Contains material generated and collected by William Oden while President of Short Line Enterprises. Emphasizes consulting
work for the California State Railroad Museum and for the State of Nevada.
This collection is arranged into the following series:
Series 1. PROJECT FILES
Series 2. SHORT LINE ENTERPRISES BUSINESS RECORDS
Series 3. GENERAL FILES
William Arthur Oden was a nineteenth-century
renaissance man who loved railroading and greatly valued
understanding nineteenth-century railroad construction and
construction techniques. Born on August 1, 1938, he built his own
live steam locomotive at an early age and operated it on the tracks
of the Los Angeles Live Steamers in Griffith Park. By the mid-1970s,
he was Manager of Product Development for Doughboy Recreational Pools
in Los Angeles with expertise in mechanical design, engineering and
product development of fluid control systems.
In 1967, Bill joined with three other Southern California railroad
enthusiasts - Logan Stan Garner, Ronald G. Steiner and Robert D.
Verkuyl - in a partnership, which became known as Short Line
Enterprises. With Bill Oden as President, Short Line accumulated
three operable nineteenth-century steam locomotives and eighteen
nineteenth- and early twentieth-century cars. The objective of the
four principals was to collect, restore and operate primarily 19th
century railroad equipment for purposes of preservation, excursions,
motion pictures and other commercial uses.
During 1974-1975, Bill Oden and Stephen Drew were consultants to the
Nevada State Railroad Museum. During 1976, they did similar
consulting reports for the California State Railroad Museum at Old
During the summer of 1976, Short Line Enterprises - with Bill as
daily locomotive engineer - provided the equipment for the Virginia &
Truckee excursion railroad operating out of Virginia City, Nevada.
Bill and his wife, Ronda, purchased a home in Virginia City. From
late 1976 through mid 1981, Bill was supervisor of railroad
engineering and restoration for the California State Railroad Museum.
For four years, Bill directed the staff of some 40 artisans who were
responsible for the accurate restoration of 21 locomotives and cars
for CSRM's Museum of Railroad History which opened on May 2, 1981 in
Old Sacramento. Beginning in mid 1981, Bill Oden assumed similar
supervisory responsibilities for the Nevada State Railroad Museum at
Carson City. Most of Short Line's important nineteenth-century
locomotives and cars were ultimately purchased by the Nevada State
Bill died of a heart attack in 1983 and is buried in the Virginia
City Cemetery - within view of the operating Virginia & Truckee
Railroad. At the time of his death, Bill Oden was survived by his
wife, Ronda, his mother, and two daughters from a previous marriage.
Copyright has not been assigned to the California State Railroad Museum. All requests for permission to publish or quote from
manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Director of Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of
the CSRM as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which
must also be obtained by the reader.