Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Earlier in the year, a work trip took me out to California. On the way back to LAX airport, we had to make a detour to avoid a traffic problem. As the cab passed over a railroad I spotted an old steam locomotive but unfortunately, we were going too fast for me to get a photograph.

A quick internet search led me to the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society.

This month, I was asked to visit the client again and as it was a longer trip I thought I’d give the society a visit over the weekend.

The historical society is a collection of relocated buildings based around the old Saugus Train Station which was moved to the site in 1980. The society’s aim is to “collect and preserve the stories and artifacts which relate to local history”

The locomotive is #1629 and was donated to the society in 1982 by the cowboy styled actor/singer Gene Autry. It’s known as a Mogul because of it’s wheel formation, 2 small wheels at the front followed by 6 driving wheels, 2-6-0. Just above those wheels is a large compressed air tank for driving the air-brakes which was a relatively sophisticated feature at it’s time.

Common to many of the engines of the area the Mogul has been converted oil power so the firebox is sealed up and the tender is a large round oil tank. The gauges have been removed but there are still some of the controls present such as the large regulator lever in the middle. The locomotive also still has a bell which proved popular with the kids (small and large) whilst I was there. There are also controls for electric lighting in the carriages.

The lot was also a great place to watch trains and I saw the double decker “Metro” and a 4 engine goods train.

Unofficial Collection

The tour guide recommended visiting a couple of the houses at the end of the lot and on my way, I spotted a range of agricultural equipment in an overgrown area. My favourites were the pillar drill and the small mine cart, there were also a couple of different tractors and a powered rotavator.

Historical Collection

Inside the old station building, tucked away behind the gift shop was their historical collection. It’s not labelled so I recommend taking up one of the guides offer for a tour. I’d already discussed track and railroad spikes with the engine guide outside so it was good to see those close up. The tool behind those was for pulling the ends of track together. At the back of the museum was a fantastic diorama model with a detailed dredger. I also spotted a small engine tucked away in a corner.


As it had been a nice day I wandered up to Newhall to see the “Historical Clock” I’d found on google. 

Later, Leon from the Historical Society pointed out that it was a relatively new addition to the town.

On my trip back to the hotel I spotted a great selection of road vehicles including an Austin Metropolitan which looked tiny in comparison to the local cars.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available