|Since July 4th we have had three successful public ride days. For safety, most of the riders on their own have chosen to wear mask; they look happy to be back and our crew is happy to be giving rides again.
In October or January, depending on how one looks at the club's history, SCLS will start it's 80th year as a live steam club. At this time, we don't have any formal plans, but I'm sure I will probably come up with something. This will also be the 30th year we have been giving public train rides at Wilson Park in the city of Torrance. Many thousands of people have enjoyed one or more of our train rides and we plan on continuing this experience for a long time to come.
The name Live Steam club is a little misleading. It is historically accurate, but the hobby has grown a lot since those times. Live Steamers is a name that the hobby has come to be recognized by. The name Scale Ride on trains is probably a better description, but it just doesn't sound all that great. The members of SCLS have interests in both modern railroading and historical railroading. So at any given time a person may see or get lucky and ride behind a model of steam locomotive from the 1880s to the 1950s, a model of a electric trolley or locomotive from the 1900s to modern times, and of course the club's most popular model, a diesel locomotive, from the 1950s to what is running down the rails today.
A common question I get asked is why are some of the trains so small and some are so big. That all has to do with scale and history. When the hobby started, all of the trains were steam and built to a scale of 1" to the foot of a full-sized train. Remember, this hobby started in the late 1930s and at that time steam locomotives were King of the Rails so that was the main modeling interest. As time passed, 7.5 inch gauge track and 1.5" scale trains were found to be more comfortable and easier to work on so that size became the standard. So probably in the last 20 years the bigger is better thing has become popular. At this point, anything you can design and safely operate on 7.5 wide tracks is good to go. It doesn't even have to look like a train. Remember, it's all about having some fun with one's free time.
This is a great hobby and there are many different aspects to it. The SCLS members all have different interests in the club and the live steamers hobby. If you are interested in building trains, running trains, being part of giving train rides, designing gardens and landscaping, building interesting display items, SCSL maybe the place for you. Just stop by on any Tuesday or on one of the public ride days and talk to one of the SCLS volunteers. They will give you more information.
Southern California Live steamers President Tom Downing