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.
1/8th scale or 1½” to the foot scale or 7½” gauge between the rails is what you are riding on today. You will also see 1″ scale or 4¾” gauge between the rails, and ¾” scale or 3½” gauge between the rails. Members use three different riding scales in enjoying their hobby. The newest scale at the Museum is “G” gauge. This is a large outdoor garden railway that members run just across from New Sherwood Station.
If a steam locomotive is pulling your train, you will notice that the engine has a fire, smoke, and is actually running on steam. Our steam locomotives may be burning coal, fuel oil, or propane. The typical locomotive operates with about 120 pounds of steam pressure. Just like the full-sized engines, our steamers use lots of water and require constant maintenance and attention. The water used in the steam engines is specially treated by our water treatment system.
If a diesel-type locomotive is pulling your train, it is probably powered by a gasoline engine that is coupled to a transmission with a hydraulic drive. Some of our diesels are powered by electric motors, just like the real locomotives. These engines are very quiet and smooth running.
You may also see electric locomotives on the railroad. Most often, these engines are generally powered by storage batteries. Just like electric automobiles, they must be recharged when the batteries wear down. Our electrics may be models of trains operated years ago by Pacific Electric in Los Angeles, engines operated by major railroads, and even some that probably never ran at all!
The rolling stock that we use for your train trip is probably center bench cars or gondolas, both with a caboose. All of the cars use machined wheels that have flanges and tire profiles just like real trains. Trucks are made up of the wheels, axles, side frames and bolster. Most of the trucks on our rolling stock have ball bearings and functioning springs that carry the loaded cars. You may even see freight cars on some trains during your trip. These freight cars generally don’t carry passengers, and most have a working function just as the prototype!