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Travel Town Visit and Train Ride 10/16/2016

by Chris Guenzler

Robin and I next drove to Travel Town for our final stop of the day.

Travel Town Museum

Travel Town Museum is a transport museum dedicated on December 14, 1952, and located in the northwest corner of Los Angeles, California's Griffith Park. The history of railroad transportation in the western United States from 1880 to the 1930s is the primary focus of the museum's collection, with an emphasis on railroading in Southern California and the Los Angeles area.

East Valley Lines

Located behind a roll-up door in the main exhibit hall, the East Valley Lines Model Rail-Road N Gauge Club operates their extensive layout.

Miniature train excursions

Tickets can be purchased to ride the Travel Town Railroad, a 16 inch gauge miniature railway for two circles around the museum grounds. This railway originally ran a train known as the Melody Ranch Special, which was once owned by Gene Autry. Its namesake originates from the Gene Autry film Melody Ranch. The passenger coaches are now covered and the original steam engine (which was sabotaged beyond economical repair) has been replaced with Courage, a chain-driven internal combustion motor housed within a facade representing a steam locomotive. This railroad is one of three miniature railway train rides within Griffith Park. The others are the 18 1/2 inch gauge Griffith Park & Southern Railroad and the 7 1/2 inch gauge miniature railway at the Los Angeles Live Steamers Railroad Museum. The latter is independently operated.

We walked into Travel Town and started looking around.

Los Angeles Railway Horse flat car built in 1880.

Southern Pacific Atlantic 4-4-2 3025 built by American Lomotive Company in 1904. It is the only surviving Atlantic built for the Southern Pacific and was the first standard gauge locomotive to be displayed at Travel Town.

Santa Maria Valley Railroad Mikado 2-8-2 1000 built by American Lomotive Company in 1920, originally Hetch Hetchy Railroad 4. This 68-mile railroad was built by the City of San Francisco to develop the O'Shaughnessy Dam on the Tuolumne River in Hetch Hetchy Valley, Yosemite, California. In 1930, 4 was sold to the Newaukum Valley Railroad, a line owned and operated by the Carlisle Lumber Company in Washington State running between Napavine to Onalaska. There, it was re-numbered 1000. In 1944, the engine was sold to the Santa Maria Valley Railroad, a 10 1/2 mile shortline serving oil refineries in Santa Maria, California, as well as hauling produce to the Southern Pacific's mainline at Guadalupe. The Santa Maria Valley Railroad donated 1000 to the museum in 1953 as it dieselised.

Southern Pacific 0-6-0 1273 built by Southern Pacific in 1921. It worked in the Sacramento yards for most of its life logging over 1,500,000 miles in 35 years service. Retired in 1956, it was donated to the museum by the railroad in 1957.

Los Angeles Harbor Department 0-4-0T 31 built by Davenport in 1921. This saddle tank locomotive was purchased to work on the ongoing development of the Los Angeles Port of San Pedro, mainly on the island of Catalina hauling rock from the quarry to the shore, but also on the main land. Destined for the scrap yard, 31 was identified as a candidate for the museum's collection and was donated by the Los Angeles Harbor Authority in 1953.

Los Angeles Harbor Department 0-4-0T 32 built by American Locomotive Company in 1914. The saddle tank locomotive worked on the Port of San Pedro harbor development.

Pickering Lumber Company Heisler 2 built by Heisler in 1918 as Hetch Hetchy Railroad 2. It worked on the O'Shaughnessy Dam on the Tuolumne River in Hetch Hetchy Valley. In 1923, 2 was sold to Standard Lumber Company, which later became Pickering Lumber. It was donated to the museum in 1957.

Camino, Placerville & Lake Tahoe 3-Truck Shay 2 built by Lima in 1922, originally Little River Redwood Company Railroad 4. The CPLT ran eight miles from Camino in the Sierra Nevada Mountains east of Sacramento to a connection with the Placerville Branch of the Southern Pacific at Placerville, California. It was primarily a lumber-hauling line owned by the Michigan-California Lumber Company.

Western Pacific 2-8-0 26 built by American Locomotive Company in 1909. The C-43s served the railway through World War II and were retired in the late 1940s and early 1950s. This steam engine was donated to the museum in 1954.

