Sunday, October 13, 2013

San Luis Obispo Railroad Museum Dedication -- October 13, 2013

We visited beautiful San Luis Obispo for the dedication of the San Luis Obispo Railroad Museum and the 2013 Central Coast Railroad Festival.  I've been trying to remember, but I think this is the first time I was ever present for the opening of a museum.  We got off work early on Friday and had a nice drive down to San Luis Obispo.  We checked in at the Madonna Inn and found it as interesting as we had always heard.

Saturday we went to the museum, in the former Southern Pacific freight house.  Parking was tight.  Volunteers were giving rides on two speeders on the track by the museum.  There was a crowd on the platform, where vendors were selling books and photos.  We went in through the small bookstore.  The main part of the museum was a large room with exhibits on the local railroads, Southern Pacific/Union Pacific, the Pacific Coast Railroad and the Santa Maria Valley Railroad.  They had a mining car from a cinnabar mine south of San Luis Obispo.  There was a car and a section of track from an temporary agricultural railroad.  There was a freight agent's desk with an official SP spittoon.  They had lanterns and schedules and other railroad paraphernalia.  Upstairs in the back, they had model railroad layouts with room for many more to come.

I told several volunteers they had a wonderful museum.  I hope to visit again.

The dedication at 11:30 had a speech by Brad Larose, president of the museum, who talked about the 23 year process that led to the opening.  Lisa Stark, Union Pacific Director of Public Affairs called the museum founders the most organized and professional group she had worked with.  UP declared San Luis Obispo an official Train Town USA.  Jan Marx, Mayor of San Luis Obispo, said that the town council had worked with the museum people for many years.  She said the retirement home billboard out front will come down and be replaced by a sign for the museum.  She issued a proclamation for the opening day, and then joined a group cutting the ribbon.

Then we went and looked at a locomotive that UP sent for the occasion, an SD 9043 MAC.  It was nice to see it up close.

We walked to the train station, then drove to the public library, where an HO narrow gauge group had a display. 

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