“All aboard” could be heard loud and clear at the South Coast Railroad Museum’s annual Railroad Days celebration in Goleta on Sunday.
The two-day event, held on the museum grounds at 300 N. Los Carneros Road, wrapped up Sunday afternoon with excursions on miniature trains traveling around the property and tours of the landmark building.
The gathering commemorated the 118th anniversary of the historic Goleta Depot, which was constructed in 1901 by the Southern Pacific Railroad during completion of the coastal route joining Los Angeles and San Francisco.
It closed in 1973, eight years after the elimination of the local passenger trains had reduced the station’s workload to train orders and freight, according to the museum.
Goleta Beautiful Inc., a local nonprofit, took up the banner to save the structure in 1979.
In late 1980, a fundraising campaign got on track, with the creation of the Goleta Depot committee.
The landmark was moved in 1981 to its current home near Stow House to save it from demolition. The two-story, wood-framed depot is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the California Register of Historical Resources.
The South Coast Railroad Museum focuses on railway history and railroad contributions to local history.
“We are celebrating the rich history that railroads have in our community,” Steve Wagner, South Coast Railroad Museum board president, told Noozhawk. “We developed around the railroad when Southern Pacific started putting these depots in 1901. This was the hub of the community.”
Sunday’s festivities featured operating model railroad exhibits and displays, tours, antique train whistles and toy trains, and regional and local organizations providing information about rail travel, trains and railroad hobbies.
Neighbor Tim’s BBQ employees handed out free samples of mac n’ cheese and mouthwatering meat.
Singer and guitarist Rick Reeves entertained attendees, and the museum store offered train-themed games, books, toys, souvenirs and more.
For the first time ever, Megan Cassidy drove with her 2 1/2-year-old daughter from their Santa Barbara home to check out the South Coast Railroad Museum. She heard about Sunday’s event from a friend.
Corinne, Cassidy’s daughter, particularly enjoyed an inflatable bounce house.
“We had a little free time and wanted to check it out,” Cassidy said of the museum. “This is a fun place to come. I like that it’s not too crowded. You are dealing with hundreds of people anytime something is going on in Santa Barbara.”
The museum is open from 1 to 4 p.m. Friday through Sunday, and is closed Monday through Thursday.