The Headlight

Southern California Scenic Railway Association, Inc.

The mission of the Southern California Scenic Railway Association is to provide and administer volunteers and to raise and manage funds to support the mission of the Travel Town Museum and its Master Plan

Volume 15, Number 4............................................................................Windter 2000


By Bryan Reese, M.177 Project Manager

Work progresses on the rewiring of M.177’s electrical system, and as of this writing, it stands about 85 percent complete. In olden days before I was in charge of the project, a lot of work was done removing various electrical components in preparation for this work. Many of the components such as assorted contactors, reverse current relays, regulators, switches, and the like were carefully rebuilt or overhauled by Cliff Bornschien, Jim Vicars, and Ted McConville, as was the car’s main controller. There may have been others involved, but bring before my stint on the project, I’ll have to apologize in advance for leaving anyone out.

The major challenge was the lack of documentation that went along with the original disassembly. It turned out later that Ted and Jim had indeed made thorough notes about how the system was originally wired. Prior to that, I had been faced with the prospect of working out the entire system with a primitive and not-too-legible wiring diagram dating from the construction of the car in 1929. At some point, Santa Fe electricians had numbered all the wires, but the diagram showed neither wire numbers nor sizes.

With the invaluable assistance of John Gardner and Doug Stevens, I held my breath and dove right in tracing wires and “ringing out” circuits. About a third of the way into this arduous process, Jim Vicars rediscovered the notebook that Ted McConville had kept when he dismantled everything. There was much elation when we found that the original assumptions we had developed about how the system worked were largely correct.

John concentrated on the main panel on the wall behind the operator’s station, while Doug and I concentrated on the controller. The controller is the large box next to the operator, and routes high-voltage output of the main generator to the traction motors in the desired path, thus allowing the operator to select forward or reverse and other functions. The controller is in actuality a modified K-type streetcar controller and had been completely reconditioned by Cliff Bornschien. Wrestling with the big 4-0 high-voltage cables was quite a chore, owing to the size and the fact there was only just enough cable to reach to the respective terminals. It became clear that the cables would only reach if they were installed in a specific order, so a lot of time was spent attaching and then reattaching these cables. Doug also took a lot of trouble to insure that all the contacts were spotlessly clean to ensure good connections. All the terminals and contacts were cleaned at the time the controller was rebuilt, but it had been so long that they had turned dull with age. We also took the opportunity to vacuum out a lot of accumulated dust.

In November, I decided it was necessary to remove the power trucks from under the front end of the car. The carbody was lifted using my pair of 50-ton car jacks, and it took us a couple of weekends to get the car high enough to get the truck center pin out. In the course of this operation, the car suffered some very minor damage. It is a little-known fact that all of Travel Town is built on fill, and as a result the ground under the stand on the south side of the car subsided and the car settled over on that side, bending the engine room stirrup step on the opposite side of the car. No one was hurt in the mishap, owing to everyone very sensibly staying in the clear during this operation, but it was clear to me that we wouldn’t be able to correct the misaligned carbody with jacks alone, at least not with reasonable safety. A local crane company was called, and the situation put right by the end of the day (see photos).

With the power truck rolled out, it will be possible to evaluate and service the traction motors, and the underside of the carbody can be steam cleaned. These items will be undertaken in coming days, and then the power truck can be replaced, the motor leads connected, and the controller buttoned up. At that point, the only missing item will be the main generator, the installation of which will render the vehicle operational under its own power.

Thanks also this quarter to Alan Weeks for additional painting in the engine room, and his assistance to Doug on the controller project.


By Sue Kientz, SCSRA President

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Welcome to the new year, new century, new millenium! (at last!) One can only begin such a time with a note of optimism and hope for continued progress with our main project, M.177, and with our efforts towards the goal of completing and operating the Zoo Railroad.

In support of the M.177, Alan Weeks has submitted an application for a Mobile grant which will garner the association $500 for Alan's volunteer hours in 2000. Those of you working for larger organizations should check with them to see if your volunteer hours or donations can be matched or could satisfy a grant requirement. Thanks, Alan, for doing the leg work that results in more funds for M.177 and the SCSRA.

