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All aboard the Rail Giants express

Gary Fazekas of Salinas, Calif., examines an old Union Pacific locomotive with Jesse Tomory, the chief docent at the Rail Giants Train Museum, last Saturday at the Fairplex. The Rail Giants Train Museum houses a numerous retired locomotives, some of which house museums and train related antiques inside. The trains are restored by donations from the public. / photo by Daniel Hargis

Gary Fazekas of Salinas, Calif., examines an old Union Pacific locomotive with Jesse Tomory, the chief docent at the Rail Giants Train Museum, last Saturday at the Fairplex. The Rail Giants Train Museum houses a numerous retired locomotives, some of which house museums and train related antiques inside. The trains are restored by donations from the public. / photo by Daniel Hargis

Gabriela Krupa
Staff Writer

Visitors can a trip back in time and experience preserved trains at the Rail Giants Train Museum, in the Pomona Fairplex, every second weekend of the month from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“Our main audience is a 50/50 split between older and younger people,” said Jesse Tomory, a docent coordinator for Rail Giants.

The museum features and maintains authentic railroad locomotives and other documents that display the American railroad history.

The museum is a non-profit organization supported by donations and grants.

The Arcadia Santa Fe train station was built in 1887, but was moved to the Fairplex and restored. It now acts as the front exhibit for the museum.

On display are numerous models of trains that visitors can explore, hands-on.

“We make sure we have someone present inside the trains when visitors come, safety is very important,” Tomory said. “We have a lot of people come through, sometimes we get 300 to 400 people at a time.”

Steve McFerguson, the secretary of the Rail Giants Train Museum, explained the museum was able to purchase two cabooses from different periods in order to show their development.

The museum used to have the locomotive Big Boy on display, which was the largest steam locomotive built exclusively for the Union Pacific Railroad.

Also included on site is a Nickel Plate Railroad Business Car No. 6, a for revenue car that was usually reserved for upper-class travelers.

In 1951, Nickel Plate Railroad remodeled the original lounge into a 12 passenger business car and installed an air conditioner.

“It is really impressive that this business cart has been preserved this well because I see a lot that are in bad shape at various museums,” said Kevin Chapman, a visitor from San Diego.

The business car is a true blast to the past due to its preservation that allows visitors to immersed themselves into that period of America’s history.

“I try to look at one train at a time,” Chapman said.

“I am a big steamboat and train fan, and steam locomotives are my favorite types of train. “

The museum will be open on May 10, and Rail Giants events are shared online at railgiants.org.

Gabriela Krupa can be reached at gabriela.krupa@laverne.edu.

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