Community Voices

Fullerton Train Museum for the holidays

When it comes to December, there are the usual holiday festivals and Christmas pop-ups. It’s the same thing over and over again. When I found out Santa and his elves were visiting the Fullerton Train Museum on Saturday, December 17th, from 9 am to noon, this was interesting and unique among all the other events.
The train is dressed festively during the holiday season. The historic train cars and cabooses with period decor are on display on the first and third Saturdays of every month.
What a spectacular entrance. Think of Polar Express; we have the Fullerton Express. When I stepped on the train, I stepped back in time. It’s tight quarters. If you’re claustrophobic, this might not be the most enjoyable experience.
As you walk through, there are different stations with guides to give you information about different parts of the train. They give the kids treats and an opportunity to take photos with Santa. 
I like the lunch counter with the different price points. It’s interesting what kind of foods they served on the train. The chairs are pretty comfortable. I saw ash trays next to the chairs. I would not like the smell of smoke. The sleeping quarters are tiny and look uncomfortable. It does look efficient and functional, although I don’t know how people could travel like this.
The visitors get to walk through these historic railcars:
  •      UP 5001 Cafe car was delivered to Union Pacific in December 1949.
  •      UP 6101 dormitory car/bar car was built in 1949.
  •      Palm Leaf sleeper car was delivered to Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway in July 1951.
  •      SP Bay window caboose was built in  May 1961.
  •      UP War Baby or Tall Cupola Caboose was built  in December 1941.
  •      SF Cupola Way Car was built in March 1929, and all are maintained in their “in service” condition.
The current collection consists of three historically significant preserved cabooses, representing the three transcontinental railroads that served Southern California from the roaring twenties through 1989. Fully restored, you can relive the experience of rail travel from the good old days. You can watch members restore antique railroad equipment to operating condition.
People are fascinated by fast-moving objects. They like to look at trains, ride them, and even record them. Transportation gets people excited because they’re going somewhere. I’m just glad I got to tour it because, back in the day, as an Asian woman, I couldn’t be a passenger because of my race.
Thank you to all the immigrants who built the railroad—the Chinese, Irish, and Mormon workers. The western portion, about 90% of the backbreaking work was done by Chinese immigrants. Thank you especially to the Chinese, because they didn’t get the credit. They did what everyone else didn’t want to do.