September 15, 2010

Railroad groups lay tracks for transportation festival

By Brad Smith, Telegraph Correspondent

This weekend Folsom residents and others will experience firsthand how important rail travel was to the region.

The Railroad Education and Preservation Society, along with help from the Folsom, El Dorado, Sacramento Historical Railroad Historical Association, will present the Folsom Historical Railroad & Transportation Festival. Bill Anderson, president of the FEDSHRA, said the event is one that anyone can enjoy.
“It has something for everyone,” he said. “People can come to the event and have fun, ride a train or street car or check out the car show. And, it’s educational — people learn how much of vital part the rails played in our history.”
Anderson said the event started after the FEDSHRA was contacted by a railroad enthusiast group from Ione.
“They’ve been putting on their own rail fest for some time,” Anderson said. “However, this year, they weren’t going to be able to do it. So, they contacted us.”
The Ione group wanted to use the Folsom area to stage a similar event. That, Anderson said, was how everything started.
“A number of us (FEDSHRA) volunteered to put the event together,” he said. “Over a period of time, everything started to come together.”
Marty Donahoo, an FEDSHRA board member, was one of those volunteers. He thought it was a “great idea” when he had heard about it.
“I love the history of this town and surrounding area,” Donahoo said. “Some people have lived here for a long time and still haven’t learned a lot about local history — especially how vital the rail lines played a part. It’s like hidden treasure.”
Anderson said that the two-day event will have a lot to offer visitors,
“The Sacramento Regional Transit’s PG&E No. 35 trolley will be available for people to ride,” Anderson said. “There will be handcar rides and Skagit rides too. I think folks will love the rail speeders.”
Donahoo said that a number of of model train displays will be setup and running during the event.
“Kids love model trains and so we’ll have some on hand,” he said. “Of course, adults are more than welcome to watch the model trains. We’ll have some vendors lined up as well”
Another part of the event will be the Cops and Rodders display, Anderson said.
“There will be a number of antique police cars and motorcycles on display,” he said. “We’ll have a number of presentations on Folsom’s rail and transportation history. We want this to be fun and educational at the same time.”
Donahoo said on Sunday there would be a salute to members of Folsom’s National Guard unit, the 49th National Guard Military Police Brigade, returning from active duty.
Anderson said that while the Ione group will likely resume having their event in their hometown, it is possible that Folsom will see another event next year.
“Working on this event has been a learning curve for some of us,” Anderson said. “But, overall, I think it will be a great draw for people living in and around Folsom. There will be plenty for people to see and do — and if we have a strong turnout, we’ll do it again next year.”
Donahoo hopes that this event will be the start of something new and different.
The event will be held this weekend from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the rails along East Bidwell Street and Placerville Road at Iron Point Drive. Admission is free.
For more information call (916) 764-5110 or (916) 502-2667.
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What: Folsom Historical Railroad & Transportation Festival
When: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sept. 18-19
Where: Railroad tracks behind In-n-Out on East Bidwell Street in Folsom
Cost: Free admission