Ardenwood Historic Farm, Fremont
by Joe Thompson

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Ardenwood Historic Farm, Fremont


March, 2003

Ardenwood Historic Farm, just across the Dumbarton Bridge in Fremont, is operated by the East Bay Regional Park District. Forty-Niner George Washington Patterson's farm and home are preserved to show what life was like on a prosperous Nineteenth Century farm.

One of the features of the farm is a horse-drawn railroad, operated by the Society for the Preservation of Carter Railroad Resources as a tribute to the South Pacific Coast's horse operated Centerville branch.

The railroad was not operating when I visited in March, 2003, but I was able to inspect the South Pacific Coast's Ardenwood depot, which serves as the park entrance, and the nearby rail yard. I saw two small internal combustion locomotives, freight cars labelled SP, SPC, NPC, North Shore, and West Side Lumber, and flat cars with benches for riders. One car was covered with a tarp.

The tracks makes a wide sweep around the edge of a meadow, then disappears into a wooded area. There was a tiny yard at the other terminal. The track continued on into an area that was closed to the public.

The Patterson house is a beautiful Queen Anne. I was lucky to go in March because there were many new born animals, lambs, kids, and chicks.

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March, 2004

I paid a brief visit in March, 2004. Trains were not running, but I spent a pleasant afternoon looking at the equipment and visiting the animals.

equipment Railroad equipment preserved at Ardenwood. March, 2004.

switch stand A switch stand at Deer Park. March, 2004.

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September, 2005

Antelope and Western 1 Antelope and Western 1 at Ardenwood Station. September, 2005.

I took the family to Ardenwood Farm for the Fifth Annual Washington Township Railroad Fair over Labor Day weekend. It was well worth a visit.
on the train Antelope and Western 1 backs onto the train at Deer Park. September, 2005.
switching Antelope and Western 1 backs away after uncoupling from the train at Deer Park. September, 2005.
switching Antelope and Western 1 backs towards the train at Deer Park. September, 2005.

This year's visiting steam locomotive was an 1889 Porter 0-4-0, Antelope and Western 1. A volunteer who worked on the restoration mentioned that this was the first time the locomotive had run in revenue service since the 1950's. They had finished the tender just that week. The locomotive pulled two flatcars from Ardenwood Station to Deer Park and back. At each terminal, the locomotive uncoupled and ran around the train.
horse tram Jiggs pulls the horse-drawn car into Deer Park. September, 2005.

In an unusual move, horse train service ran from Deer Park out to North Park, on a stretch of track that is not used in normal operation. On Saturday, the volunteers tried to figure out how best to share the Deer Park terminal. One volunteer mentioned that the horses are always skittish the first day the steam locomotives operate, but settle down for the rest of the weekend. We had a nice ride behind Jiggs. On the way back, a mixed signal caused the steam train and Jiggs to arrive at the same time. They uncoupled Jiggs, and we left the car by a ladder. That was cool.
horsecar Jiggs pulls the horse-drawn car towards North Park. September, 2005.

The Bay Area Garden Railways Association had two large layouts near the hay barn.
traction engine The Daniel Best steam tractor rolls around a meadow. September, 2005.

I enjoyed riding on a wagon behind the Oakland Museum's 100-year-old Daniel Best steam tractor. Daniel Best Steam Traction Company was located in San Leandro, and was a predecessor of Caterpillar. The 100 horsepower tractor weighs 18 tons, 600 pounds stands 17 feet eight inches tall, and has eight foot driving wheels. I would like to have seen it cruising down 580 from Oakland at 3.5 mph ;0).

We also enjoyed seeing the day-old calf, Louise, and the other farm animals.

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March, 2006

We paid a brief visit in March, 2006. There were lots of young lambs and goats.
SPCRR 1 SPCRR 1, a 1928 Plymouth gasoline locomotive, prepares to pull a members' day train. March, 2006.
Station Sign Ardenwood Station sign. The station serves as the park entrance. March, 2006.
Sheep A ewe and the new black sheep of the family. March, 2006.

