In Ventura County’s Santa Clara River Valley, there is a railroad line that runs roughly between Piru and Santa Paula, with Fillmore as its base. Most trains run on Saturdays and some Sundays, with most trains running from Fillmore to Santa Paula, stopping for sufficient time for passengers to see the Santa Paula Agricultural Museum or the California Oil Museum. On the way back, there is a stop at the Loose Caboose, where one can buy locally grown fruit, olives, and honey as well as see cockatiels, parakeets, peacocks, koi, and goats.
We got an acceptable lunch on the Powhatan Dining Car on the train, and sat back as we rolled past hundreds of fruit orchards. (Santa Paula considers itself the citrus capital of the United States.)
The Fillmore & Western Railway is essentially a fun enterprise. If you’re expecting 100% authenticity or haute luxury, you will be disappointed. Your four-hour journey will be restful and low-key. Many of our fellow passengers seemed to be retired farmers, who had interesting things to say about the farmland through which we passed.
Fillmore and Santa Paula are only about a dozen miles apart, but Martine and I had a good time and would consider coming back.