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Poway-Midland Railroad and Tom's Farm Railroad 7/31/2021

by Chris Guenzler

Elizabeth, my most beautiful wife, and Marty Smith had never ridden the Poway-Midland Railroad or the Tom's Farm Train, so we decided to do those on the last day of July. After Elizabeth filled the car with petrol, I drove and picked up Marty Smith and drove us down to Poway. We parked up a side street then walked through a Farmer's Market to the station where I bought three tickets and a T-shirt. Before we left, we took turns taking pictures of the steam engine while the other two held our place in line.

Cowell Cement 0-4-0 2 information

The centerpiece of the collection was built in 1907 by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the Henry Cowell Lime and Cement Company of Cowell, California. The locomotive, originally dubbed "Engine No. 3", and its sister engines were used to haul rock from the company's quarry to the crushing mill, a distance of three miles. In 1952, "Number 3" was sold to the South San Francisco Scrap Metals Company, where it was used to move other pieces of railroad equipment around the scrap yard. In 1960, Charles Pollard of Vista, California, bought "Number 3" and extensively modified its appearance to resemble much older steam engines of the 1870s. He operated the locomotive, then called the "Robert E. Lee" on the grounds of his machine shop. When Pollard died in 1966, the locomotive and various other pieces of rolling stock and railroad equipment were purchased by John S. Porter of Poway. Porter built a small station, house and shed for the train and operated it on his land which today comprises part of our park. Mr. Porter died in 1980, ending the operation of his "Poway Village and Rattlesnake Creek Railroad". In December 1987, the City of Poway purchased the Porter property – lock, stock and locomotive. The locomotive and its tender have been restored to full operational condition by the PMRRV. Restoration, certification and testing were completed early in 1997 and the locomotive made its inaugural PMRR passenger run on July 4, 1997.

Our Visit

Elizabeth returned and it was my turn to take my pictures of this engine.

There is a wig-wag crossing signal here in Poway.

The Cowell Cement 0-4-0 2 on the point of the train. I returned to the line.

The train made two safety trips before returning to the boarding area. Our tickets were punched and then we took seats in the second open air trailer car for our trip. Now sit back and enjoy a trip aboard the Poway-Midland Railroad.

Two loops on the Poway-Midland Railroad. Elizabeth and I went to the first crossing of Rattlesnake Creek and set up for pictures.

The next train crossed the Rattlesnake Creek trestle and headed north through Poway Park. We relocated for our next pictures of the train.

The train crossed the Rattlesnake Creek trestle then went along the west side of Poway Park. We walked over to get one more picture of the engine by their shop building.

My last picture of the Cowell Cement 0-4-0 2.

Southern Pacific caboose 1037.

Santa Fe box car 591230.

1906 San Francisco Cable Car 17 which was puchased by Knott's Berry Farm until 1976 when the San Diego Metropolitan Transit District had a vision of running it on the Old Town line, which never was built. In 1997 Poway acquired the car.

Fairmont Speeder built in 1950.

Gallows turntable here at Poway.

Two more views of 1906 San Francisco Cable Car 17; the picture on the right is from 2012.

Los Angeles Railway 57 known as a California Car and built in 1894, also from my 2012 visit. We then left Poway and stopped for lunch at The Habit in Temecula. After lunch and through traffic we made our way to Tom Farm's.

Tom's Farm Brief History

His parents said that Tom wanted to be a farmer from the day he was born in Kansas City, Missouri. When he turned five, they let him work at his father's produce stand. And the rest, as they say, is history. Tom moved west in the early 70's and leased some land in Lake Elsinore to house his first produce stand. He did so well that the owner of the land decided to covet it for himself, and sent Tom packing. Driving home to Anaheim, slightly brokenhearted, but with his boundless energy, strong work ethic, and unwavering integrity still intact, he found an idyllic spot in Temescal Canyon, right below the Cleveland National Forest. He named his place Tom's Farms. The produce was fresh and the people were friendly. People came from miles away, and Tom's Farms became a favorite destination stop for travelers.

Staying true to Tom's original core values, the produce is still fresh, the people are still genuine, and visitors are always welcome.

Tom wouldn't like it any other way.

Our Ride

We parked then went to the ticket booth for three tickets and headed to ride the train.

Two views of our gasoline-powered engine.

Elizabeth, who along with Marty Smith, was making her first trip on the Tom's Farm train.

The cumulonimbus clouds were building over the San Bernardino Mountains. Now sit back and enjoy a ride on the Tom's Farm Train.

The trip on the Tom's Farm Railroad. After Elizabeth looked in the shops and Marty and I had some liquids we headed home. With the CA 91 backed up, we detoured via Foothills Parkway which turned in Green River Drive. At CA 91 we had a little trouble getting on that highway but I did and we dropped Marty off at his home before we drove home. I wrote the story around having dinner. It had been a great day of riding both the Poway-Midland Railroad and Tom's Farm Railroad.