September 20, 2010

All Aboard - The Folsom Rail Festival

by Kati Garner

Track that was laid to be part of the Trans-Continental Railroad did not fulfill its destiny but it was celebrated as the oldest railroad track west of the Mississippi River this weekend during the Folsom Historic Railroad and Transportation Festival .

"130 years ago the track ran from Sacramento to Folsom. The route was changed and now it runs from Sacramento to Auburn and beyond," said Larry Bowler, one of the Festival's organizers.

It became only a local freight line and travelled just beyond Placerville. Many years ago the track was torn out five miles west of Placerville.
This is the first time the festival has been in Folsom. The past four years it's been held in Ione on a smaller scale.
There were lots of things to see and do.
Walt Freeman, Sacramento Regional Transit, prepares passengers for a short trip in Sacramento Regional Transit’s own #35 PG&E Streetcar at the Folsom Historic Railroad and Transportation Festival at Folsom Pointe. Designed to run on the rails, the streetcar was built in St. Louis, MO in 1913, servicing Sacramento from 1914 through 1948. The old Folsom Powerhouse supplied power to a power plant in Sacramento at 6th & I Streets and ran the system.
Conductor Eric Olds collected passenger's tickets.
The historic streetcar ride took passengers south of Hwy 50.
One of the characters along the way.
A man and his two sons depart from the streetcar.
A festival visitor stands by a Railroad Motorcar, sometimes called a “Speeder”. Smaller models, like this one, were used routinely to inspect the many miles of track for defects. Larger versions would carry half a dozen workers and pull a few trailers loaded with spikes and tools, to handle track maintenance.They have a top speed of 30mph and are faster than handcars. ( from
Ric Hornor was on hand with 'Books by Dead Guys', books full of photos and stories created in the 1800s. (
This is the passenger side of San Diego and Arizona Eastern Railway Fire Truck MW No. 1003. It was built by the Ford Motor Co. in 1931 and was based near the Mexican border at Jacumba, CA. It fought fires that plagued the railway's many wooden trestles and timber lined tunnels of the Carriso Gorge. It is in full operational condition.
A father and son inspect a Track Mobile. It has rubber and steel wheels so it can travel on land as well as the rails. It is mainly used in industrial settings.

A huge wrench is carried in a Mudge "Special", an all-around car that can carry three men, yet it is light enough to be handled easily by one person. It has a one cylinder, 4-hp engine and is used by linemen, signal men, claim adjusters, patrolment, station agents and inspectors. It has removable guide arms, wheels and tray, and can be loaded into baggage cars.
Indoor Model Railroad Displays were up and running.
 SacPress Photos | Kati Garner