Made in the Valley: Hillcrest Trains

Wednesday, October 10, 2018
Made in the Valley: Hillcrest Trains
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Made in the Valley: Hillcrest Trains

REEDLEY, Calif. (KFSN) -- The magic of a real-life steam train comes alive throughout the year at Hillcrest Farms.

"You know what's funny? Reedley, in the train world, Reedley is known around the world due to the shop," said owner Sean Bautista.

Bautista owns Hillcrest Farms and its small trains with big heart.

"We design and build all of our railroad things like train cars, switches, track, turntable, trestles bridges, tunnels, it's all designed here, all built here."

But the shop in Reedley does not just support the trains at Hillcrest Farms. They do work for clients around the world.

"A famous amusement park in Southern California that also has branches over the world. We've done a couple of engine restorations for them, where we bring in their locomotive and tear it down to nothing and create a whole new locomotive that looks exactly the same," said Bautista.

The team has also made trains for celebrities and worked with governments around the world including the Caribbean island nation of Trinidad and Tobago.

The trains are all designed with state of the art software and about seven full-time employees tinker away.

"Our customers tend to be either wealthy hobbyists, business consortiums like an amusement park, or a public municipality like the San Francisco's Zoo or Fort Collins, Colorado or Roeding Park in Fresno," said Bautista.

RELATED: Iconic Wawona Farms train to soon have new Valley home at Storyland & Playland

It can take 20,000 manpower hours to create a locomotive by hand. It's a labor of love for a lost art.

"A steam engine is like a breathing animal. It inhales, exhales," said Bautista.

During the weekends in October and December, thousands get a chance to see that magic first hand at Hillcrest Farms.

Right now the line is about 1.7 miles long, but there are plans to double that. It could be ready next year for Valley residents to enjoy this timeless tradition.

Click here to see more products that are Made in the Valley

SkyView30 gives us a birds-eye view of the steam trains at Hillcrest Farms in Reedley