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Between 1985 and 1990 the Newhall Ranch Movie Train was used
in over seventy features, television series, commercials and
music videos. No Hollywood railroad location had ever amassed
that number of credits in so short a time. The track lease was
canceled in 1990 when Newhall Land decided to develop the surrounding
area in a way that was incompatible with the movie operation.
A search began for a suitable new location. After exploring all
potential sites in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino
and Ventura counties, the Southern Pacific’s (S.P.) Santa Paula
Branch in rural Ventura County was found to be the only line
that met the specific needs of the film industry. It also had
pastoral surroundings suitable for development of a passenger
excursion business. The S.P. still served two shippers at Santa
Paula, but was in the process of discontinuing service on the
remaining seventeen miles of track to the east.

Short Line initiated discussions with the S.P. to obtain an
operating lease and contacted the cities of Fillmore and Santa
Paula to determine their reaction to the idea of having this
type of operation in their communities. While both cities gave
positive responses, the City of Fillmore showed great enthusiasm
because Short Line’s proposal provided a theme to use in the
revitalization of its downtown area. The city offered incentives
to insure Short Line’s involvement, and in July, 1990 the collection
of equipment was trucked from Newhall Ranch to a storage site
on a private spur at the Fillmore-Piru Citrus Association in
Piru, California..

The City of Fillmore Redevelopment Agency purchased the thirteen-acre
station parcel in its downtown area from the S.P. in late 1990.
Building on the opportunity presented by Short Line’s involvement,
two urban planning firms were engaged to masterplan this parcel
and coordinate its development with the adjoining 1920-era Central
Business District. The objective – to create a major visitor
destination that features the Short Line Enterprises movie trains,
passenger excursions and dinner trains as the master theme for
the community redevelopment.

During the period between July 1990, when the equipment left
Newhall Ranch, and December 1992, Short Line did a limited number
of films on both the private spur and the city-owned track in
Fillmore. Two feature motion pictures were shot out on the branch
in October and November 1991, using 1906 steam locomotive #51
and several newly acquired 1920-era passenger cars. Because a
track lease was not in place, these films were done under S.P.
jurisdiction. The company also pursued various research, consulting,
appraisal and restoration projects, and company personnel served
as “train coordinators” on major feature films in Illinois,
Arizona and Minnesota, arranging to provide leased railroad equipment
and supervising the operation of this equipment.

The City of Fillmore and Short Line Enterprises executed a
two year operating lease with the S. P. effective December 31,
1992, whereby the city held the primary lease and Short Line
sub leased from the city. The two year time period was established
because the S.P. had started negotiations with the Ventura County
Transportation Commission for the sale of the entire line to
VCTC and it was expected the sale would be completed before the
lease expired.. The lease provided for a month-to-month continuation
should the sale not be completed within the two year time period.

Short Line Enterprises, doing business as the Fillmore &
Western Railway, operated movie trains and special excursions
from its rail yard in downtown Fillmore. The collection of company-owned
or leased equipment grew to include two steam locomotives, three
diesels, sixteen passenger cars and seventeen freight cars. This
enabled the company to assemble any type of train from the turn-of-the-century
to the present. This, coupled with the opportunities presented
by the new location and an outstanding reputation for professionalism
in the film industry validated the decision to pursue the Santa
Paula Branch and helped make the business very successful.

The VCTC purchased of the entire 29-mile Santa Paula Branch
from the S.P. (intended to preserve it as a future transportation
corridor) and the City of Fillmore Redevelopment Agency’s plan
to turn its quaint downtown area into a major railroad-theme
visitor attraction, offered a number of exciting business possibilities
for the future. To facilitate its growth, Short Line Enterprises/Ltd.,
transferred the limited partnership interests to the corporate
general partner, SLE, Inc. and renamed the company Short Line
Enterprises, Inc., a California corporation. This change was
effective December 31, 1994.

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