Fillmore and Western Railway
|Fillmore and Western Railway|
|Locale||Ventura County, California, USA|
|Built by||Southern Pacific Railroad|
|Original gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge|
Track owned by the|
Ventura County Transportation Commission
Rolling stock owned by Fillmore and Western Railway
|Operated by||Fillmore and Western Railway|
|Preserved gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge|
The Fillmore and Western Railway (reporting mark FWRY) is a railroad owned by the Fillmore & Western Railway Company. The company operates on track owned by the Ventura County Transportation Commission. The F&W is known as the "Home of the Hollywood Movie Trains" because the majority of its rolling stock was acquired from three major studios: 20th Century Fox, Paramount, Warner Bros, and MGM. The railroad is frequently used for the filming of television series, motion pictures and commercials and as a locale for private and commercial still photography, Visitors to Fillmore often see filming activity as well as sets and support equipment at the company's rail yard and along the tracks between Santa Paula and Piru.
The F&W has been used in more than 400 movie, TV and commercial shots. Movies shot on the railroad include Seabiscuit, Get Smart, Rails & Ties, & Race to Witch Mountain. Television series CSI and Criminal Minds have used the railroad for location shooting.
The railroad also operates a year-round tourist train and offers numerous special events, including the Railroad Days Festival, the Pumpkinliner, Christmas Tree Trains, the North Pole Express, and the Day Out with Thomas. The normal schedule involves weekend excursions, dinner trains, murder mystery trains, barbecue trains, and shopping excursions to nearby Santa Paula.
The track is a standard gauge railroad constructed in 1887 by Southern Pacific Railroad through the Santa Clara River Valley in Ventura County, California. This line was originally part of the Southern Pacific's main line between San Francisco and Los Angeles before a shorter route was built through the Santa Susana Mountains in 1904. State Route 126 follows roughly the same route from Ventura to Santa Clarita. The track was used extensively by Southern Pacific as late as the 1950s to haul citrus from packing houses at the communities along the Santa Clara River. In 1989, the branch line that connects at its west end to the Union Pacific at Montalvo in Ventura was purchased from Southern Pacific by the Ventura County Transportation Commission. The eastern end of the line now terminates in Piru as storm damage in 1979 severed the eastern end of the line to Saugus in Los Angeles County.
Short Line Enterprises was a company that provided railcars for use in movie productions. They came to Fillmore in 1991 to use the rail line and eventually added tourist and dinner trains.
Transportation planners in the Southern California region have been studying the feasibility of restoring the eastern end of the line between Santa Paula and Santa Clarita in order to establish Metrolink service. This would require bringing existing track up to passenger standards, adding passing sidings and acquisition of new right-of-way for track between the current eastern terminus of the line located just west of Interstate 5 (I-5) and Metrolink's Antelope Valley line. The new line would also require construction of a bridge over the south fork of the Santa Clara River and an at-grade crossing or a flying junction at San Fernando Road. This line would have the potential to relieve some of the current commuter load on the I-5 corridor between State Route 126 and State Route 14 as well as providing future commute options for housing development in northern Los Angeles County and Ventura County communities in the Santa Clara River Valley.
The roster of the F&W includes two GP35s, two F7s from General Motors Electro-Motive Division and an S6 and RS32 from Alco. The railroad also owns numerous coaches, freight cars, cabooses and excursion cars. The F&W roster also includes an Ex-Duluth and Northeastern Baldwin #14 2-8-0 Consolidation steam locomotive. Also in operation is an 0-4-0 Porter tank engine, the Sespe.
The rail yard is located adjacent to the restored city hall in downtown Fillmore and is part of the revitalized section of the city rebuilt after the extensive damage caused by the 1994 Northridge earthquake that brought down the facades of many nearby businesses. A vintage 1906 80-ton turntable bridge originally installed in Capreol, Ontario, was purchased from the Canadian National Railway by the Santa Clara River Valley Railroad Historical Society (SCRVRHS) and was installed in a newly constructed pit on February 7, 2007. The turntable allows not only turning of locomotives and cars but also access to planned facilities on tracks in the narrow yard area. This area is planned to be the center of a proposed railway heritage park complex that will also feature a roundhouse and a Railroad Interpretive Center Museum.
- Harris, Mike (July 25, 2014). "Railway's eviction is back in force". Ventura County Star.
- Verrier, Richard (July 21, 2010). "His trains have a great Hollywood track record". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 21, 2010.
- Harris, Mike (September 8, 2014). "Fillmore railroad owner tires of legal battle". Ventura County Star.
- Harris, Mike (July 1, 2014). "Fillmore railway sells vintage car to help fund litigation". Ventura County Star.
- Tourist Trains 2005. Kalmbach Publishing Company. 2005. p. 26. 1546-2730.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Fillmore and Western Railway.|
- Official website
- Santa Clara River Valley Historical Society
- 7/26/06 Comments from Paul J. Dyson, President of Rail Passenger Association of California President on expanding Metrolink Service on the Santa Paula line
- Land Use Database. "Fillmore Train Tracks" THE CENTER FOR LAND USE INTERPRETATION. Accessed 8 October 2013