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“Rail Giants Train Museum, Pomona, California”
The Rail Giants Train Museum is located at the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds in Pomona, California. The collection contains two of the four surviving 3-cylinder steam locomotives, UP #9000 and SP #5021, as well as the largest diesel locomotive, a Union Pacific “Centennial.” A headline feature of the museum is the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway train station built in 1887 featuring it’s gingerbread Victorian architecture, which was moved from Arcadia, California, in 1969. Inside is displayed a collection of historic railroadiana. Of important note, the famous Union Pacific “Big Boy” steam locomotive No. 4014 was housed at the museum for 52 years after its retirement. On May 14, 2019, this historic locomotive was returned to active life reclaiming its prior home on the rails between Ogden, Utah, and Cheyenne, Wyoming, as part of the Union Pacific railway system.
Sample steam locomotives exhibited at the the Travel Town Museum.
Scroll below for larger views and detailed descriptions of each engine.
Open: Second Weekend each Month 10:00-17:00 (Sat,Sun)
Open: During September LA County Fair 10:00-21:00 (Wed,Thu,Fri,Sat,Sun)
Featured Steam Locomotive Engines Displayed at the Rail Giants Museum
Fruit Growers Supply Company Steam Locomotive No.3
This unusual locomotive was the Rail Giants Museum’s first acquisition, coming to Pomona in 1954. It was donated by Sunkist Fruit Growers Supply Company, a sister company of Sunkist Growers, Inc. No. 3 is a Climax style, geared locomotive and was used on the Fruit Grower’s logging railroad at Hilt, California. This type of geared locomotive was once popular, along with the more widely used Shay and lesser-used Heisler locomotives, on the tortuous, rugged logging railroads in the western states of the USA at the time. All six axles on the locomotive are powered through a series of gears and shafts that are driven by the inclined cylinders on each side. This one is unusual in that it has a three-truck wheelset, while most had only two. Compared to a conventional road locomotive, the flexibility of the Climax made it ideally suited for the rough terrain of the logging railroad lines of yesteryear.
Wheel Alignment: Climax – 3 truck — Cylinders: 12.5×14 — Driver Diameter: 35″ — Weight: 130,000
Builder: Climax Manufacturing Co — Build Date: 1909 — Construction No. 932 — Tractive Effort: 9562
Boiler Pressure: 180 — Fuel: Oil — Gauge: Standard
Copyright © Glen Allison
Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Steam Locomotive No.3450
This Hudson-type locomotive No. 3450 was presented to the museum in 1955 by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. Designed for high-speed passenger service, it was the first of ten similar 4-6-4 locomotives built for Santa Fe in 1927 at a cost of almost $74,000 each. In its early days, 3450 charged across the mid-western plains pulling sleek, transcontinental passenger trains. It was rebuilt in 1937 and again in 1947 with more modern appliances, including disk-type 79-inch drivers that made the locomotive capable of speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour. The engine was later assigned to service in California’s San Joaquin Valley, running between Bakersfield and Oakland. The massive 20,000-gallon tender was a 1952 addition. In its final year, No. 3450 was featured in the 1954 comedy, “Living It Up,” starring Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. Mileage exceeding 100 times the distance around the Earth was accumulated by this engine by the time it was retired in 1953.
Wheel Alignment: 4-6-4 — Cylinders: 25×28 — Driver Diameter: 79″ — Weight: 352,600
Builder: Baldwin Lomotive Works — Build Date: 1927 — Construction No. 59993 — Tractive Effort: 43,300
Boiler Pressure: 230 — Fuel: Oil — Gauge: Standard
Copyright © Glen Allison
A Trailblazer to the Frontier
The former Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe was one of the largest railroad companies in the United States. Chartered in Kansas as the Atchison and Topeka Railroad Company in 1859, it later had a great influence on the settlement of the southwestern US. Its founder was Cyrus K. Holliday, a Topeka lawyer, and business promoter, who sought to build a railroad along the Santa Fe Trail, a 19th-century trading route that ran from Independence, Missouri, to Santa Fe, New Mexico. The railroad’s mainline to the Colorado state line was completed in 1872.
