Activities

You must be a Friends member and RSVP in advance to participate in these activities.
Events are listed in reverse chronological order.

COVID-19.


August 20, 2022 at 11:00 AM

Annual Friends BBQ and Open House at the SMVRR.     Join us for the annual Santa Maria Valley Railroad Open House and BBQ at the Osburn Rail Yard on Saturday, August 20 from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm. There will be yard and shop tours along with demonstrations. Come see the progress on the continuing expansion of the Osburn Yard. We will once again have our popular Santa Maria style tri-tip and chicken BBQ for a donation of only $25.00 per person. Also the company store will be open with SMVRR apparel and unique items for sale. Membership in Friends is required.
Full details and online payment on the BBQ Page.

June 18, 2022 at 10:00 AM

Field Trip to Roadamite.     Come along as we explore the Santa Maria Valley Railroad’s right of way south-eastward from Santa Maria into the hills to Roadamite, the railroads original reason for construction. We’ll check out the Battles Branch of the SMVRR along the way. Our return route will give us an opportunity to see some remaining vestiges of the Pacific Coast Railway right of way from Palmer along the Palmer Branch and back to SM along the Suey Branch of the PCRy. We’ll meet at the old SMVRR freight depot at the corner of Jones and McClelland at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday June 18th. There is parking along McClelland and we will carpool from there. At the conclusion of our field trip we’ll head to the Mediterranean Garden Café for lunch. It’s easy walking distance from our starting point. You must be a Friends member and RSVP in advance to participate in the field trip.
RSVP at info@Friends-SMVRR.org or by phone 805-614-7093.

May 21, 2022 at 5:30 PM

Annual Friends of the SMVRR Gala. In the Fountain Pavilion at Santa Maria Fairpark. Dinner buffet of Tri Tip, Chicken and Ribs by Cool Hand Lukes. Details and online registration on the Gala page.
See the Post-Gala Press Release.

April 15, 2022 at 2:00 PM

PCRy 140th Anniversary Ceremony.     Friday April 15, 2022 is the 140th anniversary of the arrival of the Pacific Coast Railway in Santa Maria which was met with much fanfare and celebration as this would bring growth and prosperity. Chinese immigrants supplied much of the labor during the construction. The Pacific Coast Railway expanded south and eventually reached Los Olivos in 1887. Eventually the PCRy fell on hard times and went into bankruptcy - ceasing operation after nearly 70 years of service.
Captain Hancock purchased a portion of the PCRy and rebuilt the acquired PCRy section to standard gauge track. Today, the SMVRR’s Airbase branch is the last remaining PCRy right of way still operated as a railroad and remains as a critical line.
Recently the City of Santa Maria coordinated a massive cleanup of trash and homeless encampments along the railroad’s right of way. The Friends of SMVRR is heading an effort for permanent fixtures and signage along the public areas of the Airbase Branch to educate the public about the history of the railroad line.
A small ceremony will be held at the SMVRR’s diamond at the end of South Railroad Avenue off of West Boone Street on April 15 at 2:00 pm. Santa Maria Valley Railroad’s newest locomotive, FWRY 3501, will make an appearance.
For more details and information, refer to the SMVRR Press Release.

April 2, 2022

Visit Santa Ynez Historical Museum.     Join us on April 2nd as we visit the Santa Ynez Historical Museum and Parks-Janeway Carriage House. We’ll meet at the Museum for a 10:00 a.m. docent lead tour and learn about the history of the Santa Ynez Valley and its Pacific Coast Railway connection. They also have an amazing collection of Old West transportation, stage coaches, carriages etc.! After our visit to the Museum we’ll meet up at Pea Soup Andersen’s for our lunch stop. Their lunch menu has many choices from $15-$20.   As an added bonus upstairs at the restaurant is an exhibit room with interesting early photos, stagecoach route maps, and displays about the local history. You must be a Friends member and RSVP for this activity as space is limited. The Santa Ynez Historical Museum is located at 3596 Sagunto Street, Santa Ynez. RSVP at info@Friends-SMVRR.org or by phone 805-614-7093.

September 1, 2021

Photo Contest Deadline. Here's your opportunity to showcase your favorite Santa Maria Valley Railroad photographs and win cash prizes! Details.