Sharp & Fellows Railroad Contractor Prairie 2-6-2 7 built by American Locomotive Company in 1902. It worked on building the Santa Fe Railway system through Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona and California. During World War I, 7 worked at Camp Kearney in San Diego and during World War II, it worked at various ordnance depots, including Fort Wingate, New Mexico, and the Navajo Ordnance Plant at Flagstaff, Arizona.

Stockton Terminal and Eastern 4-4-0 1 built by Norris-Lancaster in 1862 and was one of ten bought by the Western Pacific, who lettered them "A" to "J", this particular one being "G". It was sold to the Stockton, Terminal and Eastern Railroad in 1914 and became 31.

Pacific Electric steeplecab 1544 "Electrica" was built by North Shore Railroad in 1902 at their Tiburon shops in Sausalito, California. The Pacific Electric used 1544 as a work locomotive and switcher at various locations in the Los Angeles area. It last worked at PE's Torrance repair shops until it was retired in 1952 and donated to the museum two years later.

Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authotity 1543 built by American Car and Foundry in 1911.

Oahu Railway and Land caboose 1 built by Oahu Railway and Land Shops circa 1900.

Union Pacific 0-6-0 4439 built by Baldwin in 1918. During its early career, it worked in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Later, it served on the Los Angeles Harbor Belt line until its operation was ended on the order of the Air Pollution Control Board in 1957.

Conrock 0-6-0T 1 built by American Lomotive Company in 1925 for the Reliance Rock Company. The company was consolidated into the Consolidated Rock Products Company in 1929. 1 worked on the three-mile standard gauge railroad connecting the quarry to a connection with the Southern Pacific until it was retired in 1955 at the order of the Smog Control Board and replaced by a diesel. It was donated to Travel Town in 1958.

Santa Fe Motor Car 177 built by Pullman Company in 1929. Motorcars, nicknamed "doodlebugs", combined three functions of railroading into one vehicle: motive power, passenger seating and baggage compartment. This functional consolidation efficiently served branch lines by saving the railroads the costly operation of an entire train with locomotive and half-filled cars. The baggage compartment of the M.177 served not only as baggage and freight compartment, but also as a Railway Post Office and as a refrigerator car (by sitting perishables on metal plates with ice blocks). Doodlebugs, like M.177, were the life blood along the smaller veins of the Santa Fe system serving small, rural communities in Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas from the Depression through the Korean War. Although M.177 did not operate in Southern California, one of the cars from the same order, the M.181, did work Santa Fe's Los Angeles-San Bernardino run for many years. The M.177 last operated on a line between Pampa, Texas, and Clinton, Oklahoma, in October 1953, when retired to Topeka, Kansas, where it remained until its donation to the Travel Town Museum in 1958.

Los Angeles Railway open streetcar 405 built in 1890 and currently numbered 57.

California Western RS-12 56 built by Baldwin in 1955.

Santa Fe Railroad 2-8-0 664 built by Baldwin in 1899 as Santa Fe 891. In 1910, it was loaned to the Pecos & Northern Texas Railway, but returned to the Santa Fe after only one year. It worked on Santa Fe's Northern, Southern, Panhandle, Plains and Gulf Divisions and was in active service when donated to Travel Town in 1953.

The wig wag crossing signal and California Western RS12 56.

The semaphore signal and Travel Town 42 ton switcher 1 "The Charley Atkins" built by Electro-Motive Division in 1942 for the United States Navy.

Municipal Railways of San Francisco cable car 28 built before 1900.

A Travel Town scene. I then bought tickets to ride the train; I would take the first trip and Robin would take the next.

Here is the train we rode here.

Views from my train ride at Travel Town. I met Robin, gave him his ticket and then I would photograph his train.

A wood carving of Casey Jones. My first photo location would be on the bridge entering the park.

The train passing beneath my photo location. I then moved to down by the fence for the second passing of the train.

The train came by my lower photo location and it looked as though Robin was really enjoying himself. He met me and we drove back to Santa Ana where we called it a day. It had been another great day of riding smaller trains but we both loved doing it.