The Mount Diablo Surveyors Historical Society

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RailFair99 ©1999 California State Railroad Museum & David Ziemienski

Railfair '99®

Part of the

California Gold Rush to Statehood Sesquicentennial
Celebrating 150 years of California History

Event sponsered by the

California State Parks; California State Railroad Museum Foundation; City of Sacramento; County of Sacramento; Union Pacific Railroad

California State Railroad Musuem in Old Sacramento, CA

June 18-27, 1999


Railfair! The name itself suggests the breadth of the celebration - a grand fair celebrating railroads and railroading. In this country, the great railroad fairs have become distinguished by enormous displays of operating railroad equipment, interpretive exhibits and large theatrical railroad productions. Railfair '99 will be no different.

A ten-day celebration of railroading will be held at the California State Railroad Museum in Old Sacramento, California, June 18-27, 1999. Railfair '99 is part of the California Gold Rush to Statehood Sesquicentennial - celebrating 150 years of California history and highlighting the future of the great State of California - which will offer a glimpse of the dynamic role railroads and rail transit will play in the 21st Century .The romantic era of the steam locomotive is long past, but every day, railroaders, the inheritors of a long and honorable tradition of service, still run the trains on which America depends. Railfair '99 will celebrate their history and the important part the railroads played in building the Golden State.

As in 1981 and again in 1991, this will be the railroad event to attend. Over 20 locomotives are expected, as well as several other pieces of visiting railroad equipment. Numerous activities, exhibits and re-enactments of historic events will also characterize Railfair '99. Exhibitors List

Railfair '99 is being held in conjunction with the annual meetings of the Railway and Locomotive Historical Society and the National Railway Historical Society. These two conference~ will include numerous railroad excursions throughout the state during the week of Railfair '99.

What is next for Railfair? Visit the museums "Railfair Events, Past, Present, Future" web page at to find out.

To learn more about the sponser of this event visit their web page:
California State Railroad Museum Foundation:


Railfair '99

By: Hal Davis and Michael Foley

This was the third railfair event presented by the California State Railroad Museum. Railfair '99 was hailed as "The Last Great Rail Event of the Millennium." Over 20 guest locomotives were on hand, as well as several other pieces of visiting railroad equipment. Numerous activities, exhibits and re-enactments of historic events also characterized Railfair '99.

The Mount Diablo Surveyors Historical Society provided one of those exhibits. The official program describe the exibit as Surveying: Surveyors camp and wagon, displays and demonstrations will be conducted by the Mt. Diablo Surveyors Historicial Society. Antique survey equipment and and exibit about surveying and the people who mapped the West and laid the groundwork for the Transcontinental Railroad. In the Stanford Gallery.

From June 18 -27 in Old Sacramento, numerous individuals helped staff the MDSHS booth at Railfair '99. These individuals include: Duncan Marshall, David Goodman, Francois "Bud" Uzes, Ellis Veatch, Myles Pustejovsky, Earl & Gara Cross, Alan Dubach, Ken Lewis, Jim Crossfield, Mike Tumrose, Hal Davis, Hans Haselbach, Peter Friedmann, Michael Foley, Don Foley, and Mark Van Zuuk and MDSHS member Linda Carruthers also came by to say hello (Others may have attend to help out but were missed in the final list. If you were left off the list, let us know).

THANK YOU TO ALL that helped!!! This lengthy exhibit was very well attended with thousands of people. The weather was HOT all week, but our exhibit was fortunate to be located in Stanford Galley in the BIG FOUR BUILDING on I Street, one of the buildings with air conditioning. This made it almost comfortable.

The exhibit was very well received by everyone who passed by. Occasionally the question was asked, "Why Surveyors?" In return, the questioner was asked, "What must you have before you can build the railroad?" Then they understood. Hal mentioned he had lots of questions on surveyors and surveying, and he thinks that they sent the people on their way happy and better informed on what surveys did in the past, and surveyors presently do. Along with the dialog, individuals were given one of the MDSHS flyers to inform everyone of the importance of the Mount Diablo Initial Point.

Railfair '99 consisted of over 50 steam and diesel locomotives, passenger cars, steam wrecking crane, Union Pacific bus, fire engines, inspection cars, and a wide variety of booths, all pertaining to the railroad. Over the ten days, it was estimated that over 180,000 individuals from the public and 1200 volunteers participated, in addition to all of the booths. A big thank you should go to the California State Railroad Museum Foundation and the Double Tree Hotel for supplying the MDSHS one FREE room each night along with FREE shuttle transportation to and from Old Town.