August 21, 2021

Friends Annual BBQ and Osburn Yard Tour. 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm. Santa Maria Valley Railroad Osburn Yard. $20 per person. Due to Covid Rules for Transit Companies, we will have a take-out only BBQ and yard drive-through tour. BBQ will be Santa Maria Style Tri-Tip, beans, garlic bread, and a green salad for only $20.00 per person. All BBQ Lunch and drive-through tour tickets must be prepaid by Saturday August 14th.

August 8, 2021

SMVRR Caboose #210 Open House at Guadalupe Amtrak Station. Part of the Guadalupe 75th Anniversary Celebration. Sunday, August 8, 2021 from 10am to 5pm. Come and tour this historic piece of Santa Maria Valley Railroad rolling stock.
The entire event has been canceled (COVID).

June 5, 2021

Dana Adobe Tour. On Saturday June 5th, the Friends will take a docent lead tour of the Historic Dana Adobe with an opportunity to take a short hike along the Pacific Coast Railway right of way. The Dana Adobe dates back to the days of the California Ranchos and is a California State Historic Landmark. To participate you MUST be a Friends member and you MUST RSVP in ADVANCE as the group size is extremely limited. We’ll meet at the Dana Adobe for a 10:00 a.m. tour. Please bring your mask and we will social distance as needed. The Dana Adobe and Cultural Center is located at 671 S. Oakglen Ave, Nipomo. RSVP to info@friends-smvrr.org or call 805-614-7093. Membership required. SOLD OUT.

May 22, 2021

Annual Friends of the SMVRR Gala. Live via Zoom. Details...

March 6, 2021, 10am PST

Parlor Car Chat: Speeders on the SMVRR 2008-2010. During 2008-2010, the Motorcar Operators West (MOW) association of motorcar/speeder operators ran excursions on the Santa Maria Valley Railroad (SMVRR). Join Jamie as he shares photos and stories from those events. Recording/Links. Membership not required.

February 20, 2021, 10am PST

Parlor Car Chat: Rail Excursion to the Huntington Library. In 2014, folks from the Santa Maria Valley Railroad did a rail excursion from Paso Robles to Los Angeles and visited the Huntington Library while in the L.A. area. Join Rob and Nathan as they share pictures and stories from that trip. Of course the rail experience was fantastic, but surprisingly so was visiting the Huntington Library. The Friends of the Santa Maria Valley Railroad intend to offer a similar excursion this coming September. Recording/Links. Membership not required.

February 6, 2021, 10am PST

Parlor Car Chat: Remnants of Railroads in the Santa Maria Valley. Over the years, Jamie Foster took advantage of many Friends of the Santa Maria Valley Railroad field trips, led mostly by Kevin O'Roark, that, as his wife pointed out, ventured forth "to see stuff that wasn't there any more." Exactly! Join us online (via the SLO Railroad Museum) for Jamie's photos and commentary from these various field trips covering stretches of the Pacific Coast Railway (PCRy) and the Santa Maria Valley Railroad (SMVRR) that have long since been abandoned. The "rarest mileage" of our journey will be to the farthest eastern end of the SMVRR near Palmer. Recording/Links. Membership not required.

October 17, 2020, 10am PDT

Parlor Car Chat: Guided Photoshoot on the SMVRR. On Friday afternoon of the 2015 Open House and BBQ for the Friends of the SMV Railroad, six Friends ventured out into the field to chase a 32-car SMVRR train inbound from Guadalupe. NOTE: This was a sanctioned event which included railroad personnel accompanying the photographers. The group was granted access to areas not otherwise available to public photographers. Come along on this experience via photos and commentary online. Recording/Links. Membership not required.

July 18, 2020, 10am PDT

Parlor Car Chat: SMV #205. In 2015, Jamie and a number of SMVRR folks had the unique pleasure of seeing SMV No. 205 at George Lavacot's place being restored. We'll chat online about the photos from that day. Recording/Links. Membership not required.

July 11, 2020, 10am PDT

Parlor Car Chat: Santa Maria Valley Railroad. In an online gathering, Rob Himoto and Nathan Paul will share what's going on at the Santa Maria Valley Railroad. And this is the very day of the railroad's 109th birthday! A video/audio recording link is available here. Membership not required.

