End of an Era

You may or may not have heard the news.

As of this week, my tenure as the first Chief Mechanical Officer for the Pacific Coast Railroad is coming to an end. Like so many people these days, the poor economy is the main reason for my dismissal.

I want to thank Mr. Rob Rossi for giving me the opportunity to work for him here on the beautiful and historic Santa Margarita Ranch. It has been my pleasure.

I am a lucky guy. In my career I have had the good fortune to have worked and lived in some very special places. The Ranch is one of those places. I would like to think that some day my name will be written into its long and colorful history.

The Santa Margarita Ranch has a long tradition for Old California hospitality. This tradition lives on. I was always made to feel right at home here. Though it all I have met many good people and made many new friends.

I have no regrets concerning my departure. I did the very best I could, given what limited resources I had to work with. In other words, I have done much with very little.

I took a collection of oddball narrow gauge railroad equipment that was barely able to function and made it into a successful operating steam railroad. As part of this, I was able to help put together a good training program and a great crew. This was no easy task, however, and I did not do it all by myself. This little narrow gauge railroad could not, cannot, operate without the help of its dedicated volunteers. Many a time these good folks would re-arrange their busy schedules on short notice to lend a hand. Not only would they operate the railroad safely and efficiently, but then they would turn around and cook up a tasty BBQ to feed everyone. So, it is with heart felt gratitude that I want to say THANK YOU!

There are lots of good memories and some fun stories. We even made some railroad history, such as having John Lasseter and the Hillcrest crew as our guests operating the beautiful and legendary steam locomotive, the “Marie E.” During this event we also pulled off a first for the P.C.R.R. At one point, we actually had four separate steam trains operating on the line at one time.  This was quite a feat, if one considers that our little loop line is less than two miles long!

Another accomplishment that I am proud of is the acquisition of a third steam locomotive for the Pacific Coast.  A few years ago Karell and I made a whirlwind trip to Houston, Texas to take possession of this locomotive. When it arrived at the Ranch it was a mess. It took me a lot of hard work and long days to get it fixed up and improved enough so we could operate it. In the end, this little “diamond in the rough” became the P.C.R.R. #1, the “Caroline”.  She is a real show stopper. With her tall drivers and old west look, she puts on a good show chugging up the hill.

With the exception of a few already scheduled train events, the railroad will most likely be mothballed for the time being. Hopefully, this will be temporary.  It is my desire to see the Pacific Coast Railroad grow and prosper. I hope that there will be some really great train events in its future.

As one door closes another opens. I truly believe this to be true. I am positive that God has a plan for Karell and I.  Already I have a good job offer; one that would take us back to our home in the Colorado Rockies.  Like I say, the adventure continues. Stay tuned for more.

Lastly, I want to thank my wife, Karell for all her love and support. She is my partner and my best friend. Karell has allowed me to pursue my weird passion for working on steam. She served as the Secretary for the Pacific Coast Railroad and kept things organized for me.

Karell, Thank you! You are the best. I love you lots.

Best wishes to all.

Yours in Steam,

Phil Reader
3 April 2009

~ by pcrailroad on April 3, 2009.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: