photography 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 Arcadia 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.