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Fillmore & Western Railway: Christmas Tree Train

  • Dec 15, 2013 · 12:30 PM
  • This location is shown only to members

Please Note: Read and follow the directions carefully below BEFORE you RSVP 'Yes' for this event.

1) I am hosting this event for both Gay Foodies and Pleasure Palate.

2) I will be arranging a carpool for this event. The carpool will meet at 12:30 at the Sepulveda Garden Center located at 16633 Magnolia Blvd · Encino

Park your car on Rubio Street which intersects with Magnolia Blvd.

3) If you carpool, please give your designated driver at least $10 in CA$H to compensate for gas and car maintenance costs.

4) In order to attend this event, you must prepurchase your tickets for the Christmas Tree Train in advance. Tickets will SELL OUT as it gets closer to the date of the train ride.

Purchase tickets for the event here: http://www.fwry.com/Tickets/WTCalendar.html

Make sure to select the Sunday, December 15th ride at 2 PM. Tickets cost $24 per person plus a convenience fee of $2.25.


From their website:

"Bring the entire family and start or continue a Christmas tradition by riding the train to the Christmas Tree Farm to select and cut the perfect tree. If a tree is not on your list, take this holiday train ride with Santa to shop at Loose Caboose Garden Center and Gift Emporium.  At Loose Caboose Garden Center and Gift Emporium you can choose from a variety of antiques, gifts and Christmas decor. Food and beverages (including beer & wine) will also be available onboard.

Short Line Enterprises was founded in 1967. Between 1967 and 1972, the company bought, sold and traded locomotives, passenger cars and freight cars, mostly of 19th century origin. The majority of the equipment was acquired from the property departments of three major movie studios: MGM, Paramount and 20th Century Fox. This activity, combined with Short Line's experience in buying, selling and evaluating railroad equipment led to the company's emergence as one of the foremost appraisers in America of rolling stock and other railroad-related items. It also focused the company on its long-term path of providing movie trains for the film industry.

    By 1976, Short's Line's collection of rolling stock was anything but short. The company moved lock stock and locomotive, to the Sierra Railroad in Jamestown, California, which provided a better location for film work. It was also close to Sacramento, where principals of Short Line had been engaged by the California Department of Parks and Recreation to supervise restoration of the extensive and historic collection of the California State Railroad Museum.

    Short Line was also retained as the prime contractor by the Nevada State Museum on restoration projects in Carson City. This series of projects ran from 1979 to 1988, and resulted in the restoration of three derelict steam locomotives and seven 19th Century passenger and freight cars.

    During this time (1985), Short Line moved its movie operations to the Newhall Ranch, placing it within the Hollywood production zone. Between 1985 and 1990, Short Line was used in over seventy feature films, television series and commercials. No Hollywood railroad location had ever amassed that number of credits in such a brief period of time. The track lease was cancelled in 1990 when the Newhall Land and Farming Company decided to develop the surrounding area in a way, which was incompatible with movie operations.

    A search began for a new home for Hollywood's "movie trains". All potential sites in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura Counties were explored. The only line that met the specific needs of the film industry was Southern Pacific's Santa Paula Branch in rural Ventura County. The pastoral surroundings of the area also bode suitable for development of a passenger excursion business. The City of Fillmore showed great enthusiasm for the operation of a vintage train in conjunction with the revival of its 1920-era Central Business District. The objective - to create a major visitor destination that features the movie trains, passenger excursions and dinner trains as the master theme for the community redevelopment.

    The "Movie Trains" found a home, and Fillmore became "Train Town".
In 1996, Short Line Enterprises became the film division of the Fillmore & Western Railway Company. Operations expanded from movie work and limited passenger trips to regularly scheduled daytime passenger excursions and Saturday Night Dinner Trains.

    The antique trains of Fillmore & Western rolled into the 21st. Century as involved as ever in the magic of movies, while the company's passenger excursions, dinner trains, private parties and corporate events provide the means of travel to a bygone era."

From the Ventura County Star:

"As a child growing up in Mexico, Armida Stafford used to help her family cut down their own Christmas tree every holiday season.

Now an adult living in Winnetka in the San Fernando Valley, Stafford wants to pass that tradition down to her children.

On Sunday morning, she and her family, including husband, Mike, and sons Matthew, 14, and Keith, 11, drove to Fillmore to board the Fillmore & Western Railway’s vintage Christmas Tree Holiday Train.

With dozens of other families on board, the nearly 100-year-old train made the scenic 40-minute trip through lemon groves to the Santa Paula Christmas Tree Farm eight miles to the west.

Once there, the passengers debarked to select and cut down their own trees, which were then put in a machine that shook off loose needles, wrapped in netting and placed on a flat-bed car for the return trip. Upon arriving back in Fillmore, Civil Air Patrol volunteers from Simi Valley helped the passengers load the trees into or on top of their vehicles for the drive home.

“We’ve been wanting to do this for years,” Stafford said. “And this is our first time. I shared with my family that I did this when I was a little girl in Mexico. And this is a great way to continue that tradition.”

Train attendant Steve Goch, 72, of Santa Paula said the Christmas tree train is one of the railway’s most popular attractions for children.

“It’s a real fun thing that gets them excited and involved,” he said. “The neat thing is to go down and pick your own tree instead of standing in some muddy lot someplace with trees that were cut a month, two months ago and shipped down from Oregon.”

Santa Claus distributed candy canes to children as he made his rounds through the cars, which were decorated with holiday tinsel.

“Generations of families come on this train every year,” Santa Claus said. “Little kids become bigger kids, now they’re moms and dads. They make it a tradition to come out here and cut a tree.”

On the way to the tree farm, Matthew Stafford said he was excited at the prospect of him and his brother cutting down the family’s Christmas tree.

Once he started sawing, however, he quickly realized it was tougher than he thought. Laying on the ground, the brothers struggled to make more than a dent in the pine, for which the family paid $40.

“Can we get a chain saw?” Keith asked hopefully.

“Try doing it with a machete, boys,” their mother cracked. “That’s how I had to do it.”

Finally, with the help of their father, who tried to push the tree over, it snapped with a loud crack and fell to the ground.

“The price of the tree is great,” Armida said. “But the experience of the whole family coming out here is priceless.”"




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