Railroad Days returns Saturday to Fullerton
Railroad Days returns to Fullerton
FULLERTON – Railroad Days, the weekend-long festival that serves as nirvana for train lovers, returns this weekend to the city where it began – the town with a rich locomotive history.
The festival is being held Saturday and Sunday in the Fullerton Transportation Center, home to the busiest train station in the county.
Making its Railroad Days' debut will be Disneyland Railroad's Lilly Belle Presidential Coach – an elegant observation car festooned in Victorian décor that still rolls along in the Magic Kingdom. A former Disneyland combine coach for passengers and luggage that's now part of Carolwood Pacific Railroad Company in Griffith Park will be on display as well.
The lineup also includes three privately owned vintage cabooses, a modern diesel-electric freight locomotive, courtesy of BNSF Railway, and a steam locomotive from Fillmore & Western Railway.
All of the rail cars will be open for tours.
Enthusiasts can drool over more than 9,000 square feet of model train layouts, featuring gauges from G – the largest – to Z.
More than a dozen food booths will be set up, along with others manned by train-related organizations and nonprofit groups.
Crowds of up to 30,000 were typical when the event was in Fullerton from 1999 to 2008, and organizers expect this year to be no different.
"We have the location for it," Mayor Sharon Quirk-Silva said. "You often see people sitting and enjoying the trains, (and) I think people will be happy that it is back."
After the 2008 festival, the city and the Southern California Railway Plaza Association, the group that hosts Railroad Days, couldn't agree on the terms of building a railway museum in Fullerton that never materialized – so organizers opted to take the event to another city.
The festival was not held in 2009 and was in Brea in 2010. Last year, it was again cancelled.
In October, the City Council voted unanimously to welcome Railroad Days back, as long as the organizers could cover the cost. Through donations and sponsorships, organizers raised the needed $25,000, said association spokeswoman Donna Johnson.
Aside from waiving $1,759 in fees, Railroad Days won't cost the city anything.
The Railroad Days Facebook page is up will be updated throughout the festival: www.facebook.com/RailroadDays2012InFullerton.