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September, 2006

pumpkin patch Antelope and Western 1 pulls a train along the pumpkin patch. September, 2006.

I took the family to Ardenwood Farm for the Sixth Annual Washington Township Railroad Fair over Labor Day weekend. We had fun.
on the train Happy passengers and crew on the first train of the day. September, 2006.
at the station Antelope and Western 1 prepares to couple onto the train at Ardenwood Station. September, 2006.

Antelope and Western 1, an 1889 Porter 0-4-0, was the visiting steam locomotive for the second straight year. The locomotive pulled two flatcars and an ore car from Ardenwood Station to Deer Park and back. At each terminal, the locomotive uncoupled and ran around the train. The locomotive ran tender-first from Ardenwood to Deer Park.
at the station 2 Antelope and Western 1 rolls towards the waiting train at Ardenwood Station. It will pull out of the station tender-first. September, 2006.
handcar Many people enjoyed handcar rides. September, 2006.
schedule The schedule board at Ardenwood Station. September, 2006.

The SPCCR was collecting donations towards a carhouse.
horse car broadside This 1887 Carter-built horse car ran for the Oakland Railroad and then a line in Berkeley. The SPCRR hopes to build new running gear to replace the rubber tires. September, 2006.
horse car end view An end view of the horse car. September, 2006.
horse tram Jiggs the horse pulls the horse-drawn car into Deer Park. September, 2006.

Horse train service again ran from Deer Park out to North Park. The tree that the horses used to rest under between runs had been cut down, so the volunteers were collecting funds to build a shelter.
horse tram at Deer Park Jiggs the horse gets unhitched after pulling the horse-drawn car into Deer Park. September, 2006.
horse car ladder The loading arrangements for the horse-drawn car at North Park. Note the fire extinguisher, there in case the horse bursts into flames ;0). September, 2006.
North Shore The North Shore logo on the horse-drawn car. North Shore was a predecessor of the Northwestern Pacific. September, 2006.
cable car Powell Street cable car 26 runs by the airport on the Bay Area Garden Railways Association's G-gauge layout. September, 2006.

The Bay Area Garden Railways Association had two large layouts near the hay barn. I particularly enjoyed the cable car.

A jazz band played on the porch of the Granary.
Pigs Pigs is pigs, as Mike Flannery said. This pair was having a grand time. September, 2006.

We enjoyed visiting the farm animals. A volunteer had a goat on a leash. The sheep had been trimmed recently.

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September, 2007

Ardenwood sign The sign on Ardenwood Station proclaims the Washington Township Railroad Fair 2007. September, 2007.

I took the family to Ardenwood Farm for the Seventh Annual Washington Township Railroad Fair over Labor Day weekend. It was very hot, but we had fun.
depot Ardenwood Station serves as the park entrance. September, 2007.
getting off the train Passengers leave the train at Ardenwood Station, passing Antelope and Western 1. September, 2007.

Antelope and Western 1, an 1889 Porter 0-4-0, was the visiting steam locomotive for the third straight year. The locomotive pulled two flatcars and an ore car from Ardenwood Station to Deer Park and back. At each terminal, the locomotive uncoupled and ran around the train. The locomotive ran tender-first from Ardenwood to Deer Park.

Antelope and Western 1 arrives at Ardenwood Station. (Adobe Flash is required. Some browsers will require two clicks to start the video.)

Antelope and Western 1 arrives at Deer Park Station. (Adobe Flash is required. Some browsers will require two clicks to start the video.)

Antelope and Western 1 runs around the train at Deer Park Station. (Adobe Flash is required. Some browsers will require two clicks to start the video.)
Jiggs Jiggs waits in the shade for his next trip with the horse car. September, 2007.

Horse train service again ran from Deer Park out to North Park. The volunteer driver talked about plans to build a carhouse at the end of the line.

