Ardenwood Historic Farm, Fremont
by Joe Thompson

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Ardenwood Historic Farm, Fremont


March, 2010

We paid a brief visit in March, 2010. There were newborn lambs and baby goats on the way.

locomotive SPCRR 1, a 1928 Plymouth gasoline locomotive, has its hoods up for servicing.

lamb A two-week old lamb.

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September, 2010

Because of family illness, we could not go to Ardenwood Farm for the Tenth Annual Washington Township Railroad Fair over Labor Day weekend.
Here is the flier for the event.

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September, 2011

A&W Antelope and Western 1 has pulled around its train at Ardenwood Station and is pulling in to couple up for a trip back to Deer Park Station. September, 2011.

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.

Antelope and Western 1 backs onto her train at Deer Park Station. When Ann Marie arrives, A&W 1 pulls her train to Ardenwood Station. (Adobe Flash is required. Some browsers will require two clicks to start the video.)

I took the family to Ardenwood Farm for the 11th annual Labor Day Railfair at Ardenwood Farm. It was cold and overcast when we got there at 10am, but the sky gradually cleared. There were no horse-powered train rides this year, but two steam locomotives operated, Antelope and Western 1, an 1889 Porter 0-4-0, which had visited from 2005-2008, and Cortez Mining Company 1, Ann Marie, an 1890 Porter which was there for the third straight year. A&W 1 pulled a three car train: a flat, the covered car usually pulled by horses, and another flat. Ann Marie pulled 1010, an 1882 combination car that last ran on the Southern Pacific narrow gauge.
Ann Marie Ann Marie pulls her train through Ardenwood Station and into the yard to make way for the first train of the day. Two kids watch expectantly as guests wait in line to buy admission tickets. September, 2011.

Ann Marie pushes her train out of Ardenwood Station. (Adobe Flash is required. Some browsers will require two clicks to start the video.)

While A&W 1's train loaded at Ardenwood Station, Ann Marie would arrive from Deer Park and pull its train past on another track and into the yard behind. After A&W 1 left, Ann Marie would push her train into the station. When A&W 1 arrived at Deer Park, she would run around to the front of train. When Ann Marie arrived, she would run around on the other track and A&W 1 would leave. Back at Ardenwood Station, A&W 1 would pull back around to the front of the train. So A&W 1 always ran around, while Ann Marie would push and pull.
Ardenwood yard Looking back from our seats at the rear of A&W 1's train at the Ardenwood yard. Ann Marie smokes quietly behind her train, waiting to push into the station. September, 2011.
Ardenwood station Looking back from our seats at the rear of A&W 1's train at Ardenwood station and the yard beyond. September, 2011.
riders The first train of the day, behind A&W 1, carried a good crowd to Deer Park Station. September, 2011.
tangent A&W 1 was able to pick up some speed on this long straight stretch between rows of eucalyptus trees. September, 2011.
A&W 1 Antelope and Western 1 runs around its train at Deer Park Station to prepare for the trip back to Ardenwood Station. September, 2011.
A&W 1 switching Antelope and Western 1 gets ready to back through the switch at Deer Park Station to prepare for the trip back to Ardenwood Station. Ann Marie waits patiently in the background. She will run her train around on the same track that A&W 1 used to run around its train. September, 2011.

Ann Marie arrives at Deer Park Station as Antelope and Western 1 pulls out with her train.

The line at Ardenwood Station kept getting longer and longer during the day. Kids were having a great time.
line By the time we got back to Ardenwood Station, there was a long line waiting for a ride. September, 2011.
A&W 1 leaving Ardenwood Antelope and Western 1 pulls its train out of Ardenwood Station towards Deer Park Station. September, 2011.

There was a big Garden Scale display, and a modular N-Scale display. A steam calliope played in the gazebo. I didn't see the Oakland horse car, which was supposed to be on display.
cable car A static diorama at the Garden Scale layout has a California Street cable car on a hill next to some nice Victorians made from cereal boxes. September, 2011.

We had a picnic by the farmyard. We went and saw the goats, sheep and fowl.
A&W 1 at Deer Park Antelope and Western 1 has arrived at Deer Park Station with a good load of passengers. September, 2011.

