Saturday, November 23, 2013

Decorating For The Holidays

The first step in preparing the museum for the Candy Cane Train and other holiday activities is to decorate the buildings and property.

This year, hundreds of ornaments were skillfully attached to the branches of trees and shrubs around the grounds by Hollanda Harwin, sons Evan and Connor, and her mother, Yollanda Leon.

UCSB intern Samantha Baldwin applied the holiday train's distinctive candy-cane striping.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

"Family Fun Train" Coming Nov. 9

Hop aboard the Family Fun Train on Saturday, Nov. 9, aboard the Vista Dome car, Silver Splendor.

Make your reservations now through the museum's online store.

The museum's goal in developing this special rail trip for families is to enthuse young people about train travel and to make trains and railroads a more meaningful part of their everyday lives. To make the trip as much fun as possible, especially for young riders, we will be riding the extraordinary Vista Dome car, Silver Splendor, on this day trip up our beautiful coastline and through the inland valleys to San Luis Obispo. Riding in the dome is a unique, unforgettable experience because of the commanding 360-degree views that it gives its passengers. All Family Fun Train riders will get to spend the first half of the trip in Silver Splendor’s dome.

Museum Director Gary Coombs will be our guide for the trip, using the dome as his platform for sharing the spectacular sights and points of interest along the route. These include the breathtaking Gaviota Coast, Hollister Ranch, Point Conception, the launch sites of Vandenberg AFB, state and county beach parks, a wealth of aquatic and other wildlife and botanical wonders, and a lot more.

Thanks to a generous contribution from Bill and Debbie Hatrick, the museum is able to offer a special Family Fun Train rate for children ages 2 to 12 that's $30 off of the standard passenger fare.

The Family Fun Train is also co-sponsored by, the online resource guide for local families.

Monday, July 29, 2013

SB Vino Train Tickets Available Through Museum's Online Store

For a limited time only, seats on the Santa Barbara Vino Train can be purchased through the South Coast Railroad Museum's online store.

The Vino Train is a wonderful way for those living in the greater Los Angeles area, including Ventura County, to make a car-free day trip to Santa Barbara, including a ride aboard a vintage American rail car.

Overland Trail is just one of the Vino Train rail cars.
For one low fare, Vino Train passengers receive a buffet breakfast, dinner, and all beverages while on board.

For more information, visit the Santa Barbara Vino Train page in the online store.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Welcome, Mariem!

The museum has a new intern for UCSB's spring quarter 2013. Mariem Lambert is a senior, majoring in anthropology. Her minor is American Indian and Indigenous Studies.

After she graduates in 2014, she in hoping for a career in fieldwork or at a museum.

Mariem grew up in the Bay Area and calls San Francisco her home.

Engineer Mariem!
At the railroad museum, she has completed her training as both an engineer and conductor on the Goleta Short Line miniature train. She hauled her first passengers as engineer on April 14.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Pride Of Madeira Ready To Bloom

The museum has a new Pride Of Madeira plant that is about ready to explode into bloom. It may not look like much right now, as the photograph below will attest. But, give it another two or three weeks or so and the plant will be covered with dozens of beautiful purple flowers, as shown in the Wikipedia photo on the left. That should be perfect timing for the museum's Easter Bunny Express event on March 30.
Like many of the trees and shrubs around the museum grounds, this Pride of Madeira is a volunteer — we didn't plant it there. Instead, it sprouted naturally from the seeds of other, earlier Pride of Madeira bushes growing nearby. However it ended up in that particular spot, the positioning couldn't be any better for the enjoyment of passengers on the Goleta Short Line miniature train ride: It's strategically located directly adjacent to the track crossover known as “Hope.” That means that every train will go right past those gorgeous blooms not once but twice on each and every trip!

You can learn more about all of the trees and shrubs that grow around the museum grounds by visiting this page on the museum's website.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Sweetheart Special Had Lots To Savor

Bern was dapper in his Valentines-theme
red bow tie.
Feb. 16, 2013 marked the triumphant return of the Sweetheart Special, an event that the museum started back in 1989.
The reprise event was a day-trip along our beautiful coastline aboard the magnificent Vista Dome car, Silver Splendor. There were delicious boxed lunches to eat, along with Valentine's candy and even some healthy snacks. Narrative along the way was provided by a trio of museum guides -- Nancy Johnke, Museum Director Gary Coombs and, shown at left, Bern Verbit.

