Welcome to Friends of the Santa Maria Valley Railroad

The mission of the Friends of the Santa Maria Valley Railroad (SMVRR) is to preserve, improve, and interpret historical and contemporary aspects of the SMVRR. We provide our members and the public with educational programs such as history, current business practices, and trends related to railroading in general and the SMVRR in particular. Friends also conducts various activities to get us out into the field. Friends is a 501(c)(3) tax-deductible organization. See About.


Coming Up:



May 20, 2017

Friends Dinner Gala at Santa Maria Fairpark. This year's event we will be honoring George Lavacot and his restoration of the SMV Steam Engine 205, which was on display at the Fairpark for many years. See #205 pics taken July 2015. Also the Santa Maria Valley Railroad will be presenting the 3rd Annual Railroad Public Safety Award. Proceeds from the fundraiser will be used for acquiring an SP sugar beet car, the lifeblood car for the Santa Maria Valley Railroad for many years. Doors open at 5:30, event starts at 6:00. Once again a Santa Maria style tri-tip, chicken and rib dinner will be catered by Cool Hand Luke's. Tickets are $75.00 per person, a reserved table of 8 for $600. See last year's gala.


Recently Completed:



April 8-9, 2017

Friends Private Car Excursion from San Luis Obispo to Los Angeles. Board the Business car Tioga Pass and lounge car Overland Trail for a private excursion on the back of the Coast Starlight leaving San Luis Obispo at 3:30pm. Arrive in Los Angeles and stay at the Miyako Hotel. Spend some time in Japantown the next day and board a private bus back to San Luis Obispo. Total is $450.00 per person plus hotel room. Cost includes full service on the train including meals and drinks prepared by the Business Crew used by the Santa Maria Valley Railroad for their private customer and business excursions. Seating is limited.

March 22, 2017

"Chinese Workers building local Railroads". Phil Tillman will be speaking about the role of Chinese workers who built local railroads on the Central Coast including parts of the Santa Maria Valley Railroad. Phil discusses some of the trials and tribulations the Chinese went through. This program will be held at the Santa Maria Library's Shepard Hall (421 S. McClelland Street). Doors open at 5pm. Admission is $5, or free if you grab dinner from the Cafe right next to the Hall. The program will start at 6pm.

February 11, 2017

Work Day at the Santa Maria Valley Railroad. 8am-1pm. Friends members get a chance to volunteer for various hands on tasks such as sorting and inventorying parts and equipment, restoring equipment, sorting and cataloging documents. Must be a Friends member, wear appropriate clothing if working outside or in shops, come early to check in. Photos.

January 25, 2017

"Santa Maria Valley Railroad's Vision for the Future". Santa Maria Valley Railroad's President Rob Himoto will be revealing some of the long term visions and goals of the Santa Maria Valley Railroad. This program will be held at the Santa Maria Library's Shepard Hall (421 S. McClelland Street). Doors open at 5pm. Admission is $5, or free if you grab dinner from the Cafe right next to the Hall. The program will start at 6pm.

October 8, 2016

President Himoto's Talk at the Railroad Festival. Rob Himoto, president of the Santa Maria Valley Railroad, will present "The Local Shortline Railroad" at the San Luis Obispo Railroad Museum during the Central Coast Railroad Festival. Rob's presentaion begins at 11am on Saturday, October 8, 2016 at the Museum.

October 1, 2016

Friends Volunteer Work Day. If you are interested in some hands-on work, sorting and preserving artifacts and parts, cleaning and restoring equipment and tools, or sorting and inventoring documents, magazines, join us at the Osburn Yard at 8:30am for a safety briefing. If you plan on working in the yard area, we require basic safety attire, safety glasses, safety boots, long pants, etc. We will serve lunch at noon. You must be a Friends member to volunteer.

September 21, 2016

Your Community Your Railroad. How to be a railroad advocate in our community. At this Friends of the Santa Maria Valley Railroad's presentation hosted by the Santa Maria Valley Railroad, Rob Himoto, president, will be talking about the trials and tribulations the Santa Maria Valley Railroad has in regards to city and local government interactions. He will be talking about how you can help be an advocate in getting local municipalities and governments to understand the important role that a local community railroad plays as an economic engine. This program will be held at the Santa Maria Library's Shepard Hall (421 S. McClelland Street). Doors open at 5:30pm. Admission is $5, or free if you grab dinner from the Cafe right next to the Hall. The program will start at 6pm. Please RSVP by calling 805-922-7941 or email newsinfo@smvrr.com.

August 27, 2016

Friends BBQ at the Railroad. Saturday August 27 from 11:00 to 3:00 will be the annual Friends BBQ at the Santa Maria Valley Railroad. This will be your opportunity to tour Santa Maria Valley Railroad's new transload yard located at the corner of A Street and La Brea Street. Our customary Santa Maria style tri-tip BBQ with tours of Santa Maria Valley Railroad's newest facility. This is a secured facility, please RSVP and bring a photo ID to check in. Our BBQ lunch is a $10.00 donation for the Friends preservation and acquisition fund.



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