We continued on towards Deer Park Station, where A&W 1 had just arrived with its train.
A&W 1 Uncoupled from its train, Antelope and Western 1 waits for a switch to be thrown. September, 2011.
A&W 1 takes the switch A&W 1 takes the switch to run around its train on the near track. September, 2011.
Ann Marie waits Ann Marie waits to take the switch to position its train to pick up passengers on the far track. September, 2011.
Ann Marie takes the switch Ann Marie pulls her train through the switch into Deer Park Station. September, 2011.
Ann Marie Ann Marie percolates at Deer Park Station. September, 2011.

We boarded combination car 1010 for a ride back to Ardenwood Station. The engineer paused before the last curve into Ardenwood Station and picked two nice-looking tomatoes. He reached through the window and gave one to a little girl on the coach.
1010 Combination car 1010 carried a lighter load than A&W 1's train. People sat in both sections. September, 2011.
1010 doorway A plate in the doorway of combination car 1010 has the year it was built (1882) and the initials of its builder and original operator, the San Joaquin and Sierra Nevada Railroad. September, 2011.
longer line When we got back to Ardenwood Station, we found that the line had gotten to be even longer. September, 2011.

Here is the flier for the event.

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September, 2012

Ann Marie Cortez Mining Company 1, Ann Marie, an 1890 Porter, was there for the fourth straight year. Note the coal smoke. September, 2012.

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.
Rail Fair sign A sign on Ardenwood Station advises people of ticket prices for the Rail Fair. September, 2012.

We went to the 12th annual Labor Day Railfair at Ardenwood Farm. It was cold and overcast when we got there at 10am, but the sky gradually cleared. There were no horse-powered train rides this year, but steam locomotive Cortez Mining Company 1, Ann Marie, an 1890 Porter 0-4-0T, was there for the fourth straight year. Ann Marie pulled a three car train: the covered car usually pulled by horses and two flats.
Steam train rides A sign at Ardenwood Station advertises steam train rides. September, 2012.

Another guest locomotive sat idly in the yard, having had a valve fail the night before the fair started.
Smoking Ann Marie puts out some coal smoke after pulling the train into Ardenwood Station for the first run of the day. September, 2012.

Ann Marie put out a lot of coal smoke on her first runs, but the fire got adjusted over time and the exhaust looked better. On the first run of the day, the conductor said that people in the covered car, which was directly behind the locomotive, might want to move. Normally the covered car is spotted in the middle of the consist so the roof won't trap the coal smoke. Later in the day, they were able to rearrange the cars.
equipment Brake wheels and link and pin couplers between two cars. September, 2012.
extinguisher The fire extinguisher on the covered car. September, 2012.
Ann Marie waits Ann Marie has run around her train and now she waits for the switch to be thrown so she can couple up to pull the train to Deer Park. September, 2012.
station Ardenwood Station from the train. September, 2012.
Deer Park runby/1 Ann Marie runs past the train at Deer Park. September, 2012.
Deer Park runby/2 Another view of Ann Marie running past the train at Deer Park. September, 2012.
backing down Ann Marie back down on the train at Deer Park. September, 2012.
Ann Marie rolls Ann Marie rolls towards the train at Ardenwood Station. September, 2012.

On display near the station was an 1887 Carter Brothers-built horse car which ran for the Oakland Railroad and then a line in Berkeley. The SPCRR hopes to build new running gear to replace the rubber tires.
horse car A Carter Brothers horse car. September, 2012.
horse car Note the fine details of the woodwork on the roof of the Carter Brothers horse car. The bullseye window would have had a lamp behind it at night to mark the car. September, 2012.
horse car The platform of the Carter Brothers horse car. September, 2012.
horse car The bell on the roof of the Carter Brothers horse car. Note the clerestory windows. September, 2012.
horse car A peek into the interior of the Carter Brothers horse car. September, 2012.

There was a big Garden Scale display, and a modular N-Scale display.
Diablo Pacific banner The Diablo Pacific Short Line hosted the garden-scale layout. September, 2012.
San Francisco A San Francisco scene includes Victorians, two cable cars and a donkey engine. September, 2012.
cable car A colorful model cable car. September, 2012.
cable car on hill Various characters ride a model cable car up or down a hill. September, 2012.
San Francisco scene Another angle of the San Francisco scene. September, 2012.

