Not far from San Jose in Vasona County Park, there is this special train, “The 2 Spot.” This steam powered train was built in 1905. Yeah, over 100 years ago. Number 2, a one third scale steam train, began running in Venice Beach, California. After several years of service, it eventually found itself in a junk yard where local railroad worker Billy Jones found it in San Francisco bound for a scrap yard in 1939. He purchased it, restored it, and ran it for free for children to ride on Sundays around his Los Gatos farm for the rest of his life.
After his passing in 1968, friends and neighbors created a non profit to move it and keep it going at nearby Vasona Park where it continues to run today. It is pretty cool to ride this train and kids love it. The attraction to the tracks is great and so there are now five trains working to help spread the work load. Number 2 comes out mostly on weekends during the summer months. All of the trains are interesting so it is a treat to see and ride any of the four that are there to pull visitors for only $3 a ride.
I like to get excited about all of the trains but find it especially exciting to ride number 2, this bit of history from 1905 that has carried children and adults for decades. I love when it chugs hard to move up the gradient of the park. Walt Disney heard of this train and visited Billy Jones before Disneyland was a reality. They became friends. The logo, still used today, for the Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad was designed by a Disney animator. Billy himself was there at the opening of Disneyland to run their train on July of 1955.
It’s a special ride, for sure.