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Rare Mileage Trip on the Santa Paula Branch 11/8/2009

by Chris Guenzler

As part of the CAL Rail 2020 Conference in Ventura a rare mileage trip was offered on Sunday November 8, 2009 on the old Santa Paula Branch of the former Southern Pacific now the Fillmore Western Railroad. It was supposed to go from Montalvo to Piru but then track work between Montalvo and Saticoy took those tracks out of service. Chris Parker and I decided to go anyway as we love riding the train in the Santa Paula Valley through the orange groves. That morning I got up early and after breakfast uploaded the corrections to the East LA Gold Line Story. I drove down to the Santa Ana Amtrak Station at 5:10 AM and found the Thruway Bus already there. I boarded and took this bus via Fullerton to LAUPT. I walked out front and waited for Chris Parker who picked me up and we drove through the dense fog. Near San Fernando we came out into the bright clear morning sunshine and we had a great drive out to Fillmore. We parked and I walked over to where I saw the train crew but stopped for a pair of pictures.

Salt Lake Garfield & Western D.S.4 SLEX 1040.

Our Fillmore Western Excursion Train that will take us west to Saticoy and east to Piru.

The east end of our train for today. Our train had F7A 100, FW 1375 Power Car, FW 10204 Diner, FW 6052 Table Car, FW 3106 Table Car, FW 205 Bar/Dance Car, FW 2508 Sleeper and FW F7A 101. At 8:15 AM our train left Fillmore for Saticoy.

The Southern Pacific Fillmore Station.

Me, Chris Guenzler.

Chris Parker.

The Table Car we rode for this trip.

Packing house in Fillmore.

The table that Chris and I are sharing.

Our train crossed Sespi Creek.

Field waiting to be planted.

Young trees.

These trees caught my eye.

View to the south.

View to the north.

Young trees planted.

These trees have been topped.

The train went by the Loose Caboose with its upside down trees.

More young trees.

Our train pulled into Santa Paula.

The former Southern Pacific Santa Paula Station. Our train paused for ten minutes and we were allowed to get off at Santa Paula.

Our train at Santa Paula. Once we started moving I started my new rail mileage which would last until Saticoy.

This building in Santa Paula will become a farming museum.

Packing houses in Santa Paula.

The train takes a curve in Santa Paula.

Calavo Packing House.

Sunkist Saticoy Lemon Assn.

View to the south.

Two views looking to the north.

View looking south.

A School Farm as we near Saticoy.

View looking back.

Looking south.

Our train went under California Highway 126.

Old packing house just after the underpass.

Cactus along our route.

Running along the orange groves.

Fields along the north side of our route.

The old farm buildings at this farm.

Oil well along our route.

Strawberry fields forever.

Our train is almost to Saticoy.

For Part 2 of this story