Special mention to Hal Davis, Michael Foley, David Goodman, Hans Haselbach, and Bud Uzes for loaning personal equipment, in addition to the MDSHS equipment for this special display. Bud personally supplied over thirty items ranging from an 1852 Wm. J. Young Solar Compass, numerous photographs of railroad survey crews to many books related to railroads. One interesting item was a railroad tie level used to set cross slope between the rails. For a full list of Bud's surveying instruments on loan for this exhibit, click here. To see a list of equipment loaned by Hans for this exhibit, click here.

It was not all work for our volunteers. During breaks they had the opportunely to take in the full event, demonstrations on constructing a rail car from scratch in the 10-days, exibitions on track laying and also watch and listen to the Bucking Bar Lining Gang as they keep time to traditional cadences and folk chants while they "work on the railroad". Dignitaires (in costumes) Teddy Roosevelt, Theodore Judah and the Big Four (Charles Crocker, Collis P. Huntington, Mark Hopkins and Lealand Stanford) will address the crowd while the likes of W.C Fields, May West, Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton stroll the grounds. Locomotives, too many to name here incuded the California High-Speed Rail Authority's bullit train, TV's Thomas the Tank Engine, to the Union Pacific's Challenger No. 3985, the largest operating steam locomotive in the world and live entertainment on five stages. Saturday evening a "Crew Party" or thank you party was held including a BBQ Dinner and a short program to thank everyone for their volunteer efforts with appreciation award certificates, including MDSHS. Also on behalf of MDSHS our Chairman, Duncan Marshall received a special thank you letter from the Exhibit Coordinator and Assistant.

Special thanks should go out to David Goodman, Duncan Marshall, and Bus Uzes for setting everything up on Thursday, the day before the fair opened. The breakdown crew Sunday night consisted of Don Foley, Michael Foley, and David Goodman. Duncan Marshall should be commended on his efforts for coordinating all of our volunteers for the full week. Again THANKS TO ALL! ! !

Article reprinted from the 15th edition (July 1999 Volume 8 Number 2) of the Mount Diablo Surveyors Historical Society Newsletter with additional information added. ©1999, 2013 Hal Davis and Michael Foley, MDSHS. All rights reserved.


Please scroll down to view photographs of this event/exhibit...

RailFair99 logo ©1999 California State Railroad Museum

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Looking for a surveyor?
Come right in, were open.
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Late 19th centruy transit.
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MDSHS Display Case #1
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MDSHS Display Case #2
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U.S. Government Land Office
Transportable wagon.
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Michael & Don Foley show the MDSHS colors.
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Don Foley
w/1850's compass.
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Theodore Dehone Judah's
personal compass and equipment on display at the museum.
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The Golden Spike
Photograph of Golden Spike Ceremony at Promontory, Utah, May 10, 1869.
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The Buckingham Bar Gang
demonstrate driving spikes.
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Graham County Railroad No. 1925
blows off steam at the turn table.
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Stanford Galley in the Big Four Building our home for 10-days.
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Thomas The Tank Engine
entertained young and old alike.
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Kelso Forest Railway No. 6
& Mattole Lumber Co. No. 1
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BNSF #4419
Brand new, barely two months old.
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California State Railroad Museum's
round house & turn table.
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Teddy Roosevelt
Address the crowd.
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Crew party
Saturday night, thanks for coming.
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The 1800' Ladies Oratorical
entertain the crowd.
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Smokey Knott and the Bolweeviels
sing "He's in the jail house now!"
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The "Big Four"
close out the show.


There is no official web site for Railfair '99. A search engine search (such as Yahoo or Google) will return many websites with photographs and detail information about the event. There are also several YouTube sites.

The Mount Diablo Surveyors Historical Society wish to thank Peter S. Scott and Sharon Parigini of the California State Railroad Museum & Foundation for inviting us to this event. The MDSHS display committee Chairman for this event was Duncan Marshall. Photographs by Michael J. Foley, ©1999 MDSHS. All rights reserved.

Railfair '99, the Railfair logo and artwork are copyrighted and trademarks ©1999 California State Railroad Museum, all rights reserved, used with permission.

MDSHS - Mount Diablo Surveyors Historical Society
A California non-profit public benefit corporation organized under
IRS 501(c) (3) (Federal #8916806802, CA 1835904).
Website designed by and maintained by Michael J. Foley
Page last updated September 15, 2013
Copyright ©1999, 2013 MDSHS