February 29, 2020

Tour the Historic Oceano Depot. Join Friends for a tour of the Historic Oceano Depot on Saturday, February 29, 2020. We'll meet at the Depot in Oceano at 11:00 am for a guided tour, including the ex Santa Maria Valley Railroad caboose No. 170, Boxcar, and Dunite cabin of Gavin Arthur. Bring lunch money and following our tour, we'll go to the Station Grill restaurant in Grover Beach next to the Amtrak Station. We'll have lunch and hopefully watch the afternoon Amtrak Surfliner make its stop in Grover Beach. Story/Photos.

November 13, 2019

"Railfan to Railroader". How do you define the term "railfan"? In November's presentation, SMV Director Nathan Paul talks about his journey from railfan to railroader. In a presentation containing personal photography, short stories and industry insight, he will explain how growing up a fan of the industry led to his current involvement in the SMVRR. Join us at the Santa Maria Valley Railroad Offices at A Street and La Brea Ave in Santa Maria. Doors open at 5:30pm and the presentation starts at 6:00pm. Dinner will be tacos, beans, and rice along with chips and salsa from Taco Ranchero for only $13.00. To reserve a dinner or to reserve a seat please RSVP by calling (805) 922-7941 by Monday November 11. If you RSVP but cannot attend the presentation, please be prepared to pay for your dinner.

October 25-28, 2019

Rail Excursion to Sacramento. Friends of the Santa Maria Valley Railroad members will travel aboard the Amtrak Coast Starlight to Sacramento and visit the State Railroad Museum. We'll depart San Luis Obispo on Friday afternoon October 25 at 3:35 pm on the northbound Amtrak Coast Starlight arriving in Sacramento at 11:59 pm. We'll stay on a historic riverboat, the Delta King Hotel for our 3-night stay. On Saturday we'll take a tour of the California State Railroad Museum. On Sunday morning we'll take a walking tour of some of the historic sites downtown, tour the Crocker Art Museum and the State Capital. Our return trip home on the southbound Coast Starlight leaves Monday morning at 6:35 am arriving back in San Luis Obispo at 3:07 pm Monday October 28. Details. Membership in Friends is required. SOLD OUT. Story/Photos.

September 28 2019

Pacific Coast Railway Santa Maria to Los Alamos. Join us for a Pacific Coast Railway Field Trip from Santa Maria to Los Alamos on Saturday, September 28, 2019. We will explore the less-celebrated portion of the PCRy right of way from the Santa Maria River crossing south to Los Alamos. The old right of way is clearly visible in many areas with a few other unexpected treats along the way! We'll meet at 9:00 am at the Santa Maria Valley Railroad Offices at A Street and La Brea Ave. We'll leave our cars in the yard and car pool from there. Bring lunch money as we'll stop for lunch in Los Alamos and visit the only remaining Depot of the Pacific Coast Railway. We should be back at the railroad yard around 2:00 pm. You must RSVP as space is limited. Membership in Friends is required. Story/Photos.

August 17, 2019

Annual Friends BBQ at the SMVRR. Join us for the annual Santa Maria Valley Railroad Open House and BBQ at the Osburn Rail Yard on Saturday, August 17 from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm. There will be yard and shop tours along with demonstrations. Come see the progress on the continuing expansion of the Osburn Yard. We will once again have our popular Santa Maria style tri-tip and chicken BBQ for a donation of only $10.00 per person. Also the company store will be open with SMVRR apparel and unique items for sale. RSVP to info@friends-smvrr.org or call 805-614-7093. Membership in Friends is required. See photos.

May 18, 2019

5th Annual Friends of the Santa Maria Valley Railroad Dinner Gala. Saturday, May 18, 2019 in the Fountain Pavilion at the Santa Maria Fairpark with arrival starting at 5:30pm and a dinner buffet of Tri Tip, Chicken and Ribs by Cool Hand Lukes at 6:30pm. We will have our annual awards ceremony, a live auction, and a silent auction. See photos. Complete report.

February 23, 2019

Field Trip - Santa Maria Valley's Electric Railroad. We'll explore the electrified branches of the Pacific Coast Railway and, ideally, gain some insight to the sometimes conflicting published material about them. Meet at the Santa Maria Valley Railroad office at the corner of A Street and La Brea in Santa Maria at 10:00 a.m. and we'll carpool from there. Bring lunch money as we will stop for lunch in Guadalupe on our tour. You must be a Friends member to participate. You may join on-site; bring the completed form and payment with you. RSVP early as seating is limited. Make your reservation by contacting us at info@Friends-SMVRR.org or 805-614-7093. Photos.

