April 22, 1982 — Gene Autry's Mogul Locomotive No. 1629 moves into Heritage Junction Historic Park in Newhall.
Photo by Tony Mason / SCV Historical Society collection.
Southern Pacific Mogul Engine No. 1629 is a class M4 engine weighing 75 tons, with wheels 2-6-0
(two leading wheels on one axle, six powered and coupled driving wheels on three axles, no trailing wheels).
The steam locomotive was built in 1900 at Schenectady, N.Y., and purchased by the Southern Pacific Railroad for use on the line
that ran from Yuma, Ariz., to Portland, Ore., passing through the Santa Clarita Valley.
When it was retired from service, Western actor Gene Autry purchased it and added it to his new and growing collection of locomotives at his
Melody Ranch studio in Placerita Canyon. Engine No. 1629 was his fifth such acquisition; it was delivered June 17, 1957 (The Signal, