It’s December 1991 and former AT&SF steam locomotive #3751 has returned to the Santa Fe mainline. She’s heading up a 4-day maiden excursion after years of restoration effort. Her journey is going to take her from Los Angeles to Bakersfield via Cajon and Tehachapi Passes and Pentrex is with her to capture the thrill of big steam on the rails!
The San Bernardino Railroad Historical Society had purchased the Baldwin-built 3751 in order to restore and operate the oldest surviving example of Santa Fe’s 4-8-4 fleet. So before we begin our California Limited adventure, we’ll take you back to 1986 to show you the move from the 3751’s resting place at Viaduct Park in San Bernardino to the California Steel Industries site in Fontana where SBRRHS volunteers performed the majority of the restoration. Following that historic move, we’ll fast forward to the successful break-in runs of August 1991 and show what countless man-hours and dedication had achieved.
The December 27 maiden voyage of this restored locomotive was a fabulous success. The engine powered a recreation of the California Limited passenger train, celebrating the 99th anniversary of the original train’s debut. Leading the excursion from Los Angeles to Bakersfield and back via the stiff grades of both Cajon and Tehachapi Passes, the 3751 performed flawlessly. Two FP-45 diesel locomotives, #97 and #95, in dazzling Warbonnet paint scheme, were coupled behind the steam engine as helpers. They were a beautiful sight but it was the 3751 that thrilled the spectators lining the route. Pentrex brings you trackside to experience all the excitement of this momentous event. You’re bound to enjoy every minute!