Last year Gordon Bachlund applied for a “gift” membership for the SCSRA in the Association of Railway Museums, Inc. (ARM), and that membership was approved. I’ve just received brochures from ARM which are very interesting, one of which is a “Recommended Practices for Railway Museum” guide. ARM also will be sending us periodic newsletters, and we are listed in their membership roster and on their website.

Another gift also arrived for M.177: Connie Menninger of the Kansas State Historical Society sent a photocopy of a 1923 AT&SF operating booklet entitled Intructions for Care and Operation of Motor Cars. Hopefully Bryan will find some tips there which can help him with M.177. The booklet offers a wide range of rules, some based on simple common sense, such as rule 18, "Look Out for Animals." But the guide also has a section on "Use and Care of Motor Cars," with details on batteries, spark plugs, oiling, and another "Suggestions" section which offers troubleshooting when the motor car is not working as expected. Thanks, Connie, for thinking of us!

Jerry Price, our General Superintendent, informs me that we had one new associate join our ranks this past quarter: George Morris became associate number 318. Welcome aboard, George! If you come out to visit the park on a Saturday, make sure you introduce yourself.

In case you are wondering, our current associate total as of September 30, 2000, was 180, although that included 64 associates whose dues were “past due.” That’s about a third of our total number! I know Jerry has been sending out letters encouraging those overdue to send in their associate fees, and I hope those of you who have been lapsed will soon be renewing your membership.

On the Maintenance of Way front, Linda Barth of the City of LA Dept of Recreation and Parks has offered to reimburse four individuals for taking the official Equipment Certification exam. These four would then be permitted to operate City equipment. This will help speed our track work once we begin Track 7, work necessary for the Locomotive Pavilion construction to begin. Currently only Greg Ramsey is certified to operate equipment. We appreciate this reimbusement promise from the City and thank Linda for her efforts to secure it.

Speaking of Track 7, M/W Foreman Dan Price has submitted the final parts of his plan to complete Track 7 and other related track work. That plan is being carefully reviewed and we have high hopes that it will be accepted soon.

Lastly, our permit to operate at Travel Town offically expired at the end of December. This is no cause for alarm, as our last permit lapsed for seven months before it was officially renewed. Bryan and I have long been discussing a new permit with Linda, and a Permit Committee will soon be formed to work on updating our permit. In the meantime, Linda has offered to extend our permit for six months while we conduct this permit review. Thanks, Linda, for drafting up the temporary permit. We all look forward to getting a current permit which will both describe more accurately what SCSRA does now at Travel Town as well as point to our future role as operators of the Zoo Railroad.



“Little Ranger - Railroad Restores Passenger Service” Part 4 of 5

By Gail Martin, reprinted from the El Dorado Times

This article, originally written in 1995 for the 50th anniversary of The Little Ranger, is reprinted with permission. In this segment, El Dorado businesses prospered because of The Little Ranger, and other memories are recounted

Charm Beauty Salon’s business was enhanced with the advent of The Little Ranger. Former owner Mrs. Nobel Cloud of El Dorado remembered when she and her two sisters Mary and Dorthy Tatum from Leon graduated from The Venus Beauty School in Wichita in 1939 and decided to buy the old Waver Beauty Shop at 117 W. Pine in El Dorado, just east of the Santa Fe Bus terminal. The girls rented an apartment at the Seven Gables in the 400 block of South Washington and walked back and forth to work, cutting through Gordy Park.

Business was just so, so for a few years then when the Doodlebug began roundtrips coming into El Dorado twice a day, they began to get out of town customers from Chelsea area, Cassoday, and even from as far away as Matfield Green, coming in on the southbound train. Women would ride into town around noon, get their hair done, shop at Montgomery Wards or McCelland, the five and dime store, and even pick up hardware for their husbands at Thomas’. They even had time for a sandwich or piece of pie at the Busy Lunch. When the Doodlebug’s bell was heard ringing, there would be a flurry of activity all up and down Gordy and Pine streets near the intersection by the station and by the time the train arrived into town, the women had their shopping finished and were ready for the short trip back home in time for supper around 6:30 or 7 p.m.

