By Nikki Garrett Metzger
(Victor Valley) – It was a big day for train buffs and curious High Desert residents as the historic Santa Fe steam locomotive 3751 made its way through the Victor Valley heading toward Barstow and then on to The Grand Canyon.
There were many photographers along the way and fans were keeping each other updated via social media as the train left Los Angeles early this morning, traveling south into Orange County, then east into San Bernardino before making the climb up through the Cajon Pass and across the High Desert.
A restored 1927 classic steam engine, the Santa Fe No. 3751, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was at LA’s Union Station over the weekend for National Train Day, a day to honor the 143rd anniversary of the U.S.’s first transcontinental railway.
The locomotive, a 4-8-4 steam engine, is pulling 14 fully-restored 1950’s era passenger cars on a 1,300-mile round-trip route from Los Angeles through Northern Arizona on its way to the Grand Canyon.
This trip could be one of the last trips of this kind that the freight railroads will allow on their tracks, according to the tour’s operators. The rail industry is seeing a boom once again and these kinds of mainline fan trips won’t be allowed on the heavily traveled freight routes. Also, liability insurance costs are soaring and that could cause ticket prices to rise substantially.
If you missed your chance to see the train Monday, you have another opportunity this Saturday, May 19th as it is scheduled to stop in Barstow around 2:30pm once again for servicing. With that timetable it should be making its way through the Victor Valley about 30-45 minutes later.
For more information visit the San Bernardino Railroad Historical Society’s (SBRHS) website: http://www.sbrhs.org/