After more than 50 years of running the Grizzly Flats Railroad right in his back yard, Ward Kimball is preparing to hear the whistle blow for the last time.
The retired Walt Disney Co. animator is donating the line--two real, full-sized working locomotives, a passenger car, a boxcar, a flat-bottomed gondola and a wooden cattle car--to the Orange Empire Railway Museum in Riverside County. The museum also plans to display the Grizzly Flat's Victorian-style depot, windmill and water tower, as well as 900 feet of track--all currently behind Kimball's home in an unincorporated area near San Gabriel.
"I wanted to find a place for it while I could still get around," said the 76-year-old Kimball, who has been playing with trains ever since he and his wife, Betty, bought a locomotive from the Nevada Central Railroad in 1938 and shipped it to their house. "I wanted to be involved in the project and to ensure that Grizzly Flats had a good home."
The museum has about 140 pieces of railway equipment, including some of the old Red Car trolleys operated in Southern California by the Pacific Electric Railway from the early 1900s through 1963.