The legendary Fillmore & Western Railway Company, located about 30 minutes from Ventura on Highway 126 in the quaint historic town of Fillmore, is home to vintage passenger and dining cars that date back as far as 1914. It’s also home to a 1913 fully restored and operating No. 14 Baldwin steam engine.
“Fillmore & Western is known as the home of the movie trains,” said Josh Carsman, marketing director and webmaster.
The trains have been used in film and television productions such as Disney’s Lone Ranger, Water for Elephants, Sea Biscuit, The X-Files, Westworld, American Horror Story and many more.
“They welcome all production companies to visit and contract with them to film either on-site or on location throughout the United States,” said Carsman, adding that the company also has a wide variety of train-related props for use on sets.
In addition, Fillmore & Western also offers a variety of unique recreational opportunities.
“Another amazing part of this railroad is the opportunity to ride the movie trains,” Carsman noted. “All year long they offer train tours such as weekend scenic adventures, murder mystery comedy lunch and dinner trains, holiday trains, special event trains, steam train rides, school trains and privately chartered group trains.”
New this summer is an adults-only evening excursion called Hot August Nights.Guests enjoy a 2½- to 3-hour evening train ride through the Heritage Valley while tasting local craft beers or wine. Tickets are $35 per person, which includes three free tastings. Beer, wine and appetizers can also be purchased onboard, with appetizers ranging from $10 to $15, tastings for $2, beer for $7 per glass and wine from $6 to $8 per glass. Hot August Nights will be offered on Aug. 10 and 24 at 7 p.m.; and Aug. 11 and 25 at 6:30 p.m.
“This is all about enjoying an evening on a slow-moving vintage train while wine tasting with Santa Clarita’s Reyes Winery and beer tasting with Wolf Creek Brewery,” Carsman said. “Also onboard will be a blues band where passengers can sit, mingle and dance the night away on beautifully lit open-air flat cars. The goal is, create something new and fun for us big kids.”
In other offerings, an inaugural celebration, Return to Santa Paula, is scheduled for Sept. 1-2. The event will include one-hour steam train rides departing from the Historic 1887 Southern Pacific Santa Paula Depot aboard a 1913 2-8-0 Consolidation steam engine built by Baldwin Locomotive Works for the Duluth & Northeastern Railroad. Fillmore & Western purchased the locomotive in 1999 and fully restored it for operation.
These hour-long train rides depart at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m. on both days from the Santa Paula Depot at 200 N. 10th St. While in Santa Paula, guests can also visit the Agricultural Museum located across from the depot, as well as the Jeanette Cole Art Center and the California Oil Museum.
Tickets are $26 for one adult or one adult with a child under age 2; and $16 for youths age 2 up to age 12. Snacks, beer and wine are available for purchase on the train.
“Special thanks goes out to the Santa Paula Chamber of Commerce for allowing use of their historic depot ticket office,” Carsman said.
“Fillmore & Western strongly supports partnering with neighboring cities when possible and thanks all those who support preserving the railroad for years to come,” Carsman added. “With near completion of the bridge along Highway 126, they are very excited to once again run trains to Santa Paula.”
The ultimate goal of Fillmore & Western Railway is the continued preservation of the nation’s railroading history, while bringing communities, families and friends together for an adventure on the rails, said Nicholas Martinez, who has been with the railroad for four years as the onboard services assistant manager.
“The importance of the railroad to our community is allowing people to experience a part of our nation’s history, where you’re able to show a slow and simpler time while enjoying scenic views all around,” Martinez said. “With so much technology in today’s world, it’s a fun way to experience railroading in its heyday.”
The Fillmore & Western Railway Company is located at 364 Main St., Fillmore. For a full schedule of activities, tickets and more information, call 805-524-2546 or visit www.fwry.com.