Other business around the busy railroad station in the early 40s were Dr. Inman, with his family practice, Bessie Crocket a chiropractor, who also had rooms for rent, Olson’s second-hand furniture store and Charley Reep’s furniture store. Ollie Huddleston, Ed Dietwiller, and Lee Webster provided barber services. Other beauty operators in the area were Hazel Smith and Flo Miller working in the barber shops with Webster and Dietweller respectively. A dry cleaning establishment was managed by Ed and Lawrence Greiner and a nearby laundry was operated by the Wilsons. On the corner across from the railroad station, Bill Angerson had a Standard service station. With the courthouse and the Butler County newspaper close by, people around the county could get a lot of business taken care of within walking distance of the station.

The Tatum sisters didn’t get rich by today’s standards as they charged 35¢ for a shampoo and set, a quarter for a haircut, and up to $5 for permanents. The Charm Beauty Shop prospered for about 10 years, then the sisters one by one were married, and finally in 1949 Mrs. Cloud sold the business.

Mrs. Erman White of the White & Ellis Drilling Company enjoyed The Little Ranger’s services during the war years of 1945-51 when she and her two small boys, Bill and Tommy, lived in Emporia. A couple of times a month Helen and her preschool boys would ride to El Dorado to see Helen’s parents. The Whites were operating a flying school in Emporia at that time.

Anna Louise Borger, librarian at the Butler County Historical Society Museum, remembers riding The Little Ranger on yearly trips to visit her sister who worked and lived in Topeka.

In the late 40s and early 50s, Anna would take a week-long vacation every year from her job as children’s librarian at the Bradford Memorial Library in El Dorado. Anna said she would catch the Doodlebug around 5:30 p.m. and arrive in Emporia at 7:45 p.m., then change to another train and arrive at her destination at 9:20 p.m. She remembers The Little Ranger swaying a lot, but she always enjoyed viewing the Flint Hills.

Danny Lewis of El Dorado recalled one time on a business trip on the Doodlebug he took his 10-year-old son with him as far as Emporia where his wife would pick him up. Father and son both enjoyed the unique experience.

Noted El Dorado Times columnist Charles Heilmann wrote an article about The Little Ranger that was published July 27, 1992, sharing his recollections with his reading public. Charles loves to tell stories of that grand era of his life.One story he didn’t tell me was about the time he was with a group of Kiwanis that arrived at the basket dinner at Forest Park during Railroad Appreciation Day, creating havoc amongst the picnickers. I found this interesting tidbit in a 1946 newspaper.

Little Ranger historian Hoyt Smith recalls his first job after he returned from service during World War II was with the Hartford Insurance Company in Kansas City, Missouri. Many times he would make round trips to his parents’ home in El Dorado by train, switching to or from The Little Ranger in Emporia.

Mr. Smith has collected Little Ranger memorabilia and is the proud owner of a large poster-size picture of The Little Ranger that was discovered in a storage area over the Lasater Clothing store in the fall of 1989. The original owner of that store, Robert Lasater, was president of the El Dorado Chamber of Commerce in 1945 when they hosted the banquet for the train’s first run.

Dillon Courser spent 39 years working for Santa Fe as a switch engineer in the El Dorado area. He recalls going to work in 1937 hauling oil cars from Skelly refinery straight through the town on the Gordy street tracks using the same spur track as The Little Ranger. Courser knew the Gordy Street tracks like the back of his hand. The railroad sidings had one that switched to the grain elevator, another to the Santa Fe freight depot and the loading dock where large machinery was unloaded. In the same location oil, sand, and water were stored fro the trains to use. Courser told me The Little Ranger extended its runs to Ark City many times during its years of service.

