Travel Town

Travel Town is a collection and museum of Historical Train Engines and Cars. These have been donated by many groups over many years. Mostly steam engines Travel Town also has selections including a few diesel engines. They also have cars and engines from the Los Angeles Streetcar named Pacific Electric Railway network. Yes, the world-famous Los Angeles streetcar network. Yes, street cars in Los Angeles. At one time in the 1920’s 1930’s LA had one of the biggest streetcar networks in the world. Passengers could ride the cars from San Fernando to Long Beach and as far as Redlands and Newport Beach. There was a line to Mount Wilson where there was at one time the largest telescope. 5000 ft+ overlooking the Los Angeles basin. Got to be one of the world’s greatest fog watching spots. You can see all the way to Orange County and maybe it’s not a London or San Francisco fog. But you don’t have a 5000 ft mountain right in that fog. Early morning watching the fog come in and fill the basin is a great natural sight.

A funny thing is although I’m not going into the conspiracy or legal aspects of the plot the movie Roger Rabbit summed it up well. The Oil companies helped bring in cars into replace the street cars. Now the side the movie does not bring up is people wanted the automobile too. Freedom to where and when you wanted. So I believe a lot of what happened was just change that happens on Earth. Usually with good and bad results, but Gerald(me) here is a move ahead type person who loves to drive. But it is an interesting look at History.

The Exhibits

Now I do not go to Travel Town here often enough but I do have a special connection. Since my Father, 4 Uncles, one Grandfather and a cousin were all railroad engineers. Many of these are older than my uncle and father they are diesel that are from an older era. I do not know if my father ran any of these him and my uncles did run older steam engines when they were young Of, course the main attraction here is the Historic Steam Engines. They go from around the turn of the 1900’s to 1950-60 era diesel engines. They have a couple of cars from the Pacific Electric Railway of street cars. My Grandfather ran these engines on the Pacific Electric Railway and The picture below is a LA street car, or as they were known a Big Red Car.

travel town image of la street cars routes

Some great old steam engines are on display here. They start in the early 1900’s and have some later engines that ran into the after the war era. My father ran some late model steam engines when he was a young trainman in the early 1950’s.

Two Stories


When I was 3 years old my parents were thinking of moving the family to Australia. This was based on whether my Dad was going to get trained on Diesel Engines. Since he was steam certified and they were still running steam engines he was thinking of getting work in Australia. My dad had been to Australia in the navy and really liked the country. But he got Diesel certified and we happily stayed in USA.


old steam engine exhibit

Although I am not sure whether my father ran any of these models here now My brother tells a story about we were here when I was little and a man was telling his son how the train operated. My dad politely said, “First the Engineer sits on the right side of the engine”. The man gave my dad the “How do you know” comment. According to my brother my dad told him “Since I have rum this exact model, I think I know” And the man being normal father said, “son any questions ask this man”, lol

Steam Engine

This picture above is a typical display at Travel Town. Built in 1904 it is before my father was working but it is in great shape at Travel Time. The 4-4-2 wheel alignment is 4 little wheels for turning, then 4 big driving wheels and two under the cab. This was how steam engines were grouped or classified. This train was used on the Coast train between San Francisco and Los Angeles. That run, well the part from LA to Santa Barbara and then later San Luis Obispo was a run my dad worked on many years.

cable car in san Francisco

This is a great place to spend some time alone or with the family. Located in Griffith Park there are other attractions including the Los Angeles Zoo. Also, it is a relaxing area around the engine displays. Some trains allow you to climb in the engine and cee the inside. So kids will like this too. Believe me as a son and relative of engineers there are train buffs everywhere and of every age. It may not be a day adventure but there is other attraction in the area. But a few hours can be historically very interesting.

My Grandmother

Beside all my uncles etc. being railroad engineers my grandmother was one of the early women working as a conductor on San Francisco Street Cars. During the war she worked doing this job. Not the first but she was pretty high on the list of Female Conductors. I am very proud of her. There are no exhibits here, but I think she earned the mention. I nice Historical Trip and you get a real idea of how big the old locomotives really were.

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