Also aboard ably serving as museum hosts were Raphaella Baholzer-Donati and Mayra Garcia.

We had a full car, with 46 passengers aboard, plus crew. A fun and memorable time was had by one and all.

Be sure to watch the video below to get a taste of what it's like to take in the views from the Silver Splendor dome. Learn more about the museum's vintage-rail excursions.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Goleta Short Line's No. 1316 Based On Historic S.P. Diesel Switcher

The Museum's engine No. 1316 is a 1/8-size reproduction of an actual Southern Pacific diesel locomotive.

The Southern Pacific purchased ten of these 1,000 horsepower engines from General Motors, all in 1941. They were built at GM's Electro-Motive Division plant in La Grange, Illinois.

Assigned numbers 1310 through 1319, these were among the first diesel engines used by Southern Pacific, preceded only by a 600 horsepower-class diesel introduced in 1939. All of these early diesel-electrics were switch-engines used for general yard service -- moving cars and making up trains. Larger, more powerful diesels did not replace the venerable steam locomotive for road use (passenger or freight) until the late 1940s.

Engine No. 1316 was assigned to the Taylor Yards in Los Angeles. We don't know if No. 1316 or another engine of its class ever worked in Santa Barbara County.

The numbers on the cab indicate that No. 1316 had 40-inch drive wheels (all wheels were powered) and 8-1/2-inch-diameter pistons with a 10-inch stroke. "DES-101" is a Southern Pacific classification; DES stands for "Diesel-Electric Switcher." The engine weighed 248,300 pounds with a tractive-effort rating of 62,100 pounds.

The Museum's operating replica was manufactured by Morris Industries of Charlotte, Michigan. Research and detailing were done by Museum volunteers and staff. The engine was purchased and outfitted thanks to the generous donations of Museum members and friends.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Nancy Steps Up!

The museum owes a debt of gratitude to Nancy Revlin, who gave up her afternoon on Jan. 26 so that the Visitor Center and Trackshop Shop could stay open for our guests. Nancy is a member of the Trails & Rails guides, the group of volunteers from our museum who provide educational programs to passengers aboard Amtrak's Coast Starlight trains.

Thank you, Nancy!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Rick Reeves Completes Training

Rick Reeves, one of the museum's newest volunteers, completed his engineer training and hauled his first passengers behind Engine No. 1316 on Saturday, Jan. 26. Rick has been serving as a conductor on the Goleta Short Line for several months.

An accomplished singer and guitarist, Rick has also performed for passengers aboard the museum's Central Coast Flyer vintage railcar excursions.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Turntable Upgrade Completed

The Goleta Short Line turntable has received a major upgrade, thanks to the efforts of John Green and the other volunteers who spend most of their Wednesday mornings working on projects around the museum.

Initial Testing on Jan. 16
The upgrade included the installation of a new mechanism that locks the turntable in line with the corresponding lead track. Designed and fabricated by John Green, the locking mechanism eliminates the need for a separate linking plate to bridge the gap between the turntable and track. A linking plate had been used since Gene Allen built the turntable in the late 1980s.

"We won't need this thing any more!"
The turntable project was completed on Jan. 16, 2013. The remodeled turntable first went into passenger service on the following day. "It works like a charm!" said Museum Director Gary Coombs, who served as engineer on the initial day of operation.

The Wednesday work crew is led by Ed Leska. Other members of the group include Doug Winter, Tony Ramirez, and Dick Roberts.

Dick Roberts, Ed Leska, Tony Ramirez, John Green, and Doug Winter

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Borgia Has A New Look!

Yes, that's still Borgia behind the counter in the Visitor Center, but she's adopted a new and very different work uniform.

The change to engineer's attire was entirely her idea. Borgia pitched the proposal to Museum Director Gary Coombs, who approved this marked departure from the business attire that museum assistants and shop clerks have traditionally worn over the years.