By the 1890s the railroad had further expanded to reach more than 9,000 miles, but it lost some of this mileage in a reorganization brought on by the financial crisis of 1893. Under Edward Payson Ripley, it’s president from 1895 until 1920, the Santa Fe flourished and grew to more than 11,000 miles of track. And by 1941 it had more than 13,000 miles but shrank gradually thereafter. In 1968 the company became a subsidiary of Santa Fe Industries. In 1983 the company agreed to merge with the Southern Pacific Transportation Company but the merger was rejected by the ICC in 1987. Subsequently, the Southern Pacific rail system was sold off in 1988 and in the next year, the Santa Fe parent company became known as simply the Santa Fe Pacific Corporation. But then in 1995, it merged again into the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation (BNSF).
Before it was acquired by the Burlington Northern Railroad, the Santa Fe Railway covered twelve states, with most of the trackage in the midwestern and southwestern portions of the US. Its freight revenues came principally from intermodal traffic, farm and food products, chemicals, motor vehicles, and industrial raw materials. The days of its famed passenger trains such as the “Super Chief” were largely over by 1970, and it sold its passenger service to Amtrak in 1971.
United States Potash Company Steam Locomotive No.3
This locomotive is an excellent example of the turn-of-the-century narrow gauge engines that were used on many shortlines of the West. No. 3 was originally built for the 36-inch, narrow-gauge Morenci Southern Railroad, an 18.4-mile line in Southern Arizona. When the line was abandoned in the 1930s, No. 3 was bought by United States Potash for use on their private, ore-hauling railroad in Carlsbad, New Mexico, where it was used in daily service until 1948. It was donated to the museum in 1956 by the United States Borax and Chemical Corporation (formerly U.S. Potash). The engine has its tiny drive wheels located inside the frame of the locomotive, while the counterbalances and rods are located outside the frame.
Wheel Alignment: 2-8-0 — Cylinders: 17×20 — Driver Diameter: 40″ — Weight: 134,000
Builder: Baldwin Locomotive Works — Build Date: 1903 — Construction No. 21882 — Tractive Effort: 21,495
Boiler Pressure: 175 — Fuel: Oil — Gauge: 36″
Copyright © Glen Allison
Narrow Guage – The Workhorse of the Railroad
Since narrow gauge railways are usually built with smaller radius curves and smaller structure gauges, they can be substantially cheaper to build, equip, and operate than standard gauge or broad gauge railways, particularly in mountainous terrain. The lower costs of these railways mean they are often built to serve industries and communities where the traffic potential would not justify the costs of building a larger gauge line. Narrow gauge railways also have specialized use in mines and other environments where a very small structure gauge is necessary. On the other hand, larger gauge railways generally have a greater haulage capacity and allow greater speeds than narrow-gauge systems.
Historically, many narrow-gauge railways were built as part of a specific industrial enterprise and were primarily industrial railways rather than general carriers. Some common uses for these narrow-gauge railways were mining, logging, construction, tunneling, quarrying, and the conveying of agricultural products. Extensive narrow-gauge networks were constructed in many parts of the world for these purposes. Significant sugarcane railways still operate in Cuba, Fiji, Java, the Philippines. They were also extensively used in Taiwan, South Africa, Mexico, Switzerland, Queensland, Australia, and in Tasmania. The national railway systems of countries such as Indonesia, Japan, and New Zealand are primarily or solely narrow gauge. Additionally, the trench railways of the World-War-I-era Western Front also demonstrate a brief military application of the narrow gauge advantage.
