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SBRHS Press Releases

The Latest News...Hot Off The Firebox

For immediate release / August 30, 2022
Alex Gillman
(559) 639-9132


Fullerton, CA – The San Bernardino Railroad Historical Society’s (SBRHS) restored, 1927-built steam locomotive, Santa Fe 3751, will return to operation for the first time since 2017 as it travels from its home base in Los Angeles, Calif. to Fullerton, Calif., to participate in Amtrak’s Track Safety Community Event, taking place on Saturday, September 24 and Sunday, September 25, 2022, at the Fullerton Transportation Center.
Open to the public between the hours of 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday the 24th and 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Sunday the 25th, the Track Safety Community Event, hosted by Amtrak, is being presented in partnership with Operation Lifesaver (OLI) during “Rail Safety Week” as OLI celebrates the organization’s 50th Anniversary. The free rail safety event will offer fun activities for the entire family ranging from the chance to meet railroad workers, tour train equipment and learn important railroad safety tips.
Train equipment on display at the Fullerton Transportation Center during this event will include:
  • Steam Locomotive - Santa Fe 3751
  • Pacific Surfliner Cab Car
  • Amtrak Superliner Coach
  • Operation Lifesaver Locomotive
  • Positive Train Control Expertise
  • Zero Emission Locomotive Technology Expertise
The operation of steam locomotive Santa Fe 3751 to Fullerton will be the first time the 95-year- old engine has operated following its mandated Federal Railroad Administration 1,472 service day inspection that began in early 2018. Details regarding display train equipment movements to and from Fullerton are still being finalized and may take place at any given time so as not to interfere with normally scheduled freight and passenger train movements. For the latest information, visit our website at or follow us on social media: @SantaFe3751 on Facebook and Instagram.
The San Bernardino Railroad Historical Society (SBRHS) was founded in 1981 with the vision to promote the historical and social significance of railroads in the southwest through the operation and display of steam locomotive 3751. Following an extensive restoration of the locomotive between 1986 and 1991, the SBRHS has operated 3751 as one of the premier, mainline operating steam locomotives in the United States. In 2021, the society celebrated 30 years of operating 3751 and is on track for another 30 years and beyond of utilizing the locomotive as a highly engaging public relations and educational tool to communicate railroading history, railroad’s importance in today’s modern infrastructure, and overall railroad safety.
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Emery Rail Heritage Trust Awards SBRHS $20,000
LOS ANGELES – The San Bernardino Railroad Historical Society (SBRHS) is pleased to announce that it has been selected to receive a $20,000 grant from the John H. Emery Rail Heritage Trust to go toward the restoration of two new support railcars, the ex-ATSF 1636 “Pine Lodge” and ex-ATSF 1639 “Pine Peak.”
The railcars, which now carry the reporting marks of SBRX 2505 and 2535 respectively, were acquired by the SBRHS in late 2019 from an Amtrak equipment auction. Returning them to service will significantly increase the Santa Fe 3751 steam crew’s ability to carry important tools and supplies used during the future operations of the locomotive and provide SBRHS Supporters and crew the ability to travel with the engine during public excursions.
“The John Emery Rail Heritage Trust is extremely proud to be able to work with groups like the San Bernardino Railroad Historical Society to ensure their continued operation to be enjoyed today and for generations to come,” said Jim Fetchero, of the Emery Trust.
Despite the current COVID-19 Pandemic, the SBRHS anticipates the two railcars and the society’s newly acquired baggage car, ex-ATSF 3656 (SBRX 1161), will receive their final inspections by Amtrak and CSX by the end of April. Following this, the cars will begin their journey west and will be tracked by a GPS device so updates of their journey can be shared with supporters, fans and friends.
“We are extremely grateful for being selected for a grant of this magnitude,” said Alex Gillman, Vice President of the SBRHS. “The funds the Emery Trust has provided will greatly assist our society in a number of renovations and upgrades needed to return these railcars to service to travel with the locomotive.”
Upon the completion of 3751’s current 15-year rebuild, the crew will immediately shift its focus to the restoration of these three cars. Significant purchases of materials of things like generators, the service/repair of HVAC systems, interior reconstruction, paint, upholstery and repairs to the cars stainless steel exteriors are just some of the tasks that lie ahead.
The John H. Emery Rail Heritage Trust was created by John Emery, a native of Chicago, and a lover of the classic passenger trains of America. The Trust was founded as a way to support Mr. Emery’s interests in the passenger trains of the 1920’s though the 1950’s. The Trust operates as a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) foundation.
The SBRHS would like to thank The John H. Emery Rail Heritage Trust for their support of our society and its ongoing mission to engage in the acquisition, preservation, conservation, restoration, public exhibition, operation, documentation and interpretation of Santa Fe Railroad history, artifacts and equipment.
To learn more about the Emery Trust and to view a full list of grants given for 2020, visit


