The Railroad

As you look around our facility, most everything you see, including the trains, were built by members of the Los Angeles Live Steamers Railroad Museum. We even planted the trees and the grass. The money to pay for the materials came from donations and through fund raising from our members and local businesses. The railroad is constantly being improved and enlarged.

Here are the things that comprise our railroad.


Our railroad’s main line is about 1½ miles long. We have built and installed over 23,000 feet of track. We use steel rails. The ties we use are made from recycled plastic. Each section of track takes many hours to construct. Before the track is installed, the ground must be carefully prepared so that the track is level and straight. In addition to the track, we have two turntables, 44 steaming bays for engine preparation and maintenance, and two power hoists to raise and lower trains for storage or transit by car or truck.



A switch or turnout is a specially designed track that allows a train to move from one track to another track. On our railroad, there are over 80 switches and many of them are electrically operated. Our members build these switches using the same techniques used by full-size railroads.



For safety and efficiency, our railroad is controlled by a fully automatic, electronic signal system. The signal system detects the location of all trains and automatically controls the red, yellow, and green electric signals. Over 80 electric signals are installed throughout the railroad. The railroad is divided into areas or “blocks”. Each block is controlled by the nearby signals. Building and maintaining the signal system is a full-time job. We also have a restored railroad “high-ball” signal located near the Sutchville Station, and an operating semaphore signal located near the water tower along Zoo Drive.



The railroad has over 395 feet of steel and concrete bridges. The 216-foot steel and truss bridge (O’Brien-Moore Bridge) located at the west end of the track was built with over 16 tons of steel. The center section of the bridge was constructed off site and transported to Griffith ark by truck. A crane was used to place the bridge on its concrete piers. The three concrete tunnels measure about 112 feet combined.



As you enjoy your ride through the park, you’ll notice 3 miniature towns, 2 water towers, a roundhouse, 3 train stations, a coal tipple (loading facility), 2 control towers and many other buildings and displays.

Track view