We had a picnic by the farmyard. We went and saw the goats, sheep, rabbits, cows, pigs and fowl.
calf A newly arrived calf next to its mother. September, 2012.
fowl Ain't nobody here but us chickens. September, 2012.

Back at Deer Park, we found Ann Marie arriving after another trip.
Deer Park arrival Ann Marie arrives with a train from Ardenwood Station. Note the much clearer exhaust. September, 2012.
waiting to switch Ann Marie waits for a brakeman to throw the switch so she can run around the train. September, 2012.
run by Ann Marie runs by the train at Deer Park. September, 2012.
on the road On our way to Ardenwood Station. September, 2012.
Ardenwood Station Ardenwood Station from the train. September, 2012.
Davenport locomotive The other visiting locomotive, an 0-4-4T Davenport, sat disabled in the yard. September, 2012.
NWP 5591 Northwestern Pacific caboose 5591 was built for predecessor North Pacific Coast around 1890. September, 2012.
NWP 5591 The Southern Pacific herald on a box car which serves as a museum. September, 2012.

Here is the flier for the event.

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August, 2013

Ann Marie Cortez Mining Company 1, Ann Marie, an 1890 Porter, was there for the fifth straight year. August, 2013.

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.
Rail Fair sign A sign on Ardenwood Station advises people of ticket prices for the Rail Fair. August, 2013.

We went to the 13th annual Labor Day Railfair at Ardenwood Farm. Traffic was fine on the Dumbarton Bridge, despite the Bay Bridge being closed for the cutover to the new eastern span. It was warm when we got there at 10am, and it gradually got warmer. There were no horse-powered train rides this year, but steam locomotive Cortez Mining Company 1, Ann Marie, an 1890 Porter 0-4-0T, was there for the fifth straight year. Ann Marie pulled a three car train: the covered car usually pulled by horses and two flats.
Coupler and brake The link and pin coupler and brake equipment on one of the train cars. August, 2013.

I didn't hear or smell the locomotive when we arrived. The conductor explained that it was at the other end of the line where it spent the night and they were having some trouble getting the fire going.
Ardenwood Station While we waited, I snapped a few shots of Ardenwood Station. August, 2013.
Ardenwood Station closer A closer view of Ardenwood Station. August, 2013.
Ardenwood Station sign The Ardenwood Station sign. August, 2013.
Plymouth The Plymouth locomotive is used for work trains and switching. August, 2013.

I like to catch the first train. The line at Ardenwood Station kept getting longer and longer during the day. They had signs posted saying that all trips would be one-way, but Deer Park never developed a long line. We made a round trip on the first train, and later caught one back from Deer Park.
Conductor The conductor explains that the steam locomotive should be along shortly. August, 2013.
Ann Marie arrives Ann Marie rolls past the end of the train and into the yard. August, 2013.
Ann Marie switch Ann Marie rolls towards the switch. August, 2013.
Ann Marie switch/2 Ann Marie rolls through the switch. August, 2013.
Ann Marie backs Ann Marie backs towards the train. August, 2013.
coupling The conductor lifts the locomotive's bent link to couple to the train. August, 2013.
pin The conductor drops the pin to complete the coupling process. August, 2013.
safety briefing The conductor gives the crew a safety briefing before service begins. August, 2013.
Ardenwood Station from train Ardenwood Station from the train. August, 2013.
smoke At Deer Park, the smokestack shows the effect of a fresh scoop of coal. August, 2013.
Ardenwood Station return Returning to Ardenwood Station from Deer Park. August, 2013.
the line The line had grown by the time we got back to Ardenwood Station. August, 2013.

We had a picnic at the tables. There was a big Garden Scale display, a live steam display and a modular N-Scale display.
cable cars A display of cable cars along the G Scale layout. August, 2013.
cable cars The BAGRS (Bay Area Garden Railroad Society) Roving Garden Railroad was on display. August, 2013.
Galloping Goose A Rio Grande Southern Galloping Goose on thhe BAGRS Roving Garden Railroad. I don't think any of the geese were Mack M-80s. August, 2013.