Borgia says she came up with the idea because she wanted to add "more fun and excitement in the shop." She felt the new costume would be more in line "with the railroad theme" and would also make her "more recognizable to visitors" as a museum staff member when she was working outside on the grounds.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Meet Our New Intern: Shuyan Dong

The museum's new intern for the Winter 2013 Quarter is Shuyan Dong. The 20-year-old UCSB freshman is from Hang Zhou, China. Her major is Actuarial Science.

As of this writing, Shuyan has been in the U.S. for less than four months. She has been learning English in school back home since she was 9 or 10.

Shuyan says she likes UCSB because it has an excellent Actuarial Science program. Her parents favored the Santa Barbara area for their daughter's schooling in America because of the good weather and what they considered to be a relatively safe environment.

For part of her internship, Shuyan is training to be a conductor on the Goleta Short Line miniature-train ride. She had her first day of service at the museum on Jan. 3.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Blueprints Share Depot Architecture

A growing collection of new blueprints of Southern Pacific depots in California is now being developed by Jean-Guy Dube. Suitable for framing, these handsome and informative diazo blueprints are produced from measured and drafted drawings by Mr. Dube. They are based on Southern Pacific standard-depot plans, on historical photographs and, for those depots that have survived, on actual building measurements.

Each blueprint includes noted floor plans, sections, and elevations. The prints also contain historical notes about each building. Railroad model hobbyists will be pleased to learn that the drawings are in “HO” scale. Dube uses traditional methods of  blueprinting to create a blue-with-white line print from his original vellum.

The blueprints may be purchased through the South Coast Railroad Museum’s online store. More information about the series is also available there.

Jean-Guy Dube is a professional draftsman and apprentice architect who has been researching and writing about Southern Pacific depots since 1983. He will be sharing many of his blueprints and talk about his research during a free program on Tues., Jan. 22, 2013, entitled “Southern Pacific’s Depots of  Santa Barbara County.” The lecture and multimedia presentation will begin at 7 p.m. and will be held at Goleta Library, 500 N. Fairview Ave. The program is sponsored by the South Coast Railroad Museum.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Coast Starlight Volunteer Training Scheduled For 2013

Training dates and times have been set for volunteers in the South Coast Railroad Museum's 2013 Trails & Rails program aboard Amtrak's Coast Starlight trains. Orientation for new volunteers will be held Wed., Feb. 13, from 7 to 9 p.m., in the museum's Visitor Center, 300 North Los Carneros Road, Goleta. Day-long guide training for new and continuing volunteers will be held on Saturday, Feb. 23, starting at 9 a.m. (The Feb. 23rd training location will be announced during the Feb. 13 orientation). New volunteers must attend both the training and orientation sessions. These sessions are only offered once a year.

Point Conception and lighthouse
This exciting opportunity for local volunteers to travel, interpret, and explore West Coast rails is being offered by the National Park Service and the railroad museum, in partnership with Amtrak. The Goleta-based museum has conducted educational programs aboard Amtrak trains since the 1980s.

Railroad bridge at Gaviota
Each year, from March through October, Trails & Rails guides provide a unique travel experience to Coast Starlight passengers, presenting informative talks and public-address announcements about the natural, cultural and historical significance of the route, and points of interest and things to do in the area. Two versions of the program are offered: Some volunteers make their presentations during a one-day Santa Barbara-to-San Luis Obispo roundtrip; in summer, some guide teams make an overnight trip to San Jose.

Trails & Rails volunteers do not need to be historians or naturalists. The program sponsors are looking for dedicated and entertaining volunteers with an enthusiasm for public speaking, travel, and human interaction. Uniforms, program materials, travel, meals, and overnight lodging are provided.

Volunteers must be at least 18 years old, in good health, and available to make an average of at least two one-day trips per month during the eight-month period that the program is offered.

For more information about the Trails & Rails Program aboard the Coast Starlight, contact: Trails & Rails Coordinator, South Coast Railroad Museum, 300 North Los Carneros Rd., Goleta, CA 93117. Phone: 805-964-3540. Or, via e-mail.