Southern Pacific Steam Locomotive No.5021
This Southern Pacific 4-10-2 locomotive was presented to the museum early in 1956. It was originally designed for passenger service to pull trains up the steep grades on Southern Pacific’s “Overland” route. Engine No. 5021 is the only remaining member of the forty-nine sister engines that were built between 1925 and 1927. They were used for both passenger and freight service primarily on the line from Sacramento to Reno in California. But the long driving wheelbase proved detrimental to the rails on that line and all the locomotives were subsequently assigned to other portions of the system from Portland, Oregon, through Arizona and New Mexico and all the way to the end of Southern Pacific’s Coast Lines, which terminated in El Paso, Texas. This locomotive’s last revenue service was between Portland and Eugene, Oregon, in 1955. The engine is a three-cylinder locomotive, which means she had a third cylinder located between the two main cylinders. This powered a connecting rod to the second axle of the drivers. These locomotives had a distinctive six-beat exhaust sound, quite different from conventional steam locomotives. They also has a trailing truck booster consisting of two small cylinders, which could be engaged to help propel heavy trains. No. 5021 is the last one of its type and is one of four remaining examples of this three-cylinder configuration known to exist in the United States.
Wheel Alignment: 4-10-2 — Cylinders: 26 & 28×32 — Driver Diameter: 63″ — Weight: 445,000
Builder: Alco (Schenectady) — Build Date: 1926 — Construction No. 66793 — Tractive Effort: 84,200
Boiler Pressure: 225 — Fuel: Oil — Gauge: Standard
Copyright © Glen Allison
The Railroad that Won the West
The Southern Pacific Railroad was established in 1861 by the same “Big Four” group of Sacramento businessmen who had financed the Central Pacific Railroad. It received its charter in 1865 and began to build a branch line across the Central Valley of southern California to connect with the mainline. By the 1870s it had become the more important of the two companies and subsumed the Central Pacific in 1884. It was granted substantial public lands for the construction of its lines and became such a powerful concern in California that it was attacked as an “octopus” reaching into all aspects of the state’s life. In more recent times, it relinquished most passenger services in 1971 when it merged with the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad in 1988. In 1996, when it was acquired by the Union Pacific Corporation, it became the company’s largest railway concern.
In the late 1870s, the Southern Pacific extended southeast from Los Angeles across the Colorado Desert to Yuma, Arizona, with the aim of meeting other railway lines that were being built west across Texas and New Mexico. By 1883 it was running services from Los Angeles via El Paso, Texas, to New Orleans, Louisiana. Its most famous train, the Sunset Limited, still travels this route today.
Union Pacific Steam Locomotive No.9000
Locomotive No. 9000 was donated to the museum by the Union Pacific Railroad in 1956. Designated as a 4-12-2 type, it is the largest steam locomotive built with a rigid frame and with a wheelbase of over thirty feet. Its twelve drive wheels are powered by three massive cylinders. This engine was built for heavy freight service and worked for almost thirty years running mainly between Green River, Wyoming, and Council Bluffs, Iowa. This is the only survivor of a production run of eighty-eight locomotives and was the last in its class to be operating when it was donated to the museum. The construction run started with this No. 9000, which makes this one both the first and last 9000-class locomotive to operate.
Wheel Alignment: 4-12-2 — Cylinders: 27×31 & 27×32 — Driver Diameter: 67″ — Weight: 495,000
Builder: Alco (Brooks) — Build Date: 1926 — Construction No. 66544 — Tractive Effort: 96,650
Boiler Pressure: 220 — Fuel: Coal — Gauge: Standard
Copyright © Glen Allison
“UP” in Wyoming
Wyoming’s place in railroad history is secure and the opportunities for watching trains and train crews in action are legend. Southern Wyoming’s development is linked with the Union Pacific Railroad. It laid tracks westward across the state in 1867 in a race to build the first transcontinental railroad. Settlements sprang up virtually overnight to house legions of workers. While some towns were later abandoned, others became permanent communities.
Towns grew up as fast as workers could lay track westward to Laramie, Rawlings, Rock Springs and Evanston. Elsewhere in the state, smaller lines were also built. Nine historic Wyoming depots are now museums dedicated to railroad history. Green River, in the southwestern corner of the state, boasts a busy Union Pacific rail yard. Its 1920 depot is now used for offices.