Next Issue: The article ends with accidents recounted and other memories both bitter and sweet, and with the note that The Little Ranger has not vanished forever


By Greg Ramsey, Assistant Superintendent, Diesel

The on-again, off-again project to repair the radiator fan shaft and support bearing in the Baldwin RS-12 got some more attention this quarter. The plan has historically been to remove the framework supporting the front bearing, remove the fan off the shaft and then take the shaft out the top for machining and sizing for a new bearing. Chris Rippy proposed that since we have not been successful in getting the frame free, that if we remove some of the metal separating the engine compartment and the air plenum and remove a cooling water pipe in the engine compartment, we could take the shaft back in that way. I think he has convinced me, and as soon as we can confirm that the fan blades are going to come free and we won't have to start the Baldwin, we will proceed with that.

At some time in its history, our RMC Track Liner either hit or was hit by something bending the front steel which helps support the hydraulic rams and dogs. Since it is presumed we might want to use it to realign the access track, I, with some help from Danny, Jeff and Greg Gneier, removed the plate and, using ASRA's oxy-acetylene rig and some large sledge hammers, heated and straightened the plate. As soon as I can direct the steam cleaner to the hydraulic ram area, we will reassemble the plate and test its lining abilities.

As implied above, the City's steam cleaner is operational again, and city employee Moses Trevino spent most of one Saturday steam cleaning the M.177's power truck. I have now also been certified to operate the steam cleaner. The truck is going to take at least another full day and then we can start on the underside of the motorcar. Then in turn, we'll attack the track liner and flatcar trucks.

Routine maintenance included an oil change on the Charley Atkins in late December and the normal inspection and watering of the batteries.

As always, I can be reached at home (805-984-0332), work (805-982-9720), or via the Internet.


By Tim Riley, Motor Pool Manager

This quarter went by a little smoother. All equipment currently starts and runs including the 6X6. The Forklift battery acted up this quarter telling me that it's time for a new one. I will be purchasing 2 new batteries for the 6X6 next quarter along with 1 new battery for the forklift.

I've noticed that the headlight switch in the 6X6 is missing along with a few other minor items. The Air Compressor Trailer is compressing air as it's suppose to. I'm still awaiting confirmation of a test date for M of W so I can ascertain weather or not there is enough power to drive the Track Spiker and Hand Tampers. I moved the headlight switch on the forklift from the right side of its dash to the left side. The Plastic material that the dash is made of broke in the area of the switch making it hard for operators to turn the lights on and off. The lights are now more user friendly. The Horn of the forklift stopped working this quarter. Replacement of a 15 Amp fuse is in progress to fix this safety issue. Apparently, water worked its way into the horn button on the steering wheel causing the circuit to short out. The Fire Extinguishers were taken for recharging by the city, they should return to the park in the next couple of weeks. The City Loader is still missing. I have no information of the status of this important tool. I hope that all will be up and running to PAR by the end of this next quarter.


By Gordon Bachlund, Mechanical Superintendent

Battery Servicing - Jim Hoffmann reported caboose battery problems at the close of October operations. Accordingly, we purchased a new battery charger capable of providing a timer-controlled equalizing charge of up to 60 amps. This unit arrived on October 28, and was assembled and checked out. Then a team comprising Andy Evans (operating the forklift), Jim Vicars, and the writer, ably assisted by Eric Recchia, Greg Hulett, and Vance Yzbick, topped off the batteries in the SP 4049, the AT&SF 999110, and Charley Atkins. Following this, Andy connected the new charger to each caboose to provide the required equalizing charge.

Jim also reported some handheld radio battery problems. Upon his authorization, we are purchasing two ni-cad batteries per month so that by January's operations all six handheld radios will have new batteries with an anticipated life of six years.


Tammy Jones, Associate #311, gave birth October 15th to a baby girl, Kourtnee Ann Kimbrough, 7 pounds 5 oz, 18.5 inches.

