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!