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Carolwood Foundation's fundraiser will reunite 5 of the 6 cars that originally made up the Santa Fe & Disneyland Railroad

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Carolwood Foundation's fundraiser will reunite 5 of the 6 cars that originally made up the Santa Fe & Disneyland Railroad

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Yesterday's article about DCA's entrance complex seems to have struck a nerve with JHM readers. Especially the part of that column which talked about the California Zephyr replica that sits in Sunshine Plaza. I can't tell you how many e-mails I got from rail fans who moaned about how their favorite part of this theme park was about to be hauled away.

And - yes - it is sad when this Disney California Adventure train has to go to that big roundhouse in the sky. But what if I were to tell you that one of the Disneyland Resort's other trains - to be specific, the combine coach & passenger cars from "Retlaw 1" - were about to ride the rails again? Making a historic run out at Santa Margarita Ranch for what is very likely to be a never-to-be-repeated event.


Copyright The Carolwood Foundation. All rights reserved

"And why is this event likely to never-to-be-repeated?," you ask. Well, the good folks at the Carolwood Foundation (which is that 501-3 non-profit organization that's dedicated to supporting, preserving & celebrating  Walt Disney's Railroad Legacy) have big plans for that combine coach. They eventually hope to put it on display, give this beautiful railcar a permanent home at Walt Disney's Carolwood Barn in Griffith Park.

Of course, a project of that size requires cash. And lots of it. Which is where the Fall 2010 "Together Again" Carolwood Foundation Rail Trip comes in.

Through special arrangement with the Pacific Coast Railroad, the Carolwood Foundation will reunite 5 of the 6 cars that used to make up the original Santa Fe & Disneyland Railroad. And given that the combine coach has not actually carried any passengers since 1974 ... Well, this fundraiser will give rail fans a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience what Walt himself supposedly said was his very favorite part of the SF & DL Railroad.


Photo courtesy of Davelandweb.com. All rights reserved 

Mind you, there'll be more to this excursion than just getting the chance to ride aboard that combine coach. Just like the Carolwood Foundation's wildly successful Spring 2010 fundraiser, "Together Again" will feature tantalizing cuisine, excellent company as well as outstanding guest speakers. Which will include:

And did I mention that much of this event takes place aboard beautifully restored private railcars?


The Silver Splendor sails along the rails. Photo courtesy of The Carolwood Foundation.
All rights reserved

Now where this gets interesting is that this two-day excursion (which starts on October 30th) actually departs from two separate Californian cities. So if you'd like to begin your journey up in Oakland, you'll be riding aboard the domed observation car Silver Lariat and listening to presentations by Floyd & Jeff. If - on the other hand - you'd prefer to start out in LA, you'll then be riding in the Silver Splendor (i.e. the domed car featured in the Carolwood Foundation's Spring 2010 trip) and listening to talks by Tony & Ray.

This Saturday morning excursion features an onboard lunch and will come to a close once both trains have arrived in San Luis Obispo. Where event participants will then be cut loose for the afternoon to explore this charming Central Coast City before everyone then regroups that evening for a special panel discussion. Where all four of this Carolwood Foundation's guest speakers will share their thoughts on why "Story is King" at Walt Disney Animation Studios, Walt Disney Imagineering & Pixar Animation Studios.

After this panel discussion is completed (which will include a screening of some rare Disney shows as well as a live auction of some amazing collectibles), participants will then depart for the nearby San Luis Obispo Embassy Suites. Where - after a restful night's sleep - they'll then be taken by bus out to the storied Santa Margarita Ranch. Where these lucky folks will then get the chance to ride aboard the Pacific Coast Railroad behind an authentic steam engine.


Photo by Dave Kastner of the San Luis Obispo County Film Commission

And once this reunion of 5 of the 6 cars that used to make up the original Santa Fe & Disneyland Railroad concludes, participants will enjoy a delicious BBQ lunch before they then board the busses for that trip to the San Luis Obispo Amtrak station. Where - from there - this folks will then begin their journeys back home (which feature a scrumptious dinner served aboard these beautifully restored railcars).

It all sounds terrific, don't you think? But wait! It gets better. If you're a Los Angeles-based rail fan who's willing to spend a little bit more in order to help the Carolwood Foundation out with its combine coach project, you can have a truly intimate & elegant experience as you travel back and forth to San Luis Obispo. You can purchase a seat aboard the famed Scottish Thistle. Which is this meticulously restored business car that was built for the use of the senior executives of the Canadian National Railway.

Now the Thistle only has room for 16 passengers. But folks who opt to ride in this "rail yacht" will have a private chef at their disposal. Not to mention quality time with Tony & Ray. So if you're ever had a Disney-related question that you've wanted Mr. Baxter to answer, purchasing a seat aboard the Scottish Thistle is one way to maybe make that dream come true.


Photo courtesy of Scottish Thistle Rail Excursions

A word of warning, though: Making a dream like that come true doesn't come cheap. The price tag for taking part in "Together Again" is $575 per person (if you'd like to ride aboard the Silver Lariat or Silver Splendor) or $875 per person (to book passage on that "rail yacht," the Scottish Thistle).

Which (I know) sounds pricey. But let's remember that all of the monies collected from this fundraiser  go to a very good cause. Which is to create a permanent display / home for the original Santa Fe & Disneyland Railroad's combine coach. Which (hopefully) will be built right next door to Walt Disney's Carolwood Barn in Griffith Park someday every soon.

You also need to be aware that - given the limited number of seats available to these beautifully restored private railcars - tickets are expected to go fast for this two day event. More to the point, a 50% deposit is required by September 24th.  So if you'd like to take part in "Together Again," The Carolwood Foundation's Fall 2010 fundraiser, you 'd best get a move on.


Enjoying the view from inside of the Silver Lariat. Photo courtesy of The Carolwood
Foundation. All rights reserved

So if you're looking to take part in this trip, please send an email to railtrip@carolwood.org. And then please indicate whether you want to ride aboard the Silver Splendor out of Los Angeles, the Silver Lariat out of Oakland or book passage on the Scottish Thistle, also out of Los Angeles.

For further information (including the special discounted rate that the Carolwood Foundation has arranged for "Together Again" participants who are looking to stay at the San Luis Obsipo Embassy Suites on October 30th), please click on this link.

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  • I'm also sorry to know that the California Zephyr replica is about to depart. It's my personal favorite part of the current DCA; just like the Red Cars will be my favorite part of the new DCA. I'm sure the locomotive will go to a good home. Regarding the rail trip; I'm not going but I will say that the Silver Lariat is a great ride!

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