We saw sheep, goats, rabbits, chickens and turkeys, but no swine. We got to meet Red, who is now the regular horse on the horse-drawn train rides, and Goliath, who is learning the job. The SPCRR is trying to raise the money to buy harness for Goliath.
Red Red, a Belgian, usually hauls the horse car. August, 2013.
Goliath Goliath, also a Belgian, is learning the ropes. August, 2013.

Back at Deer Park, we admired the variety of signs.
Danger Keep Off the Track Danger Keep Off the Track. August, 2013.
Train Ride Passengers Form Line Here Train Ride Passengers Form Line Here. August, 2013.
All Train Rides Are One Way All Train Rides Are One Way. They did not enforce the policy. August, 2013.
Please Stay Off Platform and Tracks Please Stay Off Platform and Tracks When Train is Not in Station. August, 2013.
speeder A speeder arrived before the train. August, 2013.
Deer Park Ann Marie pushes her train into Deer Park. August, 2013.
steaming Ann Marie steams back to Ardenwood. August, 2013.
schedule A sign at Ardenwood Station gives the day's schedule. I would like to take the 4pm trip to the end of track some time. August, 2013.
historical markers The garden by Ardenwood Station has some historical markers. August, 2013.
plaque This plaque marks the Patterson Ranch being placed on the National Register of Historical Places in 1985. August, 2013.

Here is the flier for the 2013 event.

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September, 2014

Ann Marie Cortez Mining Company 1, Ann Marie, an 1890 Porter, was there for the sixth straight year. September, 2014.

This year we went on Monday. The Early Day Gas Engine and Tractor Association had already gone home.

It was moderately warm. Two steam locomotives operated. Ann Marie, an 1890 Porter 0-4-0, was there for the sixth straight year. Antelope and Western 1, an 1889 Porter 0-4-0, was back for the first time since 2011. There was only one train, so the locomotives swapped each time the train reached Deer Park. There were big crowds, so we never got to make a round trip.

Deanna Antelope and Western 1, an 1889 Porter 0-4-0, was there for the first time since 2011. September, 2014.

line We arrived a little later than usual so there was a long line. September, 2014.

prices A sign on Ardenwood Station advises people of ticket prices for the Rail Fair. September, 2014.

one way A sign at the depot stressed that rides would be one-way only. September, 2014.

Antelope and Western 1 At Deer Park, Antelope and Western 1 waits its turn to take the train for a trip to Ardenwood Station and back. September, 2014.

carbarn sign At Deer Park, a sign said that ticketed passengers could take a speeder ride to the new carbarn. I did not get to do it. September, 2014.

speeder sign At Deer Park, the speeder and a trailer wait to take people for a tour of the new carbarn. September, 2014.

Here is the flier for the 2014 event.

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September, 2015

The 15th annual Washington Township Railroad Fair was held over Labor Day weekend, Saturday-Monday September 5-7. We didn't get to go.
Here is the flier for the 2015 event.

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September, 2016

prices A sign on Ardenwood Station advises people of ticket prices for the Rail Fair. September, 2016.

Ann Marie Ann Marie waiting to leave Ardenwood Station. September, 2016.

We went to the 16th annual Ardenwood Railroad Fair on the Monday of Labor Day weekend. We got there a little before 10am and there was a short line. While we waited, Ann Marie, an 1890 Porter 0-4-0, there for the sixth straight year, linked to the waiting cars. There was a short line for the train. The volunteers said ours was probably the only trip of the day where they would allow people to stay on at Deer Park and return to Ardenwood station.

Ann Marie links onto the train at Ardenwood Station.

speeder The speeder pulls its trailer into Ardenwood Station. September, 2016.

Before we left Deer Park, a speeder arrived, pulling a trailer with passengers.

backing Ann Marie backs onto the train at Deer Park. The brakeman faces the train. The fireman is behind him. The engineer and owner sits on the right. September, 2016.

wipe down Back at Ardenwood Station, Ann Marie's engineer/owner gives her a wipe. September, 2016.

maintenance Ann Marie receives some cosmetic maintenance at Ardenwood Station. September, 2016.

crash An unfortunate accident at the model train layout. The garden-scale pilot was not injured. September, 2016.

We walked to the farmyard and looked at the model train layouts. After we ate our lunch at a picnic table, we visited the animals.

sheep This sheep seemed happy. We also saw goats, rabbits and cows. September, 2016.

