Rod Diridon retires as president of California Trolley and Railroad Corporation

Cindy Chavez takes the throttle to lead CTRC’s historic preservation
September 9, 2014
San José, CA

Rod Diridon, Sr., has retired from his presidency of the California Trolley and Railroad Corporation (CTRC), a position he has held since 1980, when he founded the organization. The CTRC board of directors elected Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez to lead the organization. Her position became effective at the board’s annual meeting on August 21. Coincidentally, the Corporation’s History San Jose Kelley Park historic trolley site and the County Fairgrounds locomotive reconstruction and museum material storage facilities are in Supervisor Chavez’ district. She also served on the CTRC launch team.

Ms. Chavez is an honors graduate of San Jose State University, earning her degree while working part-time for several of the County Supervisors. She has been heavily involved in local community and political programs, and she served two terms on the San Jose City Council, including one as vice mayor. After she was “termed out,” Ms. Chavez became executive director of the regional AFL/CIO Central Labor Council before her election to represent the Second Supervisorial District. She is married to Mike Potter, a local government affairs manager for Cisco. Their son Brennan loves railroads.

CTRC raised nearly $4 million to help acquire and reconstruct several historic vehicles – nine trolleys, four locomotives, two cabooses, two Harriman passenger cars, and several other pieces of rolling stock. The Corporation is 85 percent complete in rebuilding the County's Pacific Model Locomotive #2479. CTRC has more than $300,000 in an endowment, along with a balanced annual budget. The organization is always welcoming and training new volunteers to operate and maintain the trolleys.

In his retirement remarks, Mr. Diridon said, “As its legacy, CTRC has been a tremendous success creating over $30 million in capital facilities and donating more than 400,000 hours to create, maintain, and operate those facilitates at no taxpayers' cost. The way forward under new President Chavez is well planned, with fine volunteer and financial support. My desire is to be one of those volunteers working to implement our shared vision of preserving the best of the past to create a better future.”

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Established in 1982, the California Trolley and Railroad Corporation (CTRC) is a non-profit organization that preserves and reflects the rich legacy of rail transportation in the Santa Clara Valley for educational and recreational benefit. Among its numerous projects is the restoration of Southern Pacific steam locomotive 2479. CTRC has also restored a number of historic trolley cars. A major undertaking is to create the San Jose Steam Railroad Museum with the former sixstall Lenzen Roundhouse and turntable.