Spring 2020 Announcement
LOS ANGELES – As new developments regarding the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak continue to affect our daily lives, the San Bernardino Railroad Historical Society (SBRHS) would like to provide a number of updates to our Supporters, fans and friends.
In compliance with California Governor Gavin Newsom’s Executive Order N-33- 20 issued on March 19, 2020, ordering all residents in the state to stay at home unless employed by a recognized, essential business as part of the state’s critical infrastructure – all work on Santa Fe 3751 has been postponed until further notice.
This decision was exceedingly hard to make, but is one done both in compliance of the mentioned order and out of an abundance of caution for the members of our steam crew. During this time we, as a nation, should all remember that this health crises will end, and when it does, our crew will be more than ready pick up where they left off and complete the final stretch of work to return 3751 to steam. With your support, we still anticipate to be steaming this year.
While physical, group work on the locomotive here in California is temporarily suspended, we are still exceeding hopeful that our three new support railcars will receive and pass their final inspection at Beech Grove, Indiana, in the coming month. During this time, the previously mentioned GPS tracker will be installed on one of the cars, which will allow our staff to provide our Supporters, fans and friends regular updates on the cars movements as they travel to Southern California. Upon their arrival, the cars will be stored in a secured location with work projected to begin on readying them to travel with 3751 after the locomotive is returned to operation.
In addition to news about SBRHS rolling stock, our previous support railcar, the SBRX 1517, is being prepared for its final inspection prior to moving to its new home at the Fillmore & Western Railway. We anticipate this inspection on the car
to be completed by the end of April, at which time scheduling for the car’s movement via the BNSF Railway and Union Pacific Railroad will begin in earnest. More information regarding the SBRX 1517’s donation to the Fillmore & Western Railway can be found in the press release below.
As many of us continue to stay at home, practicing social distancing, please know the SBRHS Board of Directors, Managers and steam crew are all actively working on continuing the business of our organization. Even at this time of so much uncertainty, rest assured, we are actively working on outings for the locomotive. We are also working to craft our next Supporter-only publications like the Second Section and The Crew Car newsletters, develop and order new merchandise items to be unveiled for sale on our website in the coming months, and continue crafting other content to share across our website and social media platforms for your enjoyment.
While this has been a trying time for our organization, we cannot go without thanking our Supporters for their continued generosity and support of our mission. We are as excited to see 3751 return to steam as you are, and we could not achieve this goal without your help.
We invite you to visit our new website and reach out to our staff at any time via the “Contact Us” webpage, Facebook or Instagram social media accounts.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 16, 2020
SBRHS Announces Donation of SBRX 1517
To Fillmore & Western Railway
LOS ANGELES - The San Bernardino Railroad Historical Society (SBRHS) is pleased to announce that the Fillmore & Western Railway (FWRY) will be the recipient of our previous 3751 support car, the SBRX 1517 or "1517." 
In 2015, the SBRHS initiated a Capital Campaign to raise the funds for the restoration of a crew car in support of future 3751 operations. Work began in earnest on the chosen railcar, an ex-Seaboard Air Line Railway baggage-dormitory-coach, numbered 1517. As the car was readied for its movement to a more accessible location, generous donations from SBRHS supporters helped our society raise almost $59,000 to help fund the restoration of a support railcar(s).
Continuing 3751 operations and other unexpected difficulties, however, extended the timeframe to accomplish this work. By the time the 1517 was moved, the locomotive's 15-year boiler inspection was about to begin. The need for all hands to work on the locomotive temporarily suspended any support railcar related work.
As the boiler inspection continued into 2019, the SBRHS was made aware of an upcoming Amtrak equipment auction. Buried in the lists of equipment that would be available to place bids on, the SBRHS discovered many ex-Santa Fe Railway (ATSF) cars that were in exceptional condition. Interested in the potential benefits these railcars might have if acquired compared to the scope of work still needed to restore the 1517 to active service, the SBRHS Board of Directors convened to discuss the matter.
Following an extensive amount of research on the available railcars by our steam crew and third-party railcar inspections, it was decided in the best interest of the society to attempt to acquire two ex-ATSF dormitory cars and one ATSF baggage car. Additional support for this decision came following an updated projection of the cost to fully restore the 1517, which revealed it would cost upwards of $150,000 to return the car to active service. This massive expenditure, compiled with the railcar's east coast heritage not aligned with the mission of the SBRHS, led to the society's decision to move forward with attempting to acquire the mentioned trio of new railcars.
October of 2019, we announced in our quarterly newsletter, Second Section, that the SBRHS was successful in the acquisition of the mentioned railcars at a extremely low cost of $4,000 (more information can be found on them by clicking HERE). With the successful acquisition of these cars, active requests began immediately to any railroad preservation groups that might be interested in adding the 1517 to their collection/operations. After months of conversations with numerous groups regarding their interest and proposed uses of the 1517, the FWRY was the first group to confirm their willingness to accept the railcar. Since late 2019, both the SBRHS and FWRY have been actively working to prepare the 1517 for its upcoming shipment from a secured location in Anaheim to the FWRY. 
This positioning move of the 1517, which is expected to take place in the coming months (March - April), will find the 1517 traveling over both BNSF Railway and Union Pacific Railroad trackage. The railcar will pass through Southern California locations such as Commerce, Hobart, Van Nuys, Oxnard and Ventura prior to being interchanged with the FWRY at Santa Paula. From Santa Paula, the 1517 will travel east the final 10 miles to reach its new home of Fillmore. 


Enjoy This Selection of News Coverage Showcasing Santa Fe 3751

Fullerton Railroad Days - OC Register - May 2015

San Bernardino Railroad Days - iMedia Group - May 2010


3751 Return to San Diego - NBC7 - June 2008


3751 Rededication Ceremony - NBC4 - December 1991