Katie Plymouth locomotive Katie was switching while we waited in line. While the park was open, it sat by the combination car. September, 2016.

A brakeman on the train said that they no longer operate the horse-drawn railcar because they can't get voluteers to take care of the horses. Instead, they use Katie to pull the train.

Katie closeup A closer view of Plymouth locomotive Katie. September, 2016.

Schedule The schedule posted at Ardenwood Station. September, 2016.

Here is the flier for the 2016 event.

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September, 2017

prices A sign on Ardenwood Station advises people of ticket prices for the Rail Fair. September, 2017.

Ann Marie Ann Marie waiting to leave Ardenwood Station. September, 2017.

Sunday we went to the 18th annual Washington Township Railroad Fair at Ardenwood Farm. The weather was overcast and muggy. Turnout was low, probably because of the recent excessive heatwave. A volunteer on the train said that there only about 200 visitors on Saturday. Ann Marie, an 1890 Porter 0-4-0, was there for the ninth straight year.

passenger car One of the newly covered passenger cars. September, 2017.

The two open flats now have walls and roofs. They were nice.

Ann Marie links onto the train at Ardenwood Station.

Ann Marie runs from Deer Park to Ardenwood Station.

combine and boxcars 1882 Southern Pacific combination car 1010 and two boxcars in the yard at Ardenwood Station. September, 2017.

combine and boxcars/2 Another view of 1882 Southern Pacific combination car 1010 and two boxcars in the yard at Ardenwood Station. September, 2017.

Ann Marie approaches Ann Marie approaches her train at Ardenwood Station. September, 2017.

Schedule The schedule posted at Ardenwood Station. Crowds were thin so we made a round trip on the first run. September, 2017.

doodlebug A doodlebug on the Bay Area Garden Railway Society Roving Garden Railroad. September, 2017.

We walked around to visit the garden railway layouts and the farm yard.

Mack railbus A Mack railbus on the Bay Area Garden Railway Society Roving Garden Railroad. September, 2017.

goat A goat lounges in his pen. September, 2017.

goat/2 Another goat lounges checks to see if we have anything to eat. September, 2017.

pig sign A sign wqarns that pigs can bite. Yes they can. September, 2017.

pigs drink Two pigs drink. September, 2017.

cows Five cows try to find shelter under one little tree. September, 2017.

Ann Marie arrives Ann Marie arrives at Deer Park Station. She will back away run around her train on the other track. September, 2017.

We walked to Deer Park Station and waited for the train.

closed car/2 One of the newly enclosed cars at Deer Park Station. September, 2017.

debark Passengers debark at Deer Park Station. The yellow car is the former horse-drawn car. Note the light crowd. September, 2017.

closed car/3 One of the newly enclosed cars at Ardenwood Station. September, 2017.

Ann Marie switches Ann Marie switches to the other track to go around her train at Ardenwood Station. September, 2017.

There were no speeder rides this year.

Here is the flier for the 2017 event.

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July, 2018

Katie Plymouth locomotive Katie waits to pull a train from Ardenwood Station. July, 2018.

Being in the East Bay one Sunday, we visited Ardenwood Farm and took a ride behind their Plymouth locomotive, Katie. Katie pulled two nicely painted picnic cars. The handicapped car had dry rot, so it was being worked on.

I had seen the flier for the 2018 Labor Day Railfair. It said "For this year only, a steam engine will not be pulling the public. An 1890 Porter steam locomotive, Cortez Mining Co. #1, the 'Ann Marie,' will be pulling a demonstration train for everyone's viewing enjoyment and great photo opportunities."

The brakeman on our car said that they can't give rides behind the Porter steam locomotive for the Labor Day Railfair this year for legal reasons.

They are rebuilding the runaround track at Deer Park Station.

Later in the week, I learned that the SPCRR had run afoul of state rules about carrying the public. The visiting steam locomotives have been private restorations, often with original safety apparatus. SPCRR is working on a solution for next year.

Katie pulls a train from Ardenwood Station.

Sign A sign explains that the handicapped accessible car will not be available. July, 2018.

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September, 2018

Here is the flier for the 2018 event.

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Last updated 31-July-2018