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Funding sought for new Railroad Heritage Park

 

Last updated 9/24/2017 at Noon

This caboose, currently in Barstow, will be relocated to the intersection of Main Avenue and Elder Street in downtown Fallbrook and serve as the showpiece for the new Railroad Heritage Park.

The Fallbrook Village Association (FVA) is spearheading a fundraising campaign for the development of a new small park that will celebrate Fallbrook's railroad history.

Railroad Heritage Park will be located at the intersection of Main Avenue and Elder Street and feature a Santa Fe caboose, a small waiting station, educational materials detailing Fallbrook's railroad history, benches for visitors, and a loading platform that will serve as a performance area.

"The caboose that we're getting is the same one that ran through Fallbrook," said Jerri Patchett of the FVA. "It was part of The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway which used to run through Fallbrook."

The caboose, which is in Barstow, cost $25,000. Patchett said it will cost much more than that to get the caboose in place.

"We need $65,000," said Patchett. "It's $25,000 for the caboose, $19,000 to get it from Barstow to Fallbrook, and the rest will be spent on preparing the area, making sure the space is engineered to hold it. It's going to sit on tracks so we have to install the tracks and ballast."

Patchett said the caboose will be delivered on two flatbed trucks, with one carrying the ultra-heavy wheels (or trucks) and the other the body of the caboose.

Jason Springston of the FVA has started a KickStarter campaign in an effort to raise $20,000 in 60 days to put toward the caboose project. To donate visit: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/202323489/fallbrook-railroad-heritage-park.

FVA would like to raise a total of $165,000 for the park project as other expenses will include the waiting station, museum kiosk, benches, lighting and landscaping. Patchett said the park will be both attractive and educational.

"Our railroad history is so rich and so important, and the inside of the little waiting station is going to have all of our history on the walls," said Patchett. "It's going to be a real nice historical area for downtown."

FVA has also set up a Patreon campaign – https://www.patreon.com/fallbrookrailroadpark – to collect funds for the development and long-term maintenance of the park.

People can also donate the old-fashioned way – by writing a check. Make checks payable to Fallbrook Village Assn., a 501(c)(3) non-profit, and mail to: FVA, P.O. Box 2438, Fallbrook, CA 92088. Donors giving over $500 will be recognized at the park.

The information below is courtesy of the Fallbrook Historical Society.

Fallbrook's Railroad History

The town of Fall Brook was originally settled by Vital and Anthony Reche in 1869 including the area that is now Live Oak Park. In 1882 the California Southern Railroad was constructed from National City up the coast and traveled inland along the Santa Margarita River to Temecula and beyond. Proximity to the railroad caused many settlers to move westerly to the town of West Fallbrook (now downtown Fallbrook).

A series of floods rendered a portion of the Santa Margarita River route unsustainable. In 1916 the railroad, now under the ownership of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Rail Road Company, was rerouted to higher ground on Rancho Santa Margarita (Camp Pendleton) and into the town of Fallbrook, crossing Main Avenue in route to Fallbrook Station.

Hundreds of thousands of pounds of citrus fruit and avocados grown in Fallbrook's mineral-rich soil shipped to points across the U.S. The Fallbrook rail line also served an important mission of transporting munitions from the Naval Weapon Station across Camp Pendleton to the coast during World War II, and other major conflicts.

According to the Caltrans 1982 State Rail Plan Report, “Fallbrook Junction” was officially abandoned in June of 1981. The Fallbrook Train Station was torn down. The current Sheriff’s Station stands in its place. Two storage warehouses that stood next to the Fallbrook Train Station remain and are in use today at the Fallbrook School of the Arts on Alvarado Street. There are still many “old timers” in Fallbrook who love to recount their memories of the exciting days of trains going through Fallbrook.

 

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