Lance M. Fritz - elected UP President and Chief Operating Officer
of the Union Pacific Railroad

Lance M. Fritz has become the new President of the Union Pacific Railroad. At the Union Pacific family days event held on April 28, 2012 at the Orange Empire Museum, Mr. Fritz and John Ready (General Superintendent of the LA Service Unit) visited the LARHF display. Joe Lesser had the opportunity of explaining to them the mission of the Foundation and its activities.

Gold Line “San Diego 3-Railers Club – Marvin Wait placing cut out curved roadbed

left to right - Lance M. Fritz, John Ready and Joe Lesser

Gold Line “San Diego 3-Railers Club – Marvin Wait placing cut out curved roadbed

left to right - Fritz, Lesser, Ready

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Marvin Wait – A man who liked any train he saw!

A remembrance by Josef Lesser

Last May 2012, LARHF lost one of its dear friends and devoted LARHF Board Members. I had many opportunities to share a variety of railroad experiences with Marvin. We first met in 1999 at the San Diego 3-Railers Club in the San Diego Model Railroad Museum. The members decided that a new layout should be built. Once a design was finalized we began the construction with a fury! Marvin cut out the composite board roadbed curves for the layout. He and his wife’s company, Doors Unlimited went on to design, build and install display cases that would complement the woodwork in the Toy Train Gallery.

Gold Line “San Diego 3-Railers Club – Marvin Wait placing cut out curved roadbed

San Diego 3-Railers Club – Marvin Wait placing cut out curved roadbed
Photo by Mike Hays

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LARHF Elects New President – Wendell "Mort” Mortimer

LARHF President, Wendell “Mort” Mortimer aboard the No. 3751 special train seated in a Vista Dome car on it’s way to San Diego.

LARHF President, Wendell "Mort" Mortimer aboard the No. 3751 special train seated in a Vista Dome car on it’s way to San Diego.
Photo by Ceil Mortimer

Wendell Mortimer who likes to be called "Mort" is quoted, "It is a great honor and privilege to have been elected president of the Los Angeles Railroad Heritage Foundation. It seems that my life as a railroad enthusiast has come full circle."

Growing up with the railroads

"When I was 10 years old, I was president of the Southern Pacific Junior Engineer’s Club. Sponsored by the Southern Pacific, a dozen or so of us met monthly in a passenger car in Taylor Yard, Los Angeles. We learned about trains, shared photos and took field trips. Now, these many years later, I find myself again leading a railroad organization, and I am very excited about the future of this great group. We have had fine leadership and have a great Board of Directors. As with any organization, there are challenges and opportunities. For those who do not know me, I will provide a brief background."

"I was born in Alhambra, and moved to South Pasadena when I was three years old. My father was a lifetime rail fan and held a master’s degree in Railroad Transportation from Harvard University. All of our outings growing up centered on seeing trains. I took photos and collected locomotive and interurban numbers in little notebooks. In South Pasadena, we lived near Pacific Electric’s Pasadena Short Line, and Southern Pacific’s Pasadena line, which ran a steam freight train every week-day. The Santa Fe and Union Pacific also went through town, so we had plenty of opportunity to see railroads in action. Summers we would take a long train trip in the United States and Canada. My father and I built (but never finished) an HO gauge layout in our ."train room.” The Pacific Electric interurban lines were abandoned in our area in 1951, the railroads went from steam power to diesel, and I left to go to college. My interest in railroading was still there, but on the back burner."

Mort posing with the Zephyr Observation Vista Dome car at the Los Angeles Union Station

Mort posing with the Zephyr Observation Vista Dome car at the Los Angeles Union Station.
Photo by Ceil Mortimer

College & Career

After graduating from Occidental College, Mort worked in business for two years and was drafted into the Army for two years. He then went to University of Southern California Law School and became a civil trial lawyer in Los Angeles for 30 years. He was then appointed as a Judge of the Los Angeles Superior Court where he served for twelve years. With more free time, he gradually resumed his hobby of trains. A good friend of his from the third grade who lives near Seattle, Jim Roodhouse, said that when we retire, we should ride the trains in Colorado. Three years ago they did just that, riding 14 trains in 12 days, and had cab rides in both steam and diesel locomotives. It was Jim who put him in touch with the people at the Los Angeles Railroad Heritage Foundation. And Mort commented, ."And so here I am back where I was many years ago in the same city where I was born."

