SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - A rebuilding plan has begun after the CZU August Lightning Complex Fire ravaged the area of the Santa Cruz hills where the Swanton Ranch is located.
The land was given to Cal Poly by Al Smith, who was also one of the founders of Orchard Supply and Hardware.
Several buildings and vintage rail cars were destroyed.
NewsChannel was on the scene during the fires, talking to residents in multiple communities in the fire zone.
One described the ranch area as a significant loss.
Dave Spencer said, "They are are historic trains, priceless treasures. There was a roundhouse there, four of them, they're gone, they are melted metal now. So it was a tragic loss for railroad history."
The Swanton Ranch says the locomotives were spared because they were not in the fire zone and going through repairs.
That will help with the rebuilding process of the Smith house, car barn, roundhouse and numerous other buildings.
A web page post says:
The Swanton Pacific Railroad serves as an operational memorial to Al Smith who acquired and relocated the trains to the Swanton Pacific Ranch. The rolling stock consists of three one-third scale Pacific-type steam locomotives that were built for the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition, a diesel switcher locomotive and a variety of passenger and maintenance of way railcars.
For more information on how you can help with the recovery go to: Cal Poly - Swanton Ranch.