October 6, 2018

Central Coast Railroad Festival. All day at the San Luis Obispo Railroad Museum. Many exhibits and activities. Check out the new Santa Maria Valley Railroad exhibit and progress on the La Cuesta Pullman lounge car that ran several years ago on the Santa Maria Valley Railroad. Rob Himoto, president of the SMVRR, will give a talk about the SMVRR at the SLO Railroad Museum at 1pm. Central Coast Railroad Festival.

August 18, 2018

Annual Open House for the Friends of the Santa Maria Valley Railroad. Saturday, 11:00am for yard tours and a Santa Maria style tri-tip and chicken BBQ at the Osburn Yard. This is a once a year opportunity to tour the yard facilities and check out progress on the new track build. RSVP info@friends-smvrr.org or call 805-614-7093.

June 9, 2018

Tour of the former Santa Maria Valley Railroad line to Roadamite. Join us at 9:00am for a driving tour of the old railroad line to Roadamite, where it all started. Please RSVP as space is very limited. Afterwards we will meet for lunch at the Garden Mediterranean Restaurant on McClelland Street. Photos. "SOLD" OUT.

May 19, 2018

4th Annual Friends of the Santa Maria Valley Railroad Dinner Gala. Saturday, 5:30pm at the Fountain Pavilion at the Santa Maria Fairpark. We will have our annual awards ceremony with the Santa Maria Valley Railroad presenting the 4th Annual Railroad Safety Award and the Friends of the Santa Maria Valley Railroad with the G.A. Hancock History Preservation Award. Watch our website for a preview of our silent auction, there will exciting new auction items you will want to bid on! Tickets are on sale now $75.00 per person or reserve your own table of 8 for $600.00. Registration. Sponsorship Opportunities. Details/Honorees. See the Post-Gala Press Release. Photos.

September 23, 2017

Annual Friends BBQ at the Railroad. This is the annual Open House at the Santa Maria Valley Railroad from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm. We will have tours of the Osburn Yard and a Santa Maria style tri-tip and BBQ chicken lunch for a $10.00 donation to the Friends of the Santa Maria Valley Railroad. You must RSVP by 9/22/17 at noon. RSVP to Linda in the office lrodrigues@smvrr.com or call 805-922-7941.

June 24-25, 2017

Friends Railroad Academy. Are you interested in a railroad career or want to know what it is like working on a railroad? This is a comprehensive two-day workshop covering many aspects of the railroad industry including history of the industry, the business structure of railroads, train operations, maintenance of way, signals, car accounting. This is meant to be an overview of the industry and career opportunities. Cost is $100.00 for the weekend, includes books, materials and lunches. Friends members only and you must sign up and pay in full one week prior.

June 11, 2017

Santa Maria Valley's Electric Railroad. We'll explore the electrified branches of the Pacific Coast Railway and, ideally, gain some insight to the sometimes conflicting published material about them. Meet at the Santa Maria Valley Railroad office at the corner of A Street and La Brea in Santa Maria at 10:00 a.m. and we'll carpool from there. Bring lunch money as we will stop for lunch in Guadalupe on our tour. You must be a Friend member to participate. RSVP early as seating is limited.

May 20, 2017

Friends Dinner Gala at Santa Maria Fairpark. This year's event we will be honoring George Lavacot and his restoration of the SMV Steam Engine 205, which was on display at the Fairpark for many years. See #205 pics taken July 2015. The program will also include a History of the Friends Presentation, Railroad Public Safety Award presented by the Santa Maria Valley Railroad, G. Allan Hancock Historical Preservation Award presented by the Friends of the Santa Maria Valley Railroad, and a silent auction. Proceeds from the fundraiser will be used for acquiring an SP sugar beet car, the lifeblood car for the Santa Maria Valley Railroad for many years. Doors open at 5:30, event starts at 6:00. Once again a Santa Maria style tri-tip, chicken and rib dinner will be catered by Cool Hand Luke's. Tickets are $75.00 per person, a reserved table of 8 for $600. The gala will take place in the Fountain Pavilion at the Santa Maria Fairpark, 937 S. Thornburg Street, Santa Maria. Reservation Form: .pdf, .docx. See last year's gala.

