Folks may recall that Disney animator Ward Kimball owned a collection of full sized railroad equipment. He and wife Betty donated that collection to the Southern California Railroad Museum, in Perris, CA, where it is now on display (and under restoration) in the Museum’s Grizzly Flats Barn.
This Sunday sees a special event as the Grizzly Flats volunteers are putting a polish on Ward’s second steam locomotive, the Chloe. The locomotive will be out in daylight for the first time since its move to the Museum from San Gabriel. The event will happen at noon this Sunday, March 26.
The Chloe began life as a locomotive for the Waimanlo Sugar plantation on O’ahu, serving for many years bringing cars of sugar cane from the fields to the mill. Eventually retired as the operation switched to trucks, historian Gerald Best purchased the Poka’a (as it was called at the time) along with two other small locomotives from the plantation. He later sold the locomotive to Ward Kimball, who was in the market for something smaller for his backyard railroad. Ward turned it into a bit of a hot rod with some modifications, and it brought joy for many years at Grizzly Flats.
The Grizzly Flats engine house volunteers completed the installation of new trackwork connecting the Chloe’s display track to the narrow gauge mainline during last weekend’s Iron Horse Steampunk Festival at the Museum. This track project that started last June has now made it possible for Chloe’s project manager Ken Mitchroney and Chloe’s docent Beth Weilenman to move the locomotive out into the Grizzly Flats rail yard using the small diesel shop switcher. Once there, Chloe can be photographed by visitors.
“We will be making a few moves during the day, including giving her a ride on Ward’s turntable that sits next to the engine house. The last time she was photographed outside on any railroad was at Ward’s place in San Gabriel, so It’s very exciting for us and we are hoping this will raise interest – and donations – to get her running again” Mitchroney said.
Chloe is scheduled to move up to Hillcrest Shops in Reedley, Calif., in the coming weeks for maintenance to bring her back to operational condition. This will be the last time for visitors to get photos and take a good look at Chloe before she leaves the property for the rest of 2017. Donations to the C59 Chloe Fund are welcome and can be made through the Southern California Railway Museum at oerm.org.
The roll out will start at noon this Sunday at Engine House Six, the Grizzly Flats building, and continue until the museum closes at 5 p.m. The Southern California Railroad Museum is located at 2201 South A Street, in Perris, CA. Admission to the museum is free!
To Visit the museum – From the West (Los Angeles, Orange County)
Take I-10, Route 60, or Route 91 east to I-215 (about 50 miles from downtown Los Angeles). Take I-215 south to Perris. In Perris, exit at Route 74 West. Follow Route 74 (4th Street) west for 1 mile. Turn left onto A Street and follow it south for 1.5 miles.