On July 17, 1955, The Santa Fe and Disneyland Railroad began operations in Anaheim, California. On that day, the "C. K. Holiday" and the "E. P. Ripley" started transporting passengers around Disneyland Park.
Disneyland's narrow gauge railroad was called the Santa Fe and Disneyland Railroad from 1955 until 1974 (when Santa Fe withdrew its sponsorship).
Currently there are five steam locomotives, with the first four named after former Santa Fe CEOs.
All of the engines are real operating steam locomotives. Currently the locomotives are fueled by biodiesel, blended primarily from used cooking oil and a soy based fuel.
On March 28, 1958, the No. 3, "Fred Gurley" was added to the railroad.
Also in 1958, the Grand Canyon Diorama, painted by Delmer J. Yoakum, was added along the trains' route between Tomorrowland and Main Street. At that time it was the longest diorama in the world, 306 feet long and 34 feet high. "On the Trail", from Frede Grofe's Grand Canyon Suite is piped throughout the train as it enters the diorama.
On July 25, 1959, the fourth train was put into operation, pulled by the "Ernest S. Marsh".
In 1966, the Grand Canyon Diorama was expanded with a prehistoric theme (including Audio-Animatronic dinosaurs) and thus became the "Grand Canyon/Primeval World" diorama.
The "Ward Kimball" went into service on June 25, 2005, as part of the park's 50th anniversary celebration. The new locomotive's headlight features a gold leaf silhouette of Jiminy Cricket, based on a drawing of the character Kimball made shortly before his death.
Ward Kimball was railroad enthusiast and an animator who worked on some of Disney's most famous movies. He was affectionally known as one of Disney's Nine Old Men.
For over 11 months the Southern Pacific Railroad prevented a train from entering San Bernardino from the South. Southern Pacific used legal and physical means to prevent the train from crossing the SP east-west track at the Colton Crossing.
Virgil Earp (a special agent for Southern Pacific and later the first City Marshall of Colton) led the group that prevented California Southern Railroad from heading north to San Bernardino.
On September 13, 1883, after a court order was issued and an "at grade" crossing (called a "frog") was installed, the first train arrived in San Bernardino from National City (just south of San Diego). The train, pulled by Engine No. 4, was operated by the California Southern Railroad, later owned by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway.
Fred T. Perris, a civil engineer and surveyor for the railroad, was at the whistle. (Photograph by H. B. Wesner)
Note: On August 28, 2013, a public celebration was held to dedicate the opening of the new Colton Crossing Rail-to-Rail Grade Separation. After 130 years the east-west Union Pacific Railroad tracks were raised to pass over the north-south BNSF Railroad tracks. This will alleviate congestion at the crossing, which accommodates more that 100 trains each day.
This chair was in the personal box of James Waters, who is pictured at the right. James Waters, along with Herman Brinkmeyer (seen on the balcony of the Opera House), built the San Bernardino Opera House in 1882, four years before Los Angeles had an opera house of its own.
The Opera House featured everything from Italian Grand Operas and Shakespeare's plays, to musicals and magicians, and to vaudeville and silent movies. All of the greats performed in San Bernardino's finest theater, including Lillie Langtry, Al Jolson, Lillian Russell, Harry Houdini, Will Rogers, Sarah Bernhardt, Edwin Booth, the Barrymores and many more.
The Opera House was located on the east side of D Street between 3rd and 4th Streets and was torn down in 1927.
The chair and the painting of James Waters were donated to the San Bernardino Historical and Pioneer Society by Mary Renter, the great-great-granddaughter of James Waters.
Click here for a detailed look at the Opera House.
Click here for the story of Jim Waters, from mountainman to builder of an opera house.