This locomotive was built in 1907 by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in Philadelphia, PA for the Henry Cowell Lime and Cement Company of Cowell, CA. The locomotive, originally dubbed "Engine No. 3" and its sister engines were used to haul rock from the company's quarry to the crushing mill, a distance of three miles. In 1952, "No. 3" was sold to the South San Francisco Scrap Metals Company, where it was used to move other pieces of railroad equipment around the scrap yard.
In 1960, Charles Pollard of Vista, CA, bought "No. 3" and extensively modified its appearance to resemble much older steam engines of the 1870s. He operated the locomotive, then called the "Robert E. Lee," on the grounds of his machine shop. When Pollard died in 1966, the locomotive and various other pieces of rolling stock and railroad equipment were purchased by John S. Porter of Poway. Porter built a small station, house and shed for the train and operated it on his land which today comprises part of our park. Mr. Porter died in 1980, ending the operation of his "Poway Village and Rattlesnake Creek Railroad." In December of 1987, the City of Poway purchased the Porter property - lock, stock and locomotive.
The locomotive and its tender have been restored to full operational condition by the Poway Midland RailRoad Volunteers. Restoration, certification and testing were completed early in 1997 and the locomotive made its inaugural PMRR passenger run on July 4, 1997.
The Train Song Festival featured live traditional music inspired by the history and culture surrounding railroads. CJ didn't much want to sit around and listen to them. Too many trains to see!
There exists a special connection between trains and music. The sounds of the railroad, the pounding of the steel wheels on the steel rails and the blast of the steam whistle seem to flood the mind with musical inspiration.
He wanted to head over to the tracks, to hear the clickety-clack and get a close look at the train speeding by I thought, but when we got there he asked for some pennies. He hasn't outgrown wanting to put them on the tracks and let the train squish them either! Do they ever outgrow that?