The last few months have been trying for quite a few associates and their families. Greg Gneier's father passed away on Nov. 11. In December, Greg Smith’s parents both passed away within 10 days of one another. At Christmastime, Gordon Bachlund’s mother succumbed to long-standing illness. The SCSRA extends its most heartfelt sympathy to these fellow associates and their families.


Do you think that SCSRA associates are the only ones actively thinking about M.177? Heck, no! Read the following set of e-mails received this past quarter, from some midwestern Doodlebug fans...

Dear Sue,

For some time I have been searching for information on the Santa Fe Doodlebug which traveled through Cheyenne, OK, during the 1940s and early 50s. I finally ran across your fantastic website last week. Now things are beginning fall into place.

Cheyenne was near the midway point between Clinton OK and Pampa TX, on what you refer to as the COW line. The old Santa Fe Depot was sold and moved to Woodward, OK during the 60s, but has since been returned to Cheyenne, and is now a museum. Walt Pasby was the Santa Fe agent for as long as I can remember. As a kid I watched with excitement while the cream and eggs were loaded onto the train for shipment to exotic places like Pampa, TX and Clinton, OK. We didn't have TV back then, so kids made their own entertainment.

In my younger days, my brother and I would travel (unsupervised) on the Doodlebug from Cheyenne to Pampa, to visit my Uncle Ernest Taylor's family.

I recall one occasion when my brother and I sat on the rear steps of the Bug as it rolled down the tracks, I couldn't have been more than 5 years old at the time, and my brother 7. I doubt this would be allowed nowadays.

I am forwarding an e-mail concerning Manuel Hensley, and his last recollection of the Cheyenne Doodlebug, on the chance that your M.177 is the same. Cherokee, OK (referred to below) is in Northern Oklahoma, near the Kansas line.

I believe Mr. Hensley worked for the Santa Fe Line. He currently lives in Strong City, OK, which was also on the COW line, about 5 miles NE of Cheyenne.

Kindest regards,
Gary Turley
Yukon, OK

Below is the attached e-mail Gary refers to:

Hi Gary,

Just talked with Manuel Hensley and he said that the day the Doodlebug left Cheyenne, it was taken to Cherokee to the north railroad tracks up there and left out and it came very cold weather and they didn't drain it and it froze and busted the block.....he hopes that this M.177 is that same one and it could be, because the frozen block was the only thing that was wrong with it. His son, Jeff, had pulled up the same info as you on the doodlebug and he was quite excited.

He and his grandson were headed over to the Community Building to see about some heaters and he is going to look at that picture - he also said that this picture in the SC Comm Bldg is one which the Pasby family had given to the Comm Bldg so I assume this will be the same that we receive for the depot.....

Will let you know when I hear from Manuel.

Later, Judy

And here’s another one from Judy,


We live in a little town in western OK and have recently restored our old Depot which was on the C.O.W. railroad and many, many people in this area remember riding the "Doodlebug.” We have a picture of it in our depot and there are three people still living who worked on this train line. Our history of our area is very deep and we keep it as treasures.

We were delighted to find that this Doodlebug is being restored. We have some pictures taken in this area even, but the stories are priceless. Just this morning a man from Dallas and OKC wrote how they used to ride the Doodlebug and let their legs hang off the step over the rails as they rode it. Your site has brought back many memories for people of our small community. We feel we have a stake in the Doodlebug — it was unique!!

You may not know that our community is the only one that ever built a railroad themselves from Strong City to Cheyenne in order that the train would come through Cheyenne — it was quite a feat in 1912-13.

Enough from here. Thanks again for your site and info.

Blessings from Western OK


By James G. Hoffmann, Operations Superintendent

The final quarter of 2000 was fairly normal in all but one sense: We carried our 100,000th rider! As we do not keep a running count of this tally there was no fanfare; in fact we don't even know whom it was, other than it happened sometime December 3rd. Not bad for two cabooses operating two days a month!

The fall semester marked the return of high school students doing community service. We have had a number of eager young people participating in the CAT program; methinks we may see some future Associates before long.