Jiggs pulls horse-drawn car North Shore 1725 towards Deer Park Station. (Adobe Flash is required. Some browsers will require two clicks to start the video.)
Two pigs Two pigs were having a wild frolic in their muddy pen. A good way to beat the heat. September, 2007.

We enjoyed visiting the farm animals.
Cable Car 23 Cable car 23 on the garden-scale layout. Note the sign advertising the 22nd Annual National Garden Railway Convention. September, 2007.

The Bay Area Garden Railways Association had two large layouts near the hay barn. Again this year I particularly enjoyed the cable car and the geared locomotives.
sign I liked this sign by the field. September, 2007.


August, 2008

Number 4 at Ardenwood The Sandstone Crag Loop Line #4 at Ardenwood Station. August, 2008.

I took the family to Ardenwood Farm for the Eighth Annual Washington Township Railroad Fair over Labor Day weekend. It was not as hot as last year.
Number 4 The boiler and domes of Sandstone Crag Loop Line #4. August, 2008.

The visiting steam locomotive this year was Sandstone Crag Loop Line #4, an 0-4-2T built by Baldwin in 1891 for the Kaiwiki Sugar Co. in Ookala, Hawaii. It is now privately owned in Coto de Caza, California. The locomotive pulled two flatcars, a picnic car, and an ore car from Ardenwood Station to Deer Park and back. I noticed the picnic car and wondered why it was not being used for horse-drawn train rides. I was sad to read in the program that horse-drawn train rides "will not be offered this year due to the loss of Tucker, one of our two wonderful Belgian draft horses. Jiggs, his partner, is in mourning and not up to giving rides this Railfair, but will be in attendance and receiving visitors."
Taking water Sandstone Crag Loop Line #4 takes water at Ardenwood Station. August, 2008.

This year, the locomotive ran push-pull, rather than uncoupling and running around the train. The locomotive pushed tender-first from Ardenwood to Deer Park.

Sandstone Crag Loop Line #4 arrives at Ardenwood Station. (Adobe Flash is required. Some browsers will require two clicks to start the video.)
Picnic car Passengers wait on the picnic car, which will be at the head of the train when it leaves Ardenwood Station. August, 2008.

Sandstone Crag Loop Line #4 pushes the train out of Ardenwood Station. (Adobe Flash is required. Some browsers will require two clicks to start the video.)

We enjoyed visiting the farm animals and the model train layouts. This year the Early Day Gas Engine and Tractor Association had a collection of internal combustion engines running by the barn.

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March, 2009

We paid a brief visit in March, 2009. There were several newborn lambs.

link and pin Link and pin couplers between two cars.

lambs These were two of the cutest lambs.

sign A partially obscured sign warns us to watch out for something. We should have gone closer to check.

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September, 2009

SPCRR The Society for the Preservation of Carter Railroad Resources operates the railroad at Ardenwood Farm. September, 2009.
Number 4 The conductor calls "All Aboard" Sandstone Crag Loop Line #4 waits to push the first train of the day out of Ardenwood Station. September, 2009.

I took the family to Ardenwood Farm for the Ninth Annual Washington Township Railroad Fair over Labor Day weekend. The weather was on the cool side. For the first time ever, there were two guest steam locomotives. For the second straight year, they had Sandstone Crag Loop Line #4, Deanna, an 0-4-2T built by Baldwin in 1891 for the Kaiwiki Sugar Co. in Ookala, HI. It is now privately owned in Coto de Caza, CA. The other locomotive was Ann Marie, an 1890 Porter 0-4-0T.
Number 4 cab A look into the cab of Sandstone Crag Loop Line #4 after it backed out of Deer Park Station, showing the fireman and the backhead. September, 2009.

Sandstone Crag Loop Line #4 backs out of Deer Park Station to clear the way for the other train, pushed by Ann Marie. (Adobe Flash is required. Some browsers will require two clicks to start the video.)

