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  1. #1

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    SF&D RR Combine to be Acquired!

    Here's some news you may find interesting:

    The Carolwood Foundation, which is the non-profit arm of the Carolwood Pacific Historical Society, has the opportunity to obtain the very first car from the Santa Fe & Disneyland Railroad's first passenger train, known formally as "Retlaw 1."

    As you may recall, there were originally two trains on the SF&D RR. One was a "freight train" with cattle cars and a caboose, and was generally pulled by the C.K. Holliday (It still exists today, in the guise of "Holiday Red" with red awnings and trim, and the caboose still brings up the rear).

    The other train was made up of enclosed wooden passenger cars based on cars from the 1880s. After the dioramas went in, the cars were hardly used. Most of the train was traded away in order to (eventually) get the Ward Kimball locomotive; four of the original six cars ended up in San Luis Obispo on a private railroad. One car was transformed into the Lilly Belle. But one car hasn't been seen by the public in decades: The very first car, called a "combine."

    A combine, as the name suggests, is a car with a combination of baggage area and a section with passenger seating. It was the first car after the locomotive, and bore the number 101 (The Lilly Belle still bears her original number, 106).


    This 1956 View shows the combine to good advantage. The curved lettering near the front says "Wells Fargo & Co. Express." Photo courtesy Davelandweb.com


    The SF&D combine has been in storage in a warehouse in Ventura, where it's been nearly completely restored.

    This car was said to be Walt Disney's favorite car, because it reminded him of his days when he rode the rails as a news butcher on the Missouri Pacific Railroad, hawking snacks and newspapers to weary commuters. When he wasn't selling to the passengers, he spent his time in a combine similar to the Disney version. Sometimes, he'd head out the front door of the car, climb the tender ladder, clamber over the coal and shimmy down into the engine cab of the speeding locomotive, where he bribed the engine crew with treats in exchange for them teaching Walt about how the engine operated.

    Saturday, July 18 will begin the kickoff for fundraising activities at the Disney Barn (also the 10th anniversary of the Disney Barn's placement at Griffith Park). Much money will need to be raised in order to acquire and preserve the car, and the Walt Disney Family Foundation is involved as well. But the really great thing is that Carolwood desires that the car be displayed publicly!

    This is truly a worthwhile cause, and I am looking forward to the day when we might be able to view the car up close and in person. A true piece of Disneyland history preserved.

  2. #2

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    Re: SF&D RR Combine to be Acquired!

    That will be great, being able to have ALL of the Retlaw cars restored (Lilly Belle is a different story). I'd like to see the inside, since shots of the inside are so rare.

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    Re: SF&D RR Combine to be Acquired!

    Quote Originally Posted by Nautilus View Post
    That will be great, being able to have ALL of the Retlaw cars restored (Lilly Belle is a different story). I'd like to see the inside, since shots of the inside are so rare.
    Tim LaGaley, who restored the Lilly Belle, actually restored this car first--which is why he had some first-hand knowledge of the car's construction when he got the Lilly Belle contract.

    Inside the baggage area is pretty bare. It's got horizontal paneling all around, and is painted apple green. Right now, it's full of debris, books, a couple (possibly original) steamer trunks, and what appear to be the wooden side railings used when the baggage doors were opened. But really it's quite plain. The passenger section doesn't look any different than the other retlaw cars.

  4. #4

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    Re: SF&D RR Combine to be Acquired!

    I am very excited about this. Hopefully Carolwood will be able to house this antique out of the elements so it will be both preserved and enjoyed by the public.

    I have yet to step foot in the barn. The few times I have been up there it was not on a day when it was open to the public. At some point I really need to get down there to do that.
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  5. #5

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    Re: SF&D RR Combine to be Acquired!

    Why doesnt Disneyland just aquire the car and then make it into the WheelChair VIP car?

    they could bring the wheel chairs in from the baggage section and then into the passenger section.
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    Re: SF&D RR Combine to be Acquired!

    Quote Originally Posted by Alpoe001 View Post
    Why doesnt Disneyland just aquire the car and then make it into the WheelChair VIP car?

    they could bring the wheel chairs in from the baggage section and then into the passenger section.
    I'm sure some of the guys in the roundhouse would love to get it back, but the truth is, Disney has no interest in it. It sat in the back of the roundhouse for over 20 years before it was traded away with the other four original cars.

    I'm really happy to see that Carolwood is involved. Their mandate has always been to preserve Walt Disney's Railroad legacy, and this project is a perfect example. Unfortunately, if Carolwood hadn't become involved, the car might never see the light of day again, sitting hidden away in its warehouse.

    Unlike the four Fort Wilderness locomotives that were preserved but remain in private hands, I'm delighted that this car will one day be available to the public.

  7. #7

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    Re: SF&D RR Combine to be Acquired!

    Bill Barbe, of the Carolwood Foundation, has some more info:

    We hope to have a page on the Carolwood Web Site soon with all the info about the combine, but here is a taste.

    We plan a pin (at least one), probably a hat and t-shirt. And yes, we would like to do a model. The Bachman On30 would be a great start and we will be looking into that. I would like to do a G scale also.
    We have some offers for some great limited edition art work that we will offer as well.

    We need to raise about $100,000.00. We have been promised $20,000.00 from one organization to get us started, but we have a long way to go. I will post more info on how you can donate and we plan a bunch of "gifts" based on how much you give. If someone wants to give us the remaining $80,000.00 (or anything close to it), I will let you spend the weekend in the car,,, .
    Seriously, while we hope the greater community of fans will help us out, if anyone knows any grants or coporate donors out there, please e-mail me at [email protected]

  8. #8

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    Re: SF&D RR Combine to be Acquired!

    This is great news Steve. I can't think of a better home for #101 than next to Walt's barn (except for my backyard of course ). Too bad Disney has no interest in the car. It would look great bringing up the tail end of Holiday Green or Blue, just like a mixed train of old.
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  9. #9

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    Re: SF&D RR Combine to be Acquired!

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve DeGaetano View Post
    I'm sure some of the guys in the roundhouse would love to get it back, but the truth is, Disney has no interest in it. It sat in the back of the roundhouse for over 20 years before it was traded away with the other four original cars.

    I'm really happy to see that Carolwood is involved. Their mandate has always been to preserve Walt Disney's Railroad legacy, and this project is a perfect example. Unfortunately, if Carolwood hadn't become involved, the car might never see the light of day again, sitting hidden away in its warehouse.

    Unlike the four Fort Wilderness locomotives that were preserved but remain in private hands, I'm delighted that this car will one day be available to the public.
    Thats just sad that they just let them sit there and gather dust! I would think that have done something worth wild with them like the "Lily Belle"
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  10. #10

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    Re: SF&D RR Combine to be Acquired!

    When I was a kid, there was one train that had the "straight" cars, but it only ran on the most crowded days. I never minded it because you could see both sides of the track and it felt a lot more like a historic train ride. It would add a lot to mix the cars so people could have a choice.
    it's a sale of candy and a sale of plush, it's a sale of toys and disney stuff
    there's so much that we sell, that it's time we tell, it's a plush plush sale!

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