Southern California Live Steamers

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Tenth Annual Field Day

C.S. Chovil, Secretary, submitted this article to "The Miniature Locomotive" magazine, January-Feburary 1953 edition:

Sunday, October 19 (1952) dawned a perfect day of sunshine and clear skies. This is important for a successful field day because it helps assure good attendance. The event offers an opportunity for all members to participate by operating their engines on the organization's track or to display their achievements in shop work for the past year.

C. S. Schoval, SCLS Secretary 1952
Mark Piper gives his tractor a drink.
SCLS steaming tracks

Mark Piper, our esteemed president, and I do mean steam, was on the scene of activities early to supervise the necessary work to be done before any large number of guests arrived. As each member with an operating locomotive arrived he was given a copy of the rules governing operation of engines and equipment. Those that held a certificate showing a previous boiler inspection within the past six months were permitted to fire up. Others had the hydrostatic boiler test of fifty percent above working pressure. Having passed this test they were given their certificate of inspection and allowed to fire up.

Eugene Paul, newly elected Chief Inspector, was first to complete steaming his four wheel, one inch scale Switcher, better known as "Puffin Billy" and kept it hot and busy all day carrying passengers.

Another brain child by Eugene known as "Hustle and Bustle", a one inch scale six wheel switcher owned by Melvin R. Roberts, newly elected First Vice-President, churned her drivers in an effort to keep the pace with "Puffin Billy". However, this little rail scorcher had to take it easy as the rails were still new to its wheels.

Max Tenesch at the throttle of his recently completed one-inch scale Pacific
Harry Dixon runs John Matthews engine "Charlotte".

Max Tenesch, one of our oldest members, eight-two years to be exact and a retired Union Pacific R.R. Engineer was there in complete engineer's rigging and Otto Hansen fired up and ran Max's beautiful one inch scale Pacific. This locomotive represents a dream come true for Max. His son Lewis did considerable work towards completing this engine but was taken by death before completion. Otto Hansen was called on to complete the work and after five years, has culminated in one of the best looking and operating engines in the club's roster.

Philip West, our first vice-president in 1952 retired, made a very good showing with his one inch scale British type ten wheeler and hauled train loads of children all afternoon. Phil has adopted a special oil burner of his own design.

There were many other locomotives on the steaming tracks and one that I particularly noticed was John Matthews' three-fourth inch scale "Hudson" a beautiful engine and fine steamer. Another outstanding display by John was his steam traction engine which he fired and ran for all to see.

Irene Lewis had her one inch scale "Atlantic" busy. It was noted that a new burner had been installed that was quiet and more efficient.

The display tables held an interesting variety of unfinished engines. All showed promise of completion in the not too distant future (we hope). Raymond Gifford's one and one-half inch scale ten wheeler was an outstanding example of true scale and fine craftsmanship. C. W. Harrison's three-fourth inch scale 4-8-4 is shaping up and already looks very good. Robin Smith has made a good start on his one and one-half inch scale Shay. He is doing very fine work and hopes to have a completed engine in a few years.

Mark Piper had his competed one and one-half inch scale Minneapolis steam traction engine on the table. A thing of beauty like a fine watch. I have seen it work and it is faultless in its performance. Mark also had on display the wheeled chassis of his one and one-half inch scale American Locomotive. Bob Emery, retiring treasurer, 1952, had the wheeled chassis and boiler of his one and one-half inch scale C. P. Huntington. Jack Fesco brought his three-fourth inch scale S. P. 4-8-4 which is about ready for the boiler and his much photographed caboose and Vanderbilt tender.

Cornelius "Pop" Gerritsen newly elected road master did a splendid job of registering members and guests and was ably assisted by Viola Paul, our only honorary woman member.

Our story would not be complete without mentioning a few well known personalities seen around the track. There were Dick Bagley, founding Father of Southern California Live Steamers, Dick Jackson of the Colorado Central R. R., Dorothy Bagley, Secretary and Treasurer, Miniature Locomotive, Mr. and Mrs. Oliver Johnston and Dicky (see cover pix Nov.Dec. 1952 issue Miniature Locomotive), W. A Cooper of Arcadia, Calif., Fred J. Richter of Chicago, Ill., a seasoned Live Ste3amer of many years standing. Harry L. Dixon secretary of B.L.S. Western Region, Larry Duggan, Secretary of Golden Gate Live Steamers, Edward L. Carroll, Safety Supervisor of the S.P. Co., San Francisco, James Keith of the California Southern R. R.

About two hundred and fifty guests signed the guest register, others got by the gate without signing the book.

The participation of all other members without mentioning names was vital and necessary for the success of the day and thanks is extended to each and all for their cooperation.

4 July 1954

Southern California Live Steamers

By C. S. Chovil, Secretary

10625 Ayres Avenue, Los Angeles 64, California

The Miniature Locomotive, July-August 1954

July 4 was a preview of events to come for Southern California Live Steamers. The scene was the club track at Lomita and members with engines attended with the idea of creating conditions as we will find them on Sept. 4, 5 and 6, 1954, the days when S.C.L.S. will be hosts to the Brotherhood of Live Steamers. Twenty-six members and elven locomotives participated in a very smooth operation and about seventy-five adult guests signed the register book.

Scene on S.C.L.S. club track. Extra 4203, Engineer LeRoy Smith being delayed by flagman Robin J. Smith.

The roster of engines was as listed:

  • Jim Keith, 1 inch scale Hudson
  • Gordon Corwin, 3/4 inch scale Northern
  • Barney Shrive, 3/4 inch scale N.Y.C. Niagara
  • John Matthews, 3/4 inch scale Pg
  • Elmer Redmond, 1 inch scale Consolidation
  • Stan Chovil, 3/4 inch Atlantic
  • Irene Lewis, 1 inch scale switcher and 1 inch scale Atlantic
  • LeRoy Smith, 1 inch scale Atlantic
  • Jack Walker, 1 inch scale switcher
  • Bert Petersen, 3/4 inch scale Northern

Each engine was restricted to one passenger car with the exception of LeRoy Smith who had two extra long flat cars that accommodated eight children. At the Sept. meeting we will have to restrict all trains to one car because of the limited circumference of club track and heavy movement of trains.

The track was in very good order, thanks to the supervision and hard work of our roadmaster, Elmer O. Redmond. Thanks are also in order to all those members who have helped in track construction and maintenance. As with the big railroads, the work seems to be constant and never ending.

Seymour F. Johnson of the Goleta Valley Line in Santa Barbara was present and told me his 1-1/2 inch scale 7-1/2 inch gauge railroad has fifteen hundred feet of ballasted track laid and he hopes to have a complete loop and considerably more completed track by Sept. 4 so that visiting members of the Brotherhood who pass through Santa Barbara can have an opportunity to see one of the most perfect miniature railroads in operation.

Summer 1957

The North American Live Steamer, Volume 1 Number 10

Harry Dixon

Southern California Live Steamers have set their Spring Field Day for June 2, 1957 at the Lomita track. Many new improvements have been made at their location, especially for the 1-1/2 scale operators. This meeting will be one you will not want to miss, as there is usually more live steam activity than one can take in during one day. So come early, bring your camera, a light lunch, which you will forget to eat, in view of all the pictures you will be busy taking.

1-inch Track Standard

Southern California Live Steamers 1-inch scale track standards, 1943. From the archives of Carl Purinton.

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