Lance M. Fritz - elected UP President and Chief Operating Officer
the Union Pacific Railroad
Lance M. Fritz has become the new President of the Union Pacific
Railroad. At the Union Pacific family days event held on April
28, 2012 at the Orange Empire Museum, Mr. Fritz and John Ready
(General Superintendent of the LA Service Unit) visited the LARHF
display. Joe Lesser had the opportunity of explaining to them the
mission of the Foundation and its activities.
left to right - Lance M. Fritz, John Ready and Joe Lesser
left to right - Fritz, Lesser, Ready
Marvin Wait – A man who liked any train he saw!
A remembrance by Josef Lesser
Last May 2012, LARHF lost one of its dear friends and devoted
LARHF Board Members. I had many opportunities to share a variety
of railroad experiences with Marvin. We first met in 1999 at
the San Diego 3-Railers Club in the San Diego Model Railroad
Museum. The members decided that a new layout should be built.
Once a design was finalized we began the construction with a
fury! Marvin cut out the composite board roadbed curves for the
layout. He and his wife’s company, Doors Unlimited went on to
design, build and install display cases that would complement
the woodwork in the Toy Train Gallery.
San Diego 3-Railers Club – Marvin Wait
placing cut out curved roadbed
Photo by Mike Hays
LARHF Elects New President – Wendell "Mort” Mortimer
LARHF President, Wendell "Mort" Mortimer
aboard the No. 3751 special train seated in a Vista Dome car
on it’s way to San Diego.
Photo by Ceil Mortimer
Wendell Mortimer who likes to be called "Mort" is
quoted, "It is a great honor and privilege to have been
elected president of the Los Angeles Railroad Heritage Foundation.
It seems that my life as a railroad enthusiast has come full
Growing up with the railroads
"When I was 10 years old, I was president of the Southern
Pacific Junior Engineer’s Club. Sponsored by the Southern Pacific,
a dozen or so of us met monthly in a passenger car in Taylor
Yard, Los Angeles. We learned about trains, shared photos and
took field trips. Now, these many years later, I find myself
again leading a railroad organization, and I am very excited
about the future of this great group. We have had fine leadership
and have a great Board of Directors. As with any organization,
there are challenges and opportunities. For those who do not
know me, I will provide a brief background."
"I was born in Alhambra, and moved to South Pasadena when
I was three years old. My father was a lifetime rail fan and
held a master’s degree in Railroad Transportation from Harvard
University. All of our outings growing up centered on seeing
trains. I took photos and collected locomotive and interurban
numbers in little notebooks. In South Pasadena, we lived near
Pacific Electric’s Pasadena Short Line, and Southern Pacific’s
Pasadena line, which ran a steam freight train every week-day.
The Santa Fe and Union Pacific also went through town, so we
had plenty of opportunity to see railroads in action. Summers
we would take a long train trip in the United States and Canada.
My father and I built (but never finished) an HO gauge layout
in our ."train room.” The Pacific Electric interurban lines
were abandoned in our area in 1951, the railroads went from steam
power to diesel, and I left to go to college. My interest in
railroading was still there, but on the back burner."
Mort posing with the Zephyr Observation
Vista Dome car at the Los Angeles Union Station.
Photo by Ceil Mortimer
College & Career
After graduating from Occidental College, Mort worked in business
for two years and was drafted into the Army for two years. He
then went to University of Southern California Law School and
became a civil trial lawyer in Los Angeles for 30 years. He was
then appointed as a Judge of the Los Angeles Superior Court where
he served for twelve years. With more free time, he gradually
resumed his hobby of trains. A good friend of his from the third
grade who lives near Seattle, Jim Roodhouse, said that when we
retire, we should ride the trains in Colorado. Three years ago
they did just that, riding 14 trains in 12 days, and had cab
rides in both steam and diesel locomotives. It was Jim who put
him in touch with the people at the Los Angeles Railroad Heritage
Foundation. And Mort commented, ."And so here I am back
where I was many years ago in the same city where I was born."
LARHF Boy Scout Merit Badge Classes
Left – Boy Scouts in front
Photo 1 – Mark Wille showing a Merit Badge class
an actual piece of railroad equipment.
Photo 2 – J Keeley explaining to the class the
features of a streamliner passenger car.
Photo 3 – Gary McClain, a Union Pacific employee,
demonstrating railroad hand signals for a carman to communicate
with the train engineer.
Photo 4 – J Keeley showing the class, examples
if different track gauges in model railroading.
Earn your Boy Scout Railroading Merit Badge with
the assistance of the Los Angeles Railroad Heritage Foundation.
Beginning at 8:30 AM on a Saturday and ending by 3:30 PM, each
Scout attending the class and field trip will have completed
his Railroading Merit Badge requirements in accordance with the
Railroading Merit Badge Work Book and certified by a Merit Badge
The Foundation’s superb learning center gives each Scout
the opportunity of seeing multiple railroad displays and miniature
models complement the Merit Badge Booklet. The teaching staff
consists of an Eagle Scout who has taught and been involved in
railroading for over thirty years. Another staff member is presently
an employee of the Union Pacific Railroad and the team leader
has been involved with all facets of railroading his entire life.
A series of written learning aids called “Spikes” are
distributed to the attending groups for each of their Scouts
signed up for the class, to provide a solid background prior
to their class experience. The Field Trip part of the day begins
with lunch at a 100-year-old Los Angeles icon restaurant and
is followed by a ride on the MTA METRO Gold Line to Pasadena
Contact LARHF at (626) 458-4449 or email@example.com
for more details.
LARHF Opens 6th “Satellite”
LARHF's Number One Mission is public outreach. That is, to bring
to the attention of the public, casual interested parties both
children and adults, the importance of the railroad in shaping
the history of the greater Los Angeles basin! An idea over ten
years ago has shown that LARHF’s “satellite” displays
are attention getters in all kinds of places other than traditional
museums and locomotive equipment displays. The satellite’s
are installed where lots of people gather on a daily basis and
where else could be better than a busy restaurant?
The Barn Burner BBQ located at 1000 South Fair Oaks Avenue in
Pasadena is just such a place. LARHF opened its newest satellite
with an exhibit entitled Passenger Trains in Pasadena.
The Barn Burner BBQ just a few blocks north
of the Arroyo Seco Parkway (Pasadena Freeway) and south of Colorado
Avenue in Pasadena.
Photo from LARHF
Each satellite is located in the close proximity
of railroad activity, either today or in the past. The Pacific
Electric ran down the center of Fair Oaks Avenue and the Santa
Fe and Union Pacific closely paralleled the street. Today the
MTA METRO Gold Line runs directly behind the Barn Burner
Fair Oaks Avenue began right here at the Oneonta
Junction on Huntington Drive. This is a view looking north up
Fair Oaks Avenue photographed by Ralph Melching on New Years
Photo from the Ralph Melching Collection of LARHF
The archive photographs in the exhibit concentrate
on the Santa Fe Pasadena Depot operation: a photo of the earlier
depot used up to 1936 and a photo of the first Santa Fe Super
Chief train arriving at the depot. The model miniatures
display a Southern Pacific locomotive, the now famous “3751” steamer
and an early example of an Amtrak Southwest Chief.
The first LARHF satellite display at the Barn
Burner BBQ in Pasadena location offers some miniature model examples
of the passenger trains and their locomotives that pulled in
and out of the Santa Fe Depot in Pasadena.
Photo from LARHF
The exhibit Passenger Trains in Pasadena will
change on the first of September 2010 to a new display, Trolleys