There were some difficulties in figuring out operating procedures. We got aboard ahead of #4, pushing the regular train and the picnic car, for its first run. When we arrived at Deer Park, most of the passengers got off, so we moved up near the front of the train, where we could see into the cab. After offloading, the train backed through the station, so the other train could pull in. We waited while it came from Ardenwood, then let off its passengers, then left. We pulled back in. The crew had a vigorous discussion about better ways to do it. They decided that two trains were running more slowly than one, and that they would have to have one train pull around.

A view of the cab as Sandstone Crag Loop Line #4 pulls its train from Deer Park to Ardenwood Station. The crew checks to make sure the other train has cleared Ardenwood Station. (Adobe Flash is required. Some browsers will require two clicks to start the video.)
Station sign The sign board at Ardenwood Station mentions the two operating steam locomotives. September, 2009.

Both locomotive rans push-pull, rather than uncoupling and running around the train. Each locomotive pushed tender-first from Ardenwood to Deer Park.
Line When we got back Ardenwood Station from the first run, we found a long line. Ann Marie percolates in the background, waiting to push her train, combination car Southern Pacific 1010. September, 2009.

Sandstone Crag Loop Line #4 arrives at Ardenwood Station. (Adobe Flash is required. Some browsers will require two clicks to start the video.)
Ann Marie Ann Marie, the 1890 Porter 0-4-0T, waits at Ardenwood yard for her next trip to Deer Park. September, 2009.
Ann Marie builder plate Ann Marie's Porter builder's plate. September, 2009.

Ann Marie pulls through Ardenwood Station to clear the way for the train pulled by Deanna. (Adobe Flash is required. Some browsers will require two clicks to start the video.)

We had lunch then walked around and looked at the model train exhibits and the farm animals. Sheep, goats, rabbits, pigs, and chickens.
cow A cow relaxes. September, 2009.
sheep A sheep enoys the cool weather. September, 2009.
hog A hog stretches out in the shade. I smelled him before I saw him. September, 2009.
Deer Park The platform at Deer Park Station. September, 2009.

Back at Deer Park, we watched the train pulled by #4 pull in, offload, then pull through the station. As the other train, pushed by the Porter, arrived, #4 pulled around on the passing track and headed back to Ardenwood. We got on 1882 Southern Pacific combination car 1010 behind the Porter, and it pulled through the station and we waited until the other train went to Ardenwood and came back. We pulled around and headed back. Two volunteers on the car told lots of stories about local history.
#4 at Deer Park Sandstone Crag Loop Line #4 waits to unload at Deer Park Station. September, 2009.
#4 in the hole Sandstone Crag Loop Line #4 has backed out of Deer Park Station to clear the way for the next train. September, 2009.

At Deer Park, Sandstone Crag Loop Line #4 pulls its train into the passing track as Ann Marie pushes her single coach into the station. (Adobe Flash is required. Some browsers will require two clicks to start the video.)
#4 leaves Deer Park Sandstone Crag Loop Line #4 leaves the passing track at Deer Park Station. September, 2009.
Ann Marie cab Looking from the freight section of SP 1011 into the cab of Ann Marie at Deer Park Station. Note the galvanized bucket of coal. September, 2009.
Ann Marie Ann Marie waits as her train loads at Ardenwood Station. September, 2009.
Ann Marie and train Ann Marie and her train, SP 1011, have pulled forward at Ardenwood Station to clear the way for the other train. September, 2009.

There were no horse-drawn train rides this year. The new horse is still in training, and Jiggs can't do it all by himself.
NWP 5591 Northwestern Pacific caboose 5591, probably built by the North Pacific Coast in the 1890s. September, 2009.
NWP herald The Northwestern Pacific herald, my favorite, on caboose 5591. September, 2009.

There were nice model train layouts and the Early Day Gas Engine and Tractor Association had a collection of internal combustion engines running by the barn.
hand car A sign advertises hand car rides. September, 2009.
Clouds Dramatic clouds over the fields. September, 2009.

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Last updated 31-July-2018