Monday, November 15, 2010

Wednesday Crew Works Wonders

Ed Leska, Tony Ramirez, John Green
and Doug Winter
With rare exception, Wednesday mornings at the railroad museum are a time when a group of men gathers there to tackle projects and problems in need of attention.

The group's primary focus has always been the Goleta Short Line miniature railroad. In fact, the group can be traced back to 2006, when Gene Allen began organizing volunteer  work parties to tackle the daunting task of expanding the miniature railroad from a six-minute, one-third-mile-long ride to a nine-minute, half-mile ride.

The head of the all-volunteer group is Ed Leska, who has been a museum member since 1993. Leska was one of the men recruited by Allen to help with the Goleta Short Line expansion, and Allen later tapped Leska to take over as the group's leader.

Ed Leska, Gene Allen and William Simpson
take a break during Goleta Short Line expansion.
In 2007, with this large project finally behind them, the group turned to other tasks, especially the maintenance of the enlarged railroad right-of-way and the miniature-train equipment, including a major rebuilding of the turntable. Eventually, Wednesday became the usual work day and the group's membership solidified, as Leska, John Green, Tony Ramirez, and Doug Winter became the team's regulars.

John Green welds supporting wire mesh
for the Visitor Center's overhead train.
Eventually, the group – whose background and training included carpentry, engineering, electrical and more – came to be called upon to perform other general maintenance, repair and construction projects around the museum. One major effort took place in 2008, when the Daylight passenger-train was added to the suspended railroad in the museum's Visitor Center.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Museum Charters “Silver Splendor” Vista-Dome Car For Feb. 19 Excursion

Ed Leska was amazed at the stunning coastline
views from Silver Splendor's dome.
Santa Barbara South Coast residents have a unique opportunity to ride a classic Vista Dome car on Feb. 19, 2011, when the museum has chartered the historic Silver Splendor railcar for a one-day roundtrip along the Pacific Coast to San Luis Obispo.

Vista Dome cars are famous for their graceful glass-enclosed rooftop observation rooms, which provide unparalleled views in all directions. Museum volunteer Ed Leska, who knows something about vintage-rail travel, explains: “Riding in the dome gives you the very best views of the coast and valleys!  You can see the ocean and the mountains, look forward and back without moving from your seat!”

Silver Splendor today
The museum group is limited to 48 passengers, so that everyone will be guaranteed seating in the 24-seat dome for one-half of the trip. Those making early reservations have first choice of riding in the dome either during the north- or southbound leg of the trip.

Passengers may board in either Santa Barbara or Goleta. Travel times are as follows: Depart Santa Barbara (SB) at 10:15 a.m. (Goleta 10:27). Arrive San Luis Obispo (SLO) at 12:45 p.m. Depart SLO at 2:00 p.m. Arrive SB at 4:31 p.m. (Goleta 4:16).

Tickets for the Feb. 19 Silver Splendor excursion are only $75 for museum members; $79 for the general public. Soft drinks and light snacks are included. To make your reservations, call the museum any weekday afternoon at 805/964-3540.

The car's original name was Silver Buckle.
Built by the Budd Co. in 1956 as Chicago, Burlington & Quincy No. 4735, this stainless steel car raced between Chicago and Denver on a daily basis until 1980, the last nine years under Amtrak ownership. Originally named Silver Buckle, she was part of the last two complete conventional train sets to be ordered new in the pre-Amtrak era, traveling more than 4.5 million miles.

To learn more about Silver Splendor, please visit:

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Hidden Oaks Golf Course Hosts Museum Benefit

Doug Winter finishes off the 9th hole,
while Museum Director Gary Coombs waits.
The Hidden Oaks Golf Course hosted a special benefit day on Saturday, Aug. 21. The museum received 20% of all course revenues generated that day. Among the event’s participants were a number of museum notables, including Marc Bradley, Doug Winter and Director Gary Coombs.

Hidden Oaks Golf Course is a 9-hole, par 27 layout, located at 4760 Calle Camarada in Santa Barbara. Coincidentally, many years ago the property was the first home of the Goleta Valley Railroad Club.

Marc Bradley (right) and Dan Spiegle relax at the
Clubhouse after completing their round.

The museum is indebted to its good friends at the Hidden Oaks course for their cooperation and support in making this memorable fundraising event possible.
Hidden Oaks Manager/Pro Dave DeHeras
prepared this table display for the event.