Outer Harbor Termnal Railway Company Steam Locomotive No.2
At the time of its retirement in 1955, the Outer Harbor Terminal No. 2 was reputed to be the oldest working steam locomotive in daily service in the United States. Outer Harbor Dock and Wharf, Inc. and Union Oil Company donated this locomotive to the museum at that time, making it the first locomotive added to the collection. It is a 0-6-0 switching locomotive and was used along the docks in San Pedro, California. It was originally designated as Santa Fe’s No. 590, then it was sold to the Outer Harbor Dock & Wharf and renumbered as No. 2. The company later became the Outer Harbor Terminal Railway Company when Union Oil took over operation of the OHD&W.
Wheel Alignment: 0-6-0 — Cylinders: 18×24 — Driver Diameter: 53″ — Weight: 91,150
Builder: Schenectady Locomotive Works — Build Date: 1887 — Construction No. 2409 — Tractive Effort: 17,500
Boiler Pressure: 140 — Fuel: Oil — Gauge: Standard
Copyright © Glen Allison
The Railroad in the Los Angeles Harbor
In the late 1860s American businessman, financier and entrepreneur, Phineas Banning, realized that for the San Pedro Harbor to become a center of commerce, three projects needed to be accomplished: building a railroad, constructing a breakwater, and dredging the harbor to accommodate large ships and allowing them to dock directly at the wharfs. In 1869, construction was completed on the Los Angeles and San Pedro Railroad, Southern California’s first such line. In 1871 Congress voted an appropriation for construction of a rock jetty from the lower end of Rattlesnake Island (Terminal Island, today) to Dead Man’s Island.
In 1872, the Southern Pacific Railroad agreed to run their railroad through Los Angeles and purchased the Los Angeles and San Pedro Railroad. In 1875 a competitive railroad, the Los Angeles and Independence Railroad, was constructed from Santa Monica to Los Angeles. By 1877, however, the Southern Pacific, after drastically lowering rates, drove the new railroad into ruin and purchased it for less than half of what it had cost to build. In 1881, an extension was built on pilings across the Wilmington Lagoon to a location near Timms Point thus enabling direct railroad access to the deepwater wharf. Phineas Banning died in 1882 but his dream of making San Pedro a major port of entry to the United States would soon be realized.
A bit later, two new railroads entered the scene, competing with San Pedro as the dominant port for the Los Angeles area. The Santa Fe Railroad constructed a wharf in nearby Redondo Beach, which shipped a considerable amount of lumber at the time. In 1892, the Dominguez heirs sold Rattlesnake Island to a competing railroad, the Los Angeles & Terminal Island Railroad company. Rattlesnake Island had been home to a large population of rattlesnakes that migrated down the Los Angeles River. However, the island’s name was later changed to a less ominous-sounding, “Terminal Island,” though if bitten by one of those highly venomous rattlesnakes, the result was usually terminal anyway, perhaps an inadvertent double entendre in word choice.
For collectors of fine art steam locomotive artworks, this hand-signed, limited edition print was crafted using a composite of three different images, including one steam train wheel photographed in Bangkok merged with a grungy, wrinkled canvas tarpaulin shot in Myanmar and a street art detail also found in Bangkok. Click on the image to see these three composite photos. Prints are available in various sizes.
See other fine art prints in my Steampunk Train series.
Watch this “Tribal Wild Steampunk Train” YouTube video of my PCEC presentation in Thailand. It depicts a visionary adventure of personal growth launched from the pit of misfortune and bankruptcy that propelled me along a self-awakened path forward. It’s a light-hearted story of struggle, missteps, reinvention, perseverance, and resilience—a trajectory rekindling impossible dreams almost buried by lessons needing to be learned. The slideshow is jam-packed with dazzling photos and concludes with an uplifting message.
Read the “Pattaya Mail” press article about this PCEC slide presentation,“Reinventing Yourself.”
Peruse my entire fine art STEAM PUNK STEAM TRAIN Series collection.
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