May 13, 2017

SMVRR Exhibit/Presentation at Train Day in SLO. SLO Train Day at the San Luis Obispo Railroad Museum in San Luis Obispo, 10:00am to 4:00pm. At 10:00am, the Santa Maria Valley Railroad Exhibit, "Two Centuries, One Dream," will be unveiled. At 10:30am Rob Himoto, President of the Santa Maria Valley Railroad, will give a presentation on the Vision of the Future for the Santa Maria Valley Railroad. At 12:30pm, Cindy Ransick, Executive Director of the Santa Maria Valley Historical Museum, will be presenting the new book, Historic Santa Maria Valley. Historic Santa Maria Valley is a community effort with assistance from the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce.

April 8-9, 2017

Friends Private Car Excursion from San Luis Obispo to Los Angeles. Board the Business car Tioga Pass and lounge car Overland Trail for a private excursion on the back of the Coast Starlight leaving San Luis Obispo at 3:30pm. Arrive in Los Angeles and stay at the Miyako Hotel. Spend some time in Japantown the next day and board a private bus back to San Luis Obispo. Total is $450.00 per person plus hotel room. Cost includes full service on the train including meals and drinks prepared by the Business Crew used by the Santa Maria Valley Railroad for their private customer and business excursions. Seating is limited. Photos...

February 11, 2017

Work Day at the Santa Maria Valley Railroad. 8am-1pm. Friends members get a chance to volunteer for various hands on tasks such as sorting and inventorying parts and equipment, restoring equipment, sorting and cataloging documents. Must be a Friends member, wear appropriate clothing if working outside or in shops, come early to check in. Photos.

October 8, 2016

President Himoto's Talk at the Railroad Festival. Rob Himoto, president of the Santa Maria Valley Railroad, will present "The Local Shortline Railroad" at the San Luis Obispo Railroad Museum during the Central Coast Railroad Festival. Rob's presentation begins at 11am on Saturday, October 8, 2016 at the Museum.

October 1, 2016

Friends Volunteer Work Day. If you are interested in some hands-on work, sorting and preserving artifacts and parts, cleaning and restoring equipment and tools, or sorting and inventoring documents, magazines, join us at the Osburn Yard at 8:30am for a safety briefing. If you plan on working in the yard area, we require basic safety attire, safety glasses, safety boots, long pants, etc. We will serve lunch at noon. You must be a Friends member to volunteer.

August 27, 2016

Friends BBQ at the Railroad. Saturday August 27 from 11:00 to 3:00 will be the annual Friends BBQ at the Santa Maria Valley Railroad. This will be your opportunity to tour Santa Maria Valley Railroad's new transload yard located at the corner of A Street and La Brea Street. Our customary Santa Maria style tri-tip BBQ with tours of Santa Maria Valley Railroad's newest facility. This is a secured facility, please RSVP and bring a photo ID to check in. Our BBQ lunch is a $10.00 donation for the Friends preservation and acquisition fund.

June 18, 2016

2nd Annual Friends of the Santa Maria Valley Railroad Fundraising Dinner. Saturday June 18, 2016 at 5:30 pm in the Fountain Pavilion at the Santa Maria Fairpark, 937 S. Thornburg Street, Santa Maria will be our annual Friends Fundraising Dinner. Tri-tip, chicken and rib dinner will be catered by Cool Hand Luke's. Program includes History of the Friends Presentation, Railroad Public Safety Award presented by the Santa Maria Valley Railroad, G. Allan Hancock Historical Preservation Award presented by the Friends of the Santa Maria Valley Railroad, and a silent auction. Fundraising proceeds will go towards new storage containers as we are moving historical railroad artifacts to the new Santa Maria Valley Railroad's transload yard and to acquire other historical artifacts and equipment. Cost is $65.00 per person, $520.00 for a reserved table of 8. Checks can be made to Friends of the Santa Maria Valley Railroad. See Story/Photos.

