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August 27, 2013 > Washington Township Railroad Fair

Washington Township Railroad Fair

By Mauricio Segura
Photos By Courtesy of East Bay Regional Park District

Since 1804 when Richard Trevithick built the first locomotive steam engine, the magical essence of trains has been alive and unfailing. Even with the arrival of the Jet Age, trains have continued to be a strong contender of passenger transport. And with further developments to make train travel faster and more efficient, it is apparent that they will continue to carry their luster into the future.

"America could not have become America without the railroad. It was such an integral part of its development. In fact, the modern world of today owes a lot of its advancements to the railroad," states Jed Macklemore, a retired conductor for the Southern Pacific Railroad. "The Industrial Age could not have prospered the way it did, or even gotten off the ground, as it relied heavily on train transport of needed materials. People have forgotten the impact the railroad has had. The entire reason so many people even live on the West Coast is due to trains. Had there been no trains, we might have some major west coast cities by now, but I'm willing to bet there would also be a lot of empty land in between. No Bakersfield, no Fresno, Las Vegas would still be a watering hole between Los Angeles and Phoenix! No doubt about it, we would be living in a completely different world without the railroad."

The allure of the railroad is self-evident. Countless books and films have featured trains as one of the key elements in the storyline. While air travel is fun and exciting, rail travel has always been mysterious and romantic. Who doesn't dream of taking a trip through the Swiss Alps during a light afternoon snow, having dinner aboard the majestic Orient Express, or zipping past Mount Fuji on a Japanese bullet train? In the Bay Area alone there are 23 railroads (not counting commuter lines) in operation. It doesn't matter if you're five or 105 years old, if you come across a park with a train ride, it's pretty hard to resist a leisurely trip on the rails.

On Labor Day weekend, the SPCRR and Ardenwood Historic Farm will celebrate the wonderful world of railroads with the13th annual "Washington Township Railroad Fair." Not only will you learn about local railroad history, but visitors can see, touch, and ride historic examples of railroad excellence like the 1890 Tank Porter Engine, "Ann Marie." Try your skill at operating handcars, see some fine examples of model railroads, participate in rail car restoration, and speak to experts about life on the rails, all the while enjoying the music of Diasporta Swamp Boys, The East Bay Stompers, and the Apple Butter Brothers.

Aside from the trains, Ardenwood Farm will also host Patterson House tours, a petting zoo, country kitchen, and the organic farm. Learn the basics of blacksmithing, check out the farm equipment, or simply have a fun family picnic with Food by Dino's at the cafe.

Take a step back in time this Labor Day weekend and immerse your senses in the sights and sounds of the transportation machine that shaped the world. A fun time will be had by all, don't miss it!

Washington Township Railroad Fair
Saturday, Aug 31 - Monday, Sept 2
10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Ardenwood Historic Farm
34600 Ardenwood Blvd., Fremont
(510) 796-0663
Tickets: $10 adults, $6 seniors (62+), $5 children (4-17), under three years free
Free Parking

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