The San Diego & Arizona Railway CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION DAY will be celebrated on Saturday, November 16, 2019, at Campo Railroad Park and Museum.
The following is tentatively planned, rain or shine or cold or wind or snow. Any required changes due to inclement weather will be posted here. Please check back later for updated details and ticket sales information. (Last updated 7/18/2019).
You are invited to wear period clothing (circa 1919) for your visit today.
Parking and entrance to the Campo Railroad Museum and Park is FREE. Payment is needed only for optional train rides, food, drinks, souvenirs, and the SD&A 100th anniversary Commemorative Program which is likely to become a collector’s item over time. Advance reservations are recommended for train rides and meals once tickets go on sale (Date TBD).
Step out of the vehicles that brought you to Campo and immediately be greeted by Model A and Model T Fords and Horseless Carriages to take you back to the early 1900s era when these vehicles were first starting to become popular. They will be displayed in the parking lot as you enter the Celebration grounds.
9 am. Ceremony to unveil and dedicate a 100th anniversary commemorative plaque placed by the Native Sons of the Golden West to document this significant milestone of the San Diego & Arizona Railway.
9 am – 12 noon. Roxy the face painting Clown will paint fun designs on faces to the glee of youngsters and enjoyment of all. We hear she will have some interesting train designs available.
9 am – 5 pm. Rusty the balloon-twisting Clown will twist balloons into the shape of critters and other delightful creations.
9 am – 5 pm. A miniature steam train will be exhibited and demonstrated, courtesy of Chula Vista Live Steamers, along with other displays.
Intermittently throughout the day (AM and PM). The popular Trails and Rails trio will perform western and train songs. They are an award-winning musical act that entertains with toe-tapping enthusiasm and audience-pleasing commentary to supplement their songs.
9:45 – 10:30 am. Lively demonstration of a meticulously restored 1902 steam-powered firefighting pump. Observe the transfer of power generated by the steam when it leads to forceful spraying of water through fire hoses just as firefighters used to battle fires more than a century ago. Be careful where you stand to view the action – you could get a bit wet. Stop by during the day for pictures and a meet-and-greet with Dottie the firehouse Dalmation.
11 am. Centennial Train I ($) departs the Campo Depot, with boarding by 10:45 am. Limited space on first class cars (1509, Robert Peary) may be available. All passengers will be given a special keepsake item associated with the original 1919-era San Diego & Arizona Railway. Train ticket sales information will be posted closer to the date.
12 noon. Lunch catered by Descanso Junction Catering ($). There is no other way to buy lunch at the Campo facility, other than snacks in the Gift Shop ($). Please feel free to bring your own lunch instead and eat at the picnic tables (limited number) adjacent to the Depot or anywhere else throughout the Campo grounds. A small playground with swings and a sandbox are in the same area as the picnic tables. Lunch ticket sales information will be posted closer to the date.
12 noon. Live music will be near both the catered lunch site and the picnic tables.
1 pm. GOLDEN SPIKE CEREMONY AND REENACTMENT. Everybody will assemble quickly for a photographer to use an old Cirkut camera to take a panoramic photograph of the crowd to replicate that which was taken at the original 1919 event in Carriso Gorge. Come in period garb if you want to contribute to that ambience, but that’s optional. Initial speakers who will each say a few words include museum leadership, government officials, and contemporary railroad executives from San Diego County, Imperial County, and Baja, CA, Mexico. Rumor has it that today will be officially declared “San Diego & Arizona Railway Day” in San Diego County!
The reenactment will include excerpts from speeches given on November 15, 1919, at the original Golden Spike Ceremony. John D. Spreckels or his stand-in will drive the genuine, authentic, actual, real 1919 gold-plated spike to signify the completion of the last link in an American transcontinental rail network. (Yes, the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum is in possession of that original spike that JD Spreckels used to mark completion of his “Impossible Railroad!”) Some of Spreckels’ descendants will be honored guests. The City Guard Band will play the same song that was written for and performed by the City Guard Band at the original Golden Spike Ceremony. We will all join in to sing some songs that were sung at the original event. A marching band will lead us to the next special activity.
1:15 pm. Golden State train ($). This train ride is the museum’s regularly scheduled mid-afternoon train and is intended to be available for visitors who desire to ride a train but who either did not know that the Centennial Celebration Day is taking place today or want just a regular train ride without a special Centennial handout or other celebration benefits. Advance reservations/tickets are not available for this train ride.
2:30 – 3 pm. Lively demonstration of a 1902 steam-powered firefighting pump. Observe the transfer of power generated by the steam when it leads to forceful spraying of water through fire hoses just as firefighters used to battle fires more than a century ago. Be careful where you stand to view the action – you could get a bit wet. Stop by during the day for pictures and a meet-and-greet with Dottie the firehouse Dalmation.
3:30 pm Centennial Train II ($) departs the Campo Depot, with boarding by 3:15 pm. Limited space on first class cars (1509, Robert Peary) may be available. All passengers will be given a special keepsake item associated with the original 1919-era San Diego & Arizona Railway. Train ticket sales information will be posted closer to the date.
5 pm The Campo Railroad Park and Museum closes.
Also at the Campo facility all day:
Vintage railroad equipment on display: steam and diesel locomotives, passenger cars, freight cars, boxcars, cabooses, maintenance-of-way, and more.
Exhibits on the history of the SD&A and other railroads.
Displays showing a wide sampling of the long and colorful heritage of railroading and associated culture.
Display of antique cars from members of the Horseless Carriage Club
Gift shop – Centennial Commemorative Program, souvenirs, and snacks.
SD&A Groundbreaking Festival (September 7, 2019)