May 21, 2016

Pacific Coast Railway Field Trip. Kevin O'Roark will lead this exploration of the less-celebrated portion of the PCRy right of way from the Santa Maria River crossing south to Los Alamos. The old right of way is clearly visible in many areas with a few other unexpected treats along the way! We'll meet at 10am at the Santa Maria River Levee Trail access, at the end of Preisker Lane. From the North or South on 101 take the Broadway exit and turn right on Preisker lane, it's the first traffic signal. Follow Preisker Lane to the end, there's a small parking lot on the right where we'll leave our cars and car pool from there. We'll stop for lunch at the Historic 1880 Union Hotel Saloon in Los Alamos (if available, or another spot in town) and visit the only remaining Depot of the Pacific Coast Railway. We should be back at the parking lot at 2:30pm. RSVP and membership required: Contact Friends. Photos. SOLD OUT.

March 5, 2016

Phillips 66 Refinery Tour
Saturday, March 5th, will be a special Friends tour of the Phillips 66 Refinery on the Nipomo Mesa starting mid-morning. Space is limited. Lunch follows at El Tapatio in Guadalupe (bring some money if you'd like to join in on this part). RSVP and Friends membership required. RSVPers will receive details. Contact us...

November 14, 2015

Roadamite Field Trip
Back by popular demand, this is a reprise journey led by the inimitable Kevin O'Roark. Tour the vestiges of the SMVRR and the PCRy south and east of Santa Maria. We'll meet at 10:00am at the old Santa Maria Valley Railroad freight depot (now Dance City) at the corner of S. McClelland and E. Jones in Santa Maria. There is parking along the street and we can carpool from there. We'll return about 2:30pm. Bring some money for lunch (TBD). RSVP required (Contact Friends). Photos....

October 1-4, 2015

Central Coast Railroad Festival
Enjoy all the activities Thursday through Sunday. The SMV Railroad will be giving a talk at the SLO Railroad Museum at 10:30am on Saturday the 3rd. http://CCRRF.com

September 19, 2015

Guadalupe City Walk 'n' Talk, and Museum
At 10:00am, we'll join Shirley Boydstun, Guadalupe Historical Society Member, for a fascinating walking tour of this historic small town. Expect an enthralling hour with this long-time Guadalupe resident. Meet at the Dunes Center Visitor's Center, 1055 Guadalupe Street. We'll work in some time to enjoy the Museum and Dunes Center, and, of course, lunch (bring some money). Photos...

June 19-20, 2015

Friends/SMVRR Summer BBQ Weekend. This year we expanded our annual BBQ at the SMVRR to a weekend of activities and a special rate at the Santa Maria Inn of $114/night for our out of town members. Contact the Santa Maria Inn (805-928-7777) directly and mention Santa Maria Valley Railroad event for the special rate. Deadline for reservations is May 20. Employees of the Santa Maria Valley Railroad will be hosting the open house and tours of the locomotives and equipment. We will also have a tour of the Betteravia townsite and presentation of the current operations of the railroad. Please RSVP for any or all activities: jamie.foster@jf2.com or 805-614-7093.

Friday June 19 - Photoshoot and Informal Dinner
Guided photoshoot of SMVRR's inbound train starting at approximately 1:00pm. Meet at the Guadalupe Amtrak Station and we will carpool from there. RSVP required (as space is limited). 6:00pm Santa Maria Inn we will gather informally for a nice, no-host dinner and informal talk on the Santa Maria Valley Railroad. Photos of the guided photoshoot.

Saturday June 20 - Open House at Betteravia
10:00am Opening and check-in
10:30am Historic tour of Betteravia
11:30am Tour of Locomotive in the yard
11:30am to 1:00pm: Lunch $10/person, Tri-tip, chicken, beans, garlic bread, salad, dessert
1:00pm Presentation of Santa Maria Valley Railroad and current operations in the office
2:00pm Track Presentation in the yard
3:00pm Closing time
Photos...

May 9, 2015

San Luis Obispo Train Day. The SMV Railroad will be exhibiting at SLO Railroad Museum's SLO Train Day. (This used to be called National Train Day.) See the photos on the SLORRM website.

April 23, 2015

Puttin' on the Ritz, a fundraiser gala dinner. Membership is not required. Details are here.

February 21, 2015

SMV History Museum. Join the Friends for a private guided tour of the Santa Maria Valley History Museum (616 S. Broadway). They have an interesting Hancock room and Betteravia display along with many other cool exhibits. Meet us there at 10am, and bring some lunch money as we'll be going to The Swiss right afterward (516 N. Broadway). Photos...

November 22, 2014

Tour the San Luis Obispo Railroad Museum! A private Friends tour will start at 10am and be done in time for lunch at Del Monte Cafe (right across the street) around noon. Bring lunch money. The Museum is located at 1940 Santa Barbara Avenue, San Luis Obispo [map]; just south of the SLO Amtrak station. Friends Membership is required; you may Join on-site by bringing the completed form and payment. There will be a special SMV Railroad announcement. Photos.

October 4, 2014

Please join us for this San Luis Obispo to Santa Barbara (and back) Rail Excursion on a beautiful private railcar. You will ride the immaculately restored Overland Trail as you enjoy the vistas along the Central Coast and relax in the luxurious lounge while being served complimentary coffee and soda. Several versions of this round-trip excursion from San Luis Obispo to Santa Barbara and back are available, as well as a lunch option to enjoy on the platform at the San Luis Obispo Railroad Museum. This is a joint event between Friends and the SLO Railroad Museum. Membership is not required. Photos.

August 23, 2014

Santa Maria Valley's Electric Railroad. We'll explore the electrified branches of the Pacific Coast Railway and, ideally, gain some insight to the sometimes conflicting published material about them. Meet in the parking lot at the corner of Battles Road and S. Depot Street at 10:00am and we'll carpool from there. We'll end up in Guadalupe just in time for lunch! Photos...

June 14, 2014

Friends/SMVRR Summer BBQ. Join us at the railroad headquarters in Betteravia for a Santa Maria-style (tri-tip and chicken) Friends Fundraising BBQ Social for only $10/person. 11am to 2pm. Lunch includes beans, garlic bread, drinks, and dessert. Come celebrate summer and the upgrades and updates on the Santa Maria Valley Railroad's locomotives! The fun starts at 11am. With the railroading getting busier and busier, there may not be more opportunities to get quite this close. Photos.

March 22, 2014

Friends of the SMVRR Day at the Fillmore and Western Railway. Come on out and support our short line railroad neighbors with a ride on the Fillmore and Western excursion train. Meet at the Fillmore and Western Railway (directions) by 11am. We'll enjoy the environs for a little while then board the Weekend Scenic Excursion Train for a 12pm departure. Tickets: adults $25, seniors (60+) $23, youth 4-12 $15, children 3 and under $10. We plan to eat in the dining car (additional charge per the menu). There are two stops along the route: downtown Santa Paula (several sites to catch) and Loose Caboose Garden Center and Gift Emporium. The train trip is scheduled to end at 4pm. Photos...

February 22, 2014

Betteravia Branch Tour. Join us to take a tour and learn about the history of the Betteravia Branch, the SMVRR line from Guadalupe to Betteravia. At 9am we will meet at the Santa Maria Valley Railroad offices at the old sugar mill for coffee and donuts and a presentation of the history of the line, originally built by Southern Pacific Railroad to serve the Union Sugar Mill. In keeping with seeing things that aren't there any more, we'll track down remnants from historical station locations: Iremel, Bragur, and Barsug. Photos...

November 9, 2013

We repeated the May 4th PCRy tour. Photos...

September 14, 2013

Betteravia. Enjoy this Saturday morning at Betteravia, once the location of a thriving sugar refinery and small town. We'll tour about the property including the old town site and the sugar mill itself (or what's left of it). Meet at 9am at the railroad's offices at Betteravia. You must wear closed-toe shoes appropriate for irregular surfaces. MEMBERS ONLY (for insurance purposes). Photos...

June 7, 2013

Art After Dark (SLO). Tartaglia Realty is hosting Friends member John Roskoski's photos of the SMVRR and UP Coast Line for Art After Dark from 6-9pm. The address is 968 Monterey Street, SLO. Feel free to visit any of the roughly 30 other venues in downtown SLO that will also have special art exhibits that night. A reception will be held at Tartaglia Realty for Friends members. Photos...

