photography by Celine Dehban

Rob Shatsnider, in his 10th year as a volunteer, shows the inside of the Union Pacific No. 6915 to Rena Smith and Marilyn Bakker and lets them blow the horn. The engine is a DDA40X Centennial locomotive, the largest diesel locomotive constructed. Only 47 were built and the one at RailGiants is one of 14 remaining today. / photo by Celine Dehban

Rob Shatsnider, in his 10th year as a volunteer, shows the inside of the Union Pacific No. 6915 to Rena Smith and Marilyn Bakker and lets them blow the horn. The engine is a DDA40X Centennial locomotive, the largest diesel locomotive constructed. Only 47 were built and the one at RailGiants is one of 14 remaining today. / photo by Celine Dehban

There is a historic gem that has been part of Fairplex since 1969. People from around the area and beyond enter through Gate 17 of the Fairplex grounds to see a collection of giant, steam-powered, steel leviathans.

The RailGiants Train Museum has four mainline locomotives on display and once housed the Union Pacific “Big Boy” 4014, arguably the most famous train at the museum. Back in its heyday, the “Big Boy” was used to carry heavy freight trains in Wyoming. It moved back to Wyoming in January of 2014. The “Big Boy” class is the heaviest set of trains ever built, weighing 600 tons and can reach speeds up to 70 mph.

The Santa Fe Station built in Arcardia in 1887 is now a part of the museum, moved to the Fairplex in 1969. The museum also is home to the Santa Fe Horse Express Car, which was used in the filming of “Seabiscuit.” The car was built in 1930 and was used to transport horses to and from the race track at the Los Angeles County Fair. The museum also exhibits three smaller trains, a passenger car and a caboose.

The display of steam locomotives and other aspects of railroad history can be seen throughout the Fair and during regular monthly hours and special events, which can be found at www.railgiants.org/event-schedule.htm.

Admission is free.

Dave Atherton from Arizona was at Pomona Fairplex for the RV show but dropped into the museum during his free time. The Fruit Growers Supply No. 3 locomotive was the Southern California Chapter’s first donation. It was given to the museum by Sunkist Growers Inc. in 1954. / photo by Celine Dehban

Dave Atherton from Arizona was at Pomona Fairplex for the RV show but dropped into the museum during his free time. The Fruit Growers Supply No. 3 locomotive was the Southern California Chapter’s first donation. It was given to the museum by Sunkist Growers Inc. in 1954. / photo by Celine Dehban

Rob Shatsnider gives a full tour of each train to Marilyn Bakker, Rena Smith, and Don and Linda Dierkling. Bakker and Smith are from Central California and the Dierklings, who are touring the country full time in their RV, hail from Livingston, Texas. The Railway and Locomotive Historical Society was founded in 1921 as a group dedicating itself to the world of trains and railroads. Railroad historians formed the local California chapter on June 5, 1953. / photo by Celine Dehban

Rob Shatsnider gives a full tour of each train to Marilyn Bakker, Rena Smith, and Don and Linda Dierkling. Bakker and Smith are from Central California and the Dierklings, who are touring the country full time in their RV, hail from Livingston, Texas. The Railway and Locomotive Historical Society was founded in 1921 as a group dedicating itself to the world of trains and railroads. Railroad historians formed the local California chapter on June 5, 1953. / photo by Celine Dehban