not powerful enough for their excursions. During her brief career with the Southern, 2839 earned the nickname "beer can" due to the Royal Hudson's cylindrical streamlined design. After being returned from the Southern, the engine was stored on the Blue Mountain and Reading Railroad before being stored near Allentown, Pennsylvania. The BM&R attempted to restore and run her on excursions, but ultimately 2839 was sold. After a series of owners, the engine was shipped on a flat car from Pennsylvania to the Nethercutt Collection in Sylmar, where it was cosmetically restored and put on display outside the museum with Pullman car "California". It was built for Clara Baldwin Stocker, the eldest daughter of local Pioneer "Lucky" Baldwin. This railcar has been beautifully restored back to 1912 appearance. From here, I drove to Santa Susana so that Elizabeth could get that station in our quest for all the stations in each state.

Southern Pacific's Santa Susana station built in 1903, home to the Santa Susana Railroad Depot and Museum.

Semaphore signals on display.

Wig-wag crossing signal on display.

Trainorder signal.

Searchlight signal.

Santa Susana station sign.

Crossing signal on display. From here we drove to Saticoy.

Southern Pacific 1887 station at Saticoy. We then drove the rest of the way to Fillmore and parked in their lot.

Fillmore Western

I would take Elizabeth around the property as this was her first time visiting so I could show her everything that is here the best I could.

The excursion train we would be riding today.

Fillmore Western S-6 1059, formerly Ventura County 9 and originally Southern Pacific 1059, the power for today's train.

The Firefighters Education and Foundation Safety Train boxcar MCVX 368381.

Ex. Santa Fe caboose 999570.

The Southern Pacific Fillmore station built in 1887.

Cotton Belt bay window caboose 63.

Fillmore Western F7A 101, originally Chicago and North Western 4083A.

Fillmore Western GP35 3502, originally Pennsylvania Railroad 2339.

Fillmore Western 2-8-0 14 built in 1913 for the Duluth and Northeastern.

Movie prop "steam" engine used in the 2013 film "The Lone Ranger" as "Jupiter".

Movie prop passenger car Natalicio de Benito Juarez 883.

Movie prop "steam" engine Constitution also used in "The Lone Ranger".

Movie prop 3501 used in the 2010 film "Unstoppable".

Movie prop Western Pacific 25, used in "Zorro".

Southern Pacific open platform observation car 131 "Los Angeles".

The reverse side of "Jupiter.

Santa Fe Railway Post Office car 1517. We started to walk back toward the train.

Southern Pacific caboose 1119.

Union Pacific sleeper 1205 "National Embassy". Owned by the Pacific Railroad Society for a few years, it was later put on display outside the Miramar Resort Hotel in Santa Barbara before being moved to Fillmore in 2000.

Fillmore Western GP35 3501, originally Pennsylvania Railroad 2262. Now we checked with the woman who had the manifest list for the train who told us the rest of our party had already boarded. We made our way to the open car and sat on the sunny side.

Elizabeth, maskless for this picture, making her first trip aboard a Fillmore and Western train. We departed at 12:00 noon for Santa Paula, our first stop of the trip. Masks were required aboard this train and the Fillmore and Western had caution tape between the seats so that social distancing would have to take place, following the guidelines of Ventura County. The consist of this train was S-6 1059, open car 904614, open car 8017R, coaches 2551, 1107 and 2553 and baggage 3884.

Fillmore City Hall before we headed out of town.

The train crossed Sespe Creek.

The engine crossing Grande Avenue on the west side of Sespe Creek.

Social distancing taking place. Now sit back and enjoy the views of the trip to Santa Paula.

Views on the way to Santa Paula.

Marty and Greg Smith following the mask-wearing policy while on board and enjoying their trip.

Semaphore signal near the Loose Caboose Garden Centre.

The train crossed Santa Paula Creek.

Our train arrived at Santa Paula and we were told to be back aboard the train by 2:20 PM. We detrained and started to look around.

Our train in Santa Paula before they cut off the engine and ran it to the other end.

Fillmore and Western S-6 1059.

Streetside view of the Southern Pacific Santa Paula station. We went looking for somewhere where I could eat and soon found Greg and Marty sitting at a table at El Capricho. We got ourselves a table and I had French Toast and sausage with a Coca-Cola and Elizabeth had a tuna melt with chips and water. This really hit the spot. We started back for the train at 2:00 PM but had to stop for one last picture.

An excellent mural of Santa Paula's history with railroads. Elizabeth and I returned to the train.

Greg and Marty then came up and wanted to take a picture of us, so we took off our masks and posed and then he borrowed my camera to get this picture of us aboard the Fillmore and Western train. The train left here at 2:20 PM and went a short distance to our next stop at the Loose Caboose.

Two pictures on the way back to Fillmore. We arrived in Fillmore and waited for Greg and Marty to detrain, then Elizabeth drove us home while we listened to the Pittsburgh Penguins defeating the New York Islanders 3-2 with Kris Letang getting the game-winning goal which made me very happy. It had been a great day with friends, my lovely wife, an excellent railroad and all rules were followed, which added up to a fun and memorable day.