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LARHF Boy Scout Merit Badge Classes

The Barn Burner, A typical Texas type BBQ joint

Left – Boy Scouts in front of LARHF

Below
Photo 1 – Mark Wille showing a Merit Badge class an actual piece of railroad equipment.
Photo 2 – J Keeley explaining to the class the features of a streamliner passenger car.
Photo 3 – Gary McClain, a Union Pacific employee, demonstrating railroad hand signals for a carman to communicate with the train engineer.
Photo 4 – J Keeley showing the class, examples if different track gauges in model railroading.

Repairs in progressTrain Repairs

Repairs in progressTrain Repairs

Earn your Boy Scout Railroading Merit Badge with the assistance of the Los Angeles Railroad Heritage Foundation. Beginning at 8:30 AM on a Saturday and ending by 3:30 PM, each Scout attending the class and field trip will have completed his Railroading Merit Badge requirements in accordance with the Railroading Merit Badge Work Book and certified by a Merit Badge Counselor.

The Foundation’s superb learning center gives each Scout the opportunity of seeing multiple railroad displays and miniature models complement the Merit Badge Booklet. The teaching staff consists of an Eagle Scout who has taught and been involved in railroading for over thirty years. Another staff member is presently an employee of the Union Pacific Railroad and the team leader has been involved with all facets of railroading his entire life.

A series of written learning aids called “Spikes” are distributed to the attending groups for each of their Scouts signed up for the class, to provide a solid background prior to their class experience. The Field Trip part of the day begins with lunch at a 100-year-old Los Angeles icon restaurant and is followed by a ride on the MTA METRO Gold Line to Pasadena and back.

Contact LARHF at (626) 458-4449 or jlatsf@gmail.com for more details.

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LARHF Opens 6th “Satellite”

LARHF's Number One Mission is public outreach. That is, to bring to the attention of the public, casual interested parties both children and adults, the importance of the railroad in shaping the history of the greater Los Angeles basin! An idea over ten years ago has shown that LARHF’s “satellite” displays are attention getters in all kinds of places other than traditional museums and locomotive equipment displays. The satellite’s are installed where lots of people gather on a daily basis and where else could be better than a busy restaurant?

The Barn Burner BBQ located at 1000 South Fair Oaks Avenue in Pasadena is just such a place. LARHF opened its newest satellite with an exhibit entitled Passenger Trains in Pasadena.

Barn Burner BBQ

The Barn Burner BBQ just a few blocks north of the Arroyo Seco Parkway (Pasadena Freeway) and south of Colorado Avenue in Pasadena.
Photo from LARHF

Each satellite is located in the close proximity of railroad activity, either today or in the past. The Pacific Electric ran down the center of Fair Oaks Avenue and the Santa Fe and Union Pacific closely paralleled the street. Today the MTA METRO Gold Line runs directly behind the Barn Burner building.

This is a view looking north up Fair Oaks Avenue photographed by Ralph Melching on New Years Day 1937.

Fair Oaks Avenue began right here at the Oneonta Junction on Huntington Drive. This is a view looking north up Fair Oaks Avenue photographed by Ralph Melching on New Years Day 1937.
Photo from the Ralph Melching Collection of LARHF

The archive photographs in the exhibit concentrate on the Santa Fe Pasadena Depot operation: a photo of the earlier depot used up to 1936 and a photo of the first Santa Fe Super Chief train arriving at the depot. The model miniatures display a Southern Pacific locomotive, the now famous “3751” steamer and an early example of an Amtrak Southwest Chief.

The first LARHF satellite display at the Barn Burner BBQ in Pasadena

The first LARHF satellite display at the Barn Burner BBQ in Pasadena location offers some miniature model examples of the passenger trains and their locomotives that pulled in and out of the Santa Fe Depot in Pasadena.
Photo from LARHF

The exhibit Passenger Trains in Pasadena will change on the first of September 2010 to a new display, Trolleys in Pasadena.

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