Alumni Department — Several of us heard from Randy Matus during December. Randy was our first Operating Department Superintendent, as well as serving as president and board member, and was the one who really got the ball rolling for the first several years of our program. Randy is a qualified Amtrak engineer, and is now working the extra board for Metrolink. His most frequent assignment is the Inland Empire-Orange County line. All you rail commuters keep an eye out for him!

From Chief Instructor’s Desk — Gordon Bachlund reports that we have three more Train Service Engineers: Andy Evans, Yvonne Ramsey, and Mike Vitale. Andy also achieved Dispatcher status, along with Chris Rippy. Congratulations, all!

The highlight of the quarter was our annual Santa Fe Claus train operations on Saturday, December 23. In past years, we have burned out our Santas due to the necessity of changing cabooses at each end of each trip, in order to visit all the kids on board. This year, Dan Price and Jeff Barrow came to the rescue, and decked out the speeder with colored lights, a Christmas (oops, holiday) tree, and a small stereo system. The speeder and trailer car were parked on Track 6 adjacent to the platform, and Santa presided thereon. All agree it was a success. Thanks as always to Steve DeVorkin for his inimitable appearance.

Our public operations were held October 7th and 8th, November 4th and 5th, and December 2nd, 3rd and 23rd.

A note about the figures for December 23 is in order. We decided to eliminate the signage on the donation boxes and let the public donate or not, as our holiday gift. Unfortunately, we also ran out of passenger count sheets, and the handmade ones somehow got misplaced; we therefore don't really know how much the per-person donation average was affected.

Saturday, October 7543 $ 164.75
Sunday, October 8588 177.80
Saturday, November 4420 161.87
Sunday, November 5639 239.86
Saturday, December 2316 101.20
Sunday, December 3517 167.59
Saturday, December 2325657.00
Total: 3,279 $1,070.07
Total to date:100,332$43,571.41

Operating Days: 162

And now for this quarter's Honor Roll. Those with recorded times included the following:

Docents — Alex Alcantar, Bill Dale, Michael Farnell, Hovik Tervardanyan, Greg Hulett, Sean McDyer, Eric Recchia, Cesar Rivera, Annette Sevigny, Ed Temm.

Operators — Jeff Barrow, Dale Brown, Andy Evans, Jim Fontenot, Mike Flaharty, Nancy Gneier, Charity Lawrence, Dan Price, Greg Ramsey, Yvonne Ramsey, Tim Riley, Chris Rippy, Don Schuster, Darlene Sexton, Jim Vicars, Mike Vitale, Dug Ward, Alan Weeks.

Thanks to all of you and to anyone whose name I missed!


By Greg Ramsey, Acquisitions Manager

With the Crane safely moved, the only real activity has been the periodic inspection of it. So far, all is well and the neighbors have been good at keeping an eye on it also

The MW forces have been busy cleaning up and reorganizing the material inside the compound. Unfortunately this has moved a lot of the previously inventoried material and mixed some of it in with the small amount of un-inventoried outdoor material. I have been attacking the problem on a few off-days and hope to "find" and re-catalog things within the next few weeks, weather permitting. All existing printed and electronic copies of the inventory are obsolete. I will distribute new copies ASAP. If you need an electronic copy before, let me know via e-mail.

2001 SCSRA/ASRA Calendar of Events

is published quarterly at Los Angeles, California, and is the official publication of
P.O. Box 39727, Griffith Station, Los Angeles, CA 90039-0727
(323) 667-1423 and via the World Wide Web at

A California Nonprofit Public Benefit Corporation, Incorporated January 4, 1984
IRS Tax Exemption No. 95-3947766

Editor: Sue Kientz

Any article or feature published in The Headlight may be reprinted in whole or in part provided that proper credit is given the source.





Associates with inquiries regarding project work schedules
may contact any of the above by leaving a message at (323) 667-1423.

Questions and comments to Sue Kientz, SCSRA Publications Manager