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Today's adventure started when I picked up
Chris Guenzler in Santa Ana. From there we went on I-5 to the 22
to the 405 ending at El Dorado Park in Long Beach, CA.
The seed for this trip started germinating
several weeks back when Chris was lamenting the fact that this
weekend there would be no passenger train service for Orange
County so we were looking for a plan B to find a train to ride on
the weekend. From Orange County there were no trains to Los
Angeles nor to San Diego. The problem with the Los Angeles bound
traffic was that the city was demolishing the iconic and venerable
Sixth Street bridge. The bridge was the way for residents of east
Los Angeles to get to work and shopping in downtown Los Angeles.
It had been in several movies and part of a lot of peoples lives
over the years. The concrete used in the bridge was reacting to
the elements and deteriorated beyond saving. So it is being
replaced with a new and wider one. The bridge starts on the east
side crossing the UP rail tracks, crossing the Los Angeles River,
then on the west side over the Santa Fe tracks, then the Amtrak
yard. Demolishing started several months ago on the east side and
have worked over to the west bank of the LA River. Now the tracks
will be covered in layers of dirt and sand to protect the rail
from the heavy duty equipment working on the demolishing. When
finished with the demolishing, the dirt will be removed, the
tracks cleaned and then reopened. This is the main route out of
Union Station going East and South and used by Amtrak Southwest
Chief, Pacific Surfliner and Metrolink. So it is busy but out of
order this weekend and the next.
The San Diego problem was due to
bridge work being done in north San Diego County. Several bridges
would out of service this weekend and the next several. So no
weekend trips to San Diego or any where in between for the next
And all that lead to us finding railroads in the Southern California area to ride on the next several weekends. Our first stop in this new adventure was to be Caboose Corners at El Dorado Park in the City of Long Beach. We took the El Dorado Park exit of the I-605, went to Studebaker St. and then tried to find the park entrance. Right away we learn that a) this is a big park and b) there is only one entrance.
After finding the entrance and paying our
entrance fee, we tried to locate the train. Well be before you
knew it, we were on the outside looking in. Lost and confused. To
rediscover the entrance, we needed to drive halfway around the
park to get back in. Showing our receipt, we again entered and
this time asked for directions. We then found the tunnel that
connects two sides of park separated by city street. After going
thru the tunnel, we could see the train and station and drove in
As we arrived the staff was just
starting their opening duties. We are able to chat with the crew
as they went about their duties. The owner was Tony Ruvolo his son
Tony and granddaughter Taylor. Tony gave us a brief history of
this family owned business. Over many years they have had several
rides in Southern California. His stepfather had rides he
operated. When his stepfather died, his mother took over running
the business then he started to help her in operating the family
business. His son Greg was ride operator at the young age of 13.
They have been at this location since 1988.
Caboose Corners is in El Dorado
Park and home of the El Dorado Express.
Operating hours are Saturday and
Sunday, 10:30 AM to 4:00 PM, March through October.
Located near the 2 and
210 freeway, Descanso Gardens is open daily and only
closed on Christmas Day. We are here to ride the
Enchanted Railroad which is open on weekends and
selected weekdays. Call ahead to check if the train is
running on your visit. 818-949-4200.
Chris had called ahead to
check if the train would be running on our visit and
we would be writing stories about the railroad.
After his call the operator was asked by fellow
workers what was the name of the magazine we were
writing for. She said it sounded like "Train Wreck."
As we were picking up our tickets, the ladies told
us about the conversation and we all had a chuckle.
They were very nice to us and showed on the map the
location of the railroad.
The gardens were decorated in the
The boarding gate for the Enchanted
The lady on the caboose is the