Southern California Live Steamers is back to it’s regular operations after being closed during the COVID-19 Pandemic! SCLS is non-profit organization that is run by volunteers and dedicated to preserving and promoting railroad history and model railroading by providing train rides on scale models of real trains. They offer excursions on their vintage trains, which are one-third scale models of real ones from the past. The train rides take passengers through scenic Torrance, CA neighborhoods and parks with views of ocean waves in the distance. In order to maintain this historical tradition for future generations, members do not receive any compensation for volunteering their time. Southern California Live Steamers has been in operation since 1947 and remains active today thanks to donations from its members, passengers and corporate sponsors, and thru fundraisers. SCLS uses the money to pay for things like insurance, maintenance, facility upgrades, fuel, track repairs, future track projects, and other things.
SCLS began in 1941, with meetings held in members’ houses and a run day held once a month in founding member Dick Jackson’s property in Beverly Hills. In 1948 Walt Disney, Ollie Johnston, Martin and Irene Lewis of Little Engines Company joined the club. The club opened a larger club track in Lomita in 1949. The track looped around the tiny engines manufacturing plant, which was located behind the Lewis residence, in two parallel loops, each 700 feet long.
Community Spotlight: Southern California Live Steamers
Tell us about Southern California Live Steamers
The Southern California Live Steamers is a group of railroad fans dedicated to preserving and promoting railroad history and model railroading by providing train rides on scale models of real trains. We operate these scale trains twice a month on a large property located on the east end of Wilson Park in Torrance CA. The club started in 1941 with Walt Disney as one of its original members. We moved to the current location after being asked to by the city of Torrance in 1987 and have been providing free train rides to the public ever since. We collaborate with other model railroad groups as well as railroad museums to preserve and promote railroading.
What you are doing to support our community?
We attend city sponsored events such as the “Rock Around the Block” event annually in July. We also work with Scout groups as well as local schools to get children interested in trains. All of the income for the operation of SCLS is derived by donations from its members, passengers and corporate sponsors, and thru fundraisers. SCLS does not charge the passengers for rides on public run days, though donations are accepted from our riders on public run days which is on the 1st Sunday and 3rd Saturday of each month.
What inspires your organization?
Model railroading and community involvement.
How can the community support your efforts?
By simply coming out on the first Sunday of every month from 11am-3pm and the third Saturday of every month from 12-3pm and enjoying our free rides. We also would love to see you spreading the news of our events and telling your friends about our rides. Donations are accepted and appreciated at any time during normal and not mandatory. Thank you so much!
Anything else you would like us to include?
This ride is so much fun for railroaders of all ages! We dedicate a lot of time to ensuring safety as well as the best full experience possible, we want you to have the best time! Come check out all of our hard work, we would love to see you!