Driver and passenger got back into the car before driving a short distance and parking. The caved in door which was pushed in enough to do major damage to a toy train display inside the museum. The bicycle the driver ran over is shown on the left of the truck.
Witnesses who were visitors from Orange County were on hand at the time of the accident to the Fillmore Railroad Visitor Center building and were able to take pictures of the truck which allegedly ran over a bicycle before plowing into one of the building's door. An unknown woman was thrown from the truck but is shown running back to the vehicle.
He built his son a larger layout board, which was 10 by 10
feet with a crawl hole in the center and he used a 0 gauge
track. A pair of 022 switches, a second line and 622
Switcher was also added to the old steamer and the F3’s. Two
trains could now run at once with one on the siding. Gerry
remarked, “My friends and I would spend most of the summer
vacation running my layout.”
After turning 15 years of age, and his interest turning to cars and girls, the trains were put away and the big layout folded down against the wall. A year or two went by and Gerry decided he needed a welding torch more than a toy Lionel train, so he sold the it all to a young kid for $100. Gerry said he heard the train had been set up outside and it had all ruined. “It was sad, however, Tim Kelly, my life long friend, had a 1947 Lionel 671 locomotive with six freight cars Kelly had received around that time. The set included a Lionel ZW 275 watt transformer, a 164-log loader, two or three Marx accessories and a pair of 022 switches. When Tim went into the army he gave the train to Mathews, and still has the complete set today. The train was incorporated into the layout at the railroad museum.
“Because I had Tim’s trains, I set out to replace the toys I had sold to buy the welder. I collected a few, but for twenty years the trains sat in my attic. I would get them out and run them for a few days then put them away without doing anything to them. I have replaced all of the trains and accessories and a few locomotives are on loan from members,” Mathews said.
In 1993, Gerry saw a layout in a toy train magazine. He built the display and after a few modifications the result was the present layout at the museum.
The train starts at a given point, climbs over itself, reverses direction, goes around again passing the point of origin, only going the opposite direction. It crosses over itself again, reverses again and returns to the starting point, all without having to throw a switch. The train actually made four laps to complete the trip.
The damaged layout is L shaped and measures 12 by 8 feet and is designed to easily come apart for storage and moving. The display was moved in 1999 to the bank building at the corner of Main Street and Central Avenue. After 18 months it went into storage again until the Fillmore Fire Department moved into their new quarters and the railroad museum took over the old fire station. The layout was reassembled and added a five by nine foot freight yard, capable of operating two trains and all the mechanical, animated accessories, as well a providing track for guests to run their trains.
Don Creasy of San Pedro did the mountain/tunnel scenery and Mathews did the flat land work. Decorating and painting took a long time and searching for just the right type of dirt and dry vegetation to make the landscape, trees, and bushes also took a lot of time.
The project is an ongoing endeavor and would never be finished because of all the new ideas to incorporate into the work of art.
Prior to 1960 the Lionel Corporation made all of their trains in America. The time period of the display is around the 1950’s; it is not to scale because it is a toy train.
The scenery has included many places, which are or were at one time, found in and around Fillmore. Some of the places are the old S&D Dairy, the Limoneira/LaCampana Ranch, R & R’s Arena, the old Arundel Cabin, Fillmore High School’s “F” on the mountain, the old Fillmore Depot, the Town Theatre, the Bardsdale Church, Mathew’s cabin at Piru.
Children and adults could easily see the entire display from an elevated walkway. As many as 100 people would stop by each day over the weekends. The damage done to something which gave so many people true enjoyment is heartbreaking, Mathews said.
An effort to locate the unknown juvenile suspects who threw the rocks is still being investigated.
Deputies said it is a felony to throw rocks at moving vehicle and it is also a felony to use a vehicle to try and scare or cause intentional harm to someone. Sheriff’s investigation in the matter is continuing.
An arrest has not yet been made involving the vehicle accident
which occurred on Friday, Oct. 28, 2005, at approximately 4:05
p.m. in the 400 block of Main Street.
The building damaged in the incident used to be the Fillmore Fire Department but is now leased from the city to house the Santa Clara Valley Railroad Historical Museum.
A 17 year old male was driving the family truck west bound on Main when several young males allegedly threw rocks at the victim’s truck striking the vehicle. The driver then lost control of the truck and crashed into one of the metal doors driving it into a large toy train display causing major damage, according to Fillmore Sheriff’s Deputies.
The exhibit, owned by long time resident Gerry Mathews, was hit causing it to fall to the floor and ruining a great portion of the replica of old Fillmore. Mathews stated the dollar amount is probably several thousand dollars, however, you can’t really put a dollar value on something which has taken years of work and the work was still continuing today. One of the building’s three doors also had major damage and may have to be totally replaced.
The history of Mathew’s trains and display started when he received his first train in about 1945, during WWII. Unsure of where his father got the train, Mathews is sure it was a pre-war Marx 027. Toys, of any kind, were hard to get at that time because of the war effort.
“I have a picture of my dad, sister and I playing with the train. It consisted of a locomotive and four passenger cars on an oval track. Judging from the background in the photo, it was Christmas at my Grandfather’s house in Los Angeles. I know it was my train because I recall playing with the train in my bedroom until the transformer burned out. I know it was before 1948,” Gerry said.
“About 1951 I was able to get a used pre-war Lionel 027 locomotive and four freight cars. My dad built a plywood board which folded up against the garage wall when I was not playing with the layout. Dad had me do all the track and wiring work. I learned from experience. I decorated the display with home made signs and Log Cabin syrup cans. I used toy cars on chalked roads and an old live steam engine for a factory,” Gerry continued.
Mathew’s said his dad saw he was still interested in trains so he found a used Lionel Santa Fe F3 AA with some freight cars.
Railroad Museum's Toy Train Display Badly Damaged By Teen Driver