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Golden Spike Ceremony, Then and Now

By Phillip Cohen - Torrance, CA

Golden Spike Ceremony at SCLS 1949 - 2009 Sixty years later

On May 9th 2009 the Southern California Live Steamers recognized National Train Day with a Golden Spike ceremony held in front of the main station. The meeting of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific Railroads was simulated using Jim Berryman's Sweetcreek and Tim Brothers' Fourney Locomotives. Golden spikes were hammered in by Torrance commissioners Reva and Steve Skull as well as other S.C.L.S. club members.

After the reading of a short story by Phil Cohen the two locomotives arrived center station, nose to nose where the gold spikes were driven into a special finished tie. After the ceremony was completed, over 700 train rides were given to the public that attended the ceremony.

Looking at the pictures below from 1949 and the pictures taken at our 2009 ceremony, other than the clothing and hair styles not much has changed. You can still see the enthusiasm and smiles in the S.C.L.S. members. We are very lucky to be able to participate in such an interesting and unique hobby as well as being able to share our hobby with the public both young and old.

Golden Spike Day at the Southern California Live Steamers club track located at the
Little Engines facility in Lomita, CA 1949.

Model Rail Enthusiasts Finish Track

More than 80 model steam engine enthusiasts gathered in Lomita to watch the final spike, a golden one, hammered into one of the 8000 miniature ties used in building their new 1000 foot long Rancho de Locos railroad line.

The ceremonies took place at 2135 250th St. Charles Cole of Ventura sank the tiny spike. Cole is president of the Southern California Live Steamers, Inc. whose members have spent 14 months building the track.

Track Gets Approval

For more than two hours afterward members tried out their model engines and tenders on the new tracks which measures less than a foot in width.

The model trains, measuring five to six and one half feet from engine to tender, are driven by coal or oil. Most of them weigh around 200 pounds and ar worth from $20 to $30 a pound. Each member builds his own engine with an original investment ranging from $200 to $300.

They are powerful little machines, built to stand pressures of several hundred pounds and carry human passengers.

Grounds for the new track were leased to the organization by Mrs. Martin Lewis, also a member. The rail ties were cut by Allen Wike, 641 W. 115th St. Dain B. Lones of 8381 McConnell St. track committee chairman, assisted in the ceremonies.

Golden Spike Ceremony at the Southern California Live Steamers in Torrance, CA 2009.

At left, Phil Cohen, Reva Skull (City of Torrance Civil Service Commission), Steve Skull (City of Torrance Planning Commission)Tim Brothers, and Harlan Hiney re enact the driving of the golden spike at Promontory, Utah.) The group poses with the engines at right and in the two photographs below. Photographs provided by Lynn Fielding.



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