May 4, 2013

Pacific Coast Railway Field Trip. SOLD OUT. Kevin O'Roark will lead this exploration of the less-celebrated portion of the PCRy right of way from the Santa Maria River crossing south to Los Alamos. The old right of way is clearly visible in many areas with a few other unexpected treats along the way! We'll meet at 10am at the Santa Maria River Levee Trail access, at the end of Preisker Lane. From the North or South on 101 take the Broadway exit and turn right on Preisker lane, it's the first traffic signal. Follow Preisker Lane to the end, there's a small parking lot on the right where we'll leave our cars and van pool from there. We'll stop for lunch at the Historic 1880 Union Hotel Saloon in Los Alamos and visit the only remaining Depot of the Pacific Coast Railway. We should be back at the parking lot at 2:30pm. Contact Kevin (805-938-9937, koroark@verizon.net) if you're interested in a future repeat of this trip. Photos...

February 9, 2013

Friends tour of the SLO Railroad District. This walking tour will meet at 10:00am at the San Luis Obispo Freight House, the new home for the San Luis Obispo Railroad Museum. We will take a tour of the SLO Railroad District including the Amtrak Station, sneak peak of the San Luis Obispo Railroad Museum, the site of the old turntable, and the Emily Street Yard. Photos...

October 20, 2012

Friends Field Trip to White Hills Branch in Lompoc: 10:00am, location to be announced. We will explore the Union Pacific White Hills Branch in Lompoc. This interesting line starts at Surf next to the beach, travels through agricultural land, rare street running in Lompoc, and the climb up Miguelito Canyon to the Celite mine. Photos...

July 21, 2012

Ride the Overland Trail private railcar behind the Surfliner from Guadalupe to SLO and back. Departs Guad about 12:15pm. SOLD OUT.

July 14, 2012

Friends Field Trip to Roadamite: 10:00am. A repeat of the popular trip to Roadamite as we explore the beginnings of the Santa Maria Valley Railroad and cover some of the Pacific Coast Narrow Gauge Railroad in the area. Photos.

May 12, 2012

National Train Day at Guadalupe. 11am to 3pm. Caboose #210 Open House, Exhibits and Displays at Amtrak Station (Friends of the Santa Maria Valley Railroad, Santa Maria Valley Railroad, Amtrak, Union Pacific Railroad, and Operation Lifesaver). Live Music. Bus transportation available to get around Guadalupe to visit restaurants, museums, stores, etc. Take the Pacific Surfliner up from Santa Barabra and Goleta areas to enjoy the day in Guadalupe! Watch for more information. Photos...

October 8, 2011

Friends/SMVRR will be exhibiting at the SLO Freight House as part of the Central Coast Railroad Festival (CCRRF).

September 17-18, 2011

Goleta Railroad Days. Photos...

August 13, 2011

Roadamite Field Trip. Tour the rights-of-way of the SMVRR east of Santa Maria, and the PCR's nearby RoW as well. Limited seating, contact Kevin. Confirmed participants will meet at 10am at the Souza Center, 708 South Miller Street (near the old roundhouse). Photos…

May 7, 2011

National Train Day at the Guadalupe Amtrak Station. Caboose #210 will hold an Open House among other activities. More…

November 20, 2010

Join us for a chartered trip from Santa Barbara to San Luis Obispo and back aboard the Overland Trail private car! $60/person. The train (Surfliner) departs Santa Barbara at 10:15am and arrives back in Santa Barbara at 4:31pm. A lite tailgate lunch is included in the $60 and will be provided at the SLO station. Transportation to/from Santa Barbara before/after the charter is not included. It is possible to take the early Surfliner from SLO and return by the late Surfliner at the end of the day. Limited seating on the Overland Trail; first paid, first served.

October 10, 2010

The Friends will hold an Open House at Caboose #210 at the Guadalupe Amtrak Station as part of the Central Coast Railroad Festival.

May 8, 2010

National Train Day, at Guadalupe.

October 8-12, 2009

The Friends will be participating in a number of the Central Coast Rail Road Festival (CCRRF) activities. Let us know which ones you'd be interested in joining.

  • Thursday, Oct 8, CCRRF booth at SLO Farmer's Market
  • Thursday, Oct 8, 7pm SMVRR presentation at the SLO Library
  • Saturday, Oct 10, 10am-4pm, SMVRR booth at the SLO Freight House (near the Amtrak station)

August 1-2, 2009

Goleta Railroad Days.