Sacramento Valley Live Steamers

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The Sacramento Valley Live Steamers Railroad Museum is located within the Hagan Community Park in Rancho Cordova, California. The organization was started around 1965 and completed with a Golden Spike ceremony in 1973. The main line is now over 6,300 ft. with many sidings and several yards. The ride is scenic as the track passes through tree'd areas, as well as a fine view of the American River which passes within 100 ft. of the railroad. The railroad also features 5 wooden trestles, a 40ft truss bridge as well as a girder deck bridge. The track is 7 1/2" and 4 3/4" gauge, IBLS wheel standards.


Late in 1968 David Hall, since deceased, put an enormous amount of time into gathering a small group together to discuss the formation of a Live Steam organization. Starting with less than a dozen, meeting in their various homes, they made plans, pooled resources and grew in numbers until by 1971 there were more than 25 members. In the spring of 1972, after much scrounging and scraping for money, materials and space, construction was started in the Cordova Community Park. The blistered hands and aching backs were soon forgotten on May 20th, 1973 when all hands cheered as a solid gold spike sank into a polished walnut tie and a big 2-8-2 touched pilots with a diamond stacked American. The event was toasted with cold chocolate milk poured from a long spouted oil can and operations began on 2000 feet of 4 3/4 and 7 1/2 inch dual gauge track. In 1992, the organization acquired more land and expanded the track to more than a mile of mainline which now includes many yards, sidings, trestles and bridges. Our pike has been called a scenic railway, which it is in fact, for it rises and falls, curves and twists like a modified roller coaster and is set within a beautiful area. But enough of that, for the real romance for most of us is the heady fragrance of coal smoke and oil, the soft sounds of an engine pausing to take on water or passengers, the echo of a whistle down the line or the sharp bark of an exhaust pulling the grade. The ultimate reward for all the hours of planning, hard work and money spent is when a member plants himself firmly astride his iron steed and gently cracks the throttle open to move off the turntable onto the mainline as he starts his journey down the descending trestle through fields and hills, across several bridges and trestles. Suddenly on the right is the majestic and historic American River. Sound your whistle to warn bikers and hikers on the path as you sweep out onto a great grassy plain and thunder across a swift flowing stream. Continue onto a climbing curve then past the station siding or turn in to pick up passengers. Ease past the outbound switch and around a long curve and you are back to the yard.

To see a video taken in 1973 and stories told by the early members on for our 30th anniversary in 2003 click here.

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