RailNews - The Rail Industry's Number One Online Newsletter

- Nov 07, 2018 -

Readers visiting the west coast of the USA have the opportunity to experience something a little different - rail excursions in miniature.

For train fanatics and junior engineers, it's not always possible to ride the rails over the long haul - but playing with toy trains or setting up a model railroad just won't do.

And that's where SoCal delivers, whether it's a petite commuter train that goes back and forth over the course of one city block... or a scale railroad that runs in circles over a narrow gauge track.

So, here are the three top tiny train excursions for passengers of all sizes.

Angels Flight Railway, Los Angeles
The little miniature incline railway on Bunker Hill in downtown LA, Angels Flight - is known as "The Shortest Railway in the World," Angels Flight merely climbs one little hill, Bunker Hill, and it'll only set you back a dollar round trip with your TAP card ($2 without). Ride it any or every day of the year from 6:45 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Southern California Live Steamers, Torrance
In 1989, the Southern California Live Streamers set up a tiny railroad in Wilson Park, that had a vacant five acres in the back. The SCLS features a number of tiny buildings in a kind of model train "village" as well as an almost full-sized depot. Twice a month, the Live Steamers host public run days, which are still free. For a modest charge, SCLS also hosts a variety of themed special events, including its Egg Hunt for Easter, and Starlight ride for the holiday season.

Irvine Park Railroad, Irvine
Irvine Regional Park is Orange County's oldest park and California's first county park. And the most efficient way to get to know this historic and rather gigantic open space is to take a ride on the Irvine Park Railway. The propane-powered train, itself is a miniature replica of an 1863 C.P. Huntington mini at locomotive, manufactured by Chance Rides in Kansas. It chugs along at a leisurely 7 mph, with a horsepower clocking in at 60. (Source: KCET)