Celebrate Train History

Banning Centennial Train Festival Celebrates

History and Impact of Railroads on Banning


By Mary Ann Melleby

A Banning Centennial Train Festival will be held on Saturday, October 19 from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Sunday, October 20 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at several locations in Banning. Sponsored by the Banning Centennial Celebration, the event will present over 15,000 square feet of historical model train layouts and exhibits that are open to the public. All-venue wristbands are $5.00 with youth ages 12 and under free of charge. Union Pacific Railroad is the presenting sponsor of the event.

As part of the event, Joe Warren, volunteer chairman of the train festival, model railroad enthusiast and local railroad historian, will lecture on the Southern Pacific railroad and its depots, with a special emphasis on the Banning depots, Saturday, October 19 at 7 p.m. at the Dorothy Ramon Learning Center, 127 N. San Gorgonio Avenue in Banning. Cost is $5.00 with youth free.

Become a Vendor


Participating Model Railroad Groups

Antelope Valley N’ Scalers
Free-mo LA
Group 160
Inland Empire Modular Railroaders
Kerk Circus
Mile Post 535
N-Trak Express
Orange County Module Railroaders
Orange County O-Scalers
Orange County “N”Gineers
Pacific Coast Modular Club
Toy Train Operating Society – Southern Pacific Div.

Train Festival attendees will learn about Banning’s railroad history through various exhibits and displays of current railroad and transit operations. The event will also include model railroad presentations, hobby clinics, operating scale model railroads, a model train and railroad collectible/antique swap meet and information booths. A free self-guided model railroad layout tour will be provided. Other highlights include a “how to” clinic on improving and repairing model trains, information of interest for railroad hobbyists, a riding train for children and food vendors.

A Glimpse of What to Expect

dominobanning's Centennial TrainFest album on Photobucket

“Attendees to the Banning Centennial Train Festival can expect to see craftsmanship and historical preservation and have fun with the whole family,” said Joe Warren, event organizer. “The swap meet portion of the event will be a great opportunity for those considering getting started in model railroading or for those who are just interested in adding or selling their collection of railroad-oriented items,” he added.


On Saturday, Oct. 19 at 7 p.m., Joe Warren will be the featured October lecturer. Buttons like the one he’s wearing will be available for sale during TrainFest weekend.

“The Train Festival celebrates Banning’s heritage as a railroad town,” said Barbara Hanna, chair of the Banning Centennial Celebration. “Because the railroad was instrumental in the creation of Banning, it is appropriate that we honor that history during our centennial year,” she said. “We are delighted that Union Pacific Railroad will serve as our major sponsor for this event,” she added.

TrainFest Hobby Clinics

Plan to attend our hobby clinics. Download the schedule.

Train Festival locations are:

Banning Community Center, 789 San Gorgonio Avenue: Community Center (railroad exhibits and hobby clinics), Gymnasium (operating modular railroads), Senior Center (railroad exhibits and vendors), Swimming Pool Office (model contest and model display)

Life Point Church, 565 N. San Gorgonio Avenue: model train and railroad collectibles/antique swap meet and expo; Saturday only from 8 a.m. – 12 noon.

Nicolet Middle School, 101 E. Nicolet Street: Gymnasium (operating modular railroads)

Repplier Park, San Gorgonio Avenue at George Street: food vendors and riding train for children

Dorothy Ramon Learning Center, 127 N. San Gorgonio Avenue: Joe Warren historical lecture, “The Impact of Trains on Banning,” Saturday, October 19 at 7 p.m. Cost: $5.00 with youth free. Dessert included.

Model railroad clubs presenting operating model displays include: Antelope Valley N’ Scalers, Free-mo LA, Group 160, Inland Empire Modular Railroaders, Kerk Circus, Mile Post 535, N-Trak Express, Orange County Module Railroaders, Orange County O-Scalers, Orange County “N”Gineers, Pacific Coast Modular Club, Train Operating Society – Southern Pacific Div.

For more information about the Banning Centennial Train Festival, contact Joe Warren at (951) 321-9744.

Mary Ann Melleby, a Banning resident since 2003, is an elected member of the board of directors of the San Gorgonio Pass Water Agency. She worked in the field of public relations for 32 years in the areas of health care and water.

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