The Los Angeles Live Steamers

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The Los Angeles Live Steamers

The Los Angeles Live Steamers is the largest and most park like of all of the live steam facilities in the SoCal area. The club property is within LA's Griffith Park right next to Travel Town. The club has been at its present site for 42 years. Membership is open to anybody who will pay nominal dues and contribute labor to the upkeep of the facility. More information about the LALS is available at the LALS FAQ page. Membership forms are available by mail from the address on the FAQ page.

The Los Angeles Live Steamers maintains a web site which contains some more information about the club.

The club operates for the public every Sunday from 11 AM to 3 PM. All train rides are free, but donations are accepted.

There are three main lines on the route map, one in 1.5" scale (7.5" gauge), a shorter one in 1" scale (4.75" gauge) with some dual tracked to 3.5" gauge and a 3.5" gauge line. The 1.5" scale line runs as a large folded loop around and through the property. The smaller lines run within the main loops. There are numerous steamup bays for all gauges with transfer tables and turntables to move equipment around. Pneumatic jacks assist in loading and unloading equipment from their owners trucks and trailers.

LALS welcomes any kind of motive power, as long as it will fit on their tracks and pass a safety inspection. There was lots of live steam that burned coal or propane, "diesels" that ran on gasoline or batteries, and traction that was battery powered.

Most of the equipment is privately owned, but the club owns some engines and stock. Members without their own equipment can use the club equipment to transport the public during the Sunday public operations. To earn storage space in the car barns, members must contribute a period of annual volunteer labor and then rent the storage track at $3.50/ft/year.

The pictures below are links to more and larger pictures and text along the same themes as the picture shown.

I didn't get enough information about some of these engines while I was there. If you would like to contribute any text to annotate the photos, please E-mail me.

Bill on his Mogul updated 31 Dec 00
Bill Brunner told me about the Spring 1999 meet where many of these pictures were taken or I wouldn't have known about it. He brought his engine out to stretch its legs. There were lots of other live steam engines running as well.
club PA-1 updated 31 Dec 00
This club owned PA1 is brand spanking new. The road foreman of engines was giving it a test run. The engine is gas powered with a hydraulic transmission. All wheels are powered and the engine has easily enough power to spin them.
PE Redcar There was a variety of traction equipment running at the open house. This PE red car model ran quite well.
Picnic area updated 21 Jan 01
The LALS facility is built in a grassy park area with large trees and abundant shade. The facility is located between Travel Town and the Los Angeles Zoo. Due to its inland location next to the LA river at the mouth of the San Fernando valley, it can get quite hot in the summer. The shade is very welcome. The day I was there, "June Gloom" abounded, it was overcast and cool. This will change soon.
large truss bridge new 31 Dec 00
The LALS Facility has numerous bridges, trestles and tunnels. Considerable effort has been made by club members over the last 40 years in constructing and maintaining these substantial structures.
signal bridge updated 20 Jan 01
The LALS facility uses a completely automatic block control system with signals that are interlocked to turnout positions and detect train occupancy in the first and second blocks ahead. Several types of signals and signal supports are in use. Photos of all of them aren't here yet, check back later if you are interested.
large scale display layout new 31 Dec 00
There are large scale trains at the LALS too. A permanent large scale display layout has been constructed for the public to view at Sherwood Station.
can crusher

The LALS operates an operating display of live steam stationary engines. These vary from the one used to crush cans in this photo to occasional displays of miniature steam engines. On meet days, other special displays may be set up.

The Steam Plant photo shows a backside view of Willie Wilhelm in conversation with a visitor. Willie has been very instrumental in the construction and restoration of the plant and the antique equipment. He designed and built the 'Steam Powered Aluminum Can Crusher' which is used during the meets to squash all of the aluminum cans that are collected at the facility in preparation for recycling

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© 1999-2002 George Schreyer
Created May 29, 1999
Last Updated September 21, 2002