Travel Town (continued)
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The train made an instant hit with children and grownups alike, and it makes five or six round trips an hour, backing up from the railhead at Waianae Station, since there was no room for a "Y" at either end of the line. While the engine is in good repair at this writing, it had to be taken out of service last January for boiler work, and the little railroad was shut down for a month, while new flues were installed and firebox repairs made. Hence, the 0-6-2 sugar engine is now being worked over, and will be used as a stand-by in case 85 has to be taken out of service for any reason. A flat car from the S.P. narrow gauge at Owenyo was donated a few months ago, and with the caboose provides for the siding near the Travel Town station, and a work train when needed.
The success of the Crystal Springs and Southwestern R.R. has encouraged the park officials to plan an extension which will take the railroad over three miles south to the Los Feliz Boulevard entrance. It is planned to install a "Y" at each end on the line, and railfans will have a really fine narrow gauge ride throught the beautiful grounds of the park. While the line parallels the equestrian path in several places, the horses pay very little attention to the train; in fact, races between the riders and the engine seem to be a frequent occurance. Except for the narrow gulch through which both the train and the horses would have to pass, just east of the present railhead, there is plenty of room for both means of transportation beyond that point. And this would not be the first railroad over that route, for in 1887 the Ostrich Farm Railroad which was built to standard gauge from downtown Los Angeles to the site of the farm, which in those days was near what is now the golf course in Griffith Park. The railroad was later extended to Burbank after crossing the river not far from the present Riverside Drive bridge.
The future of Travel Town seems assured, for the weekend attendance has now passed 3000 persons, and the area has become the second most popular attraction in the park, only the Zoo surpassing it in attendance. The parking lot is filled with cars on Sundays from 11 a.m. until past 5 p.m., and the passege of the train along Crystal Springs Drive is the signal for half a dozen or more cars to follow in a procession, a phenomenon which amazes park officials, but which is old stuff to railfans, who have been doing it for many years. In the first years of operation, actually only eleven months due to the temporary shutdown, the C.S. and S.W. hauled 110,000 paying passengers, of which 60 percent were children. On holiday weekends there is usually a waiting line outside the station gate, and the railroad provides part-time employment for a number of people.
S.P. coach 2513, which now houses the models, has stairways at each end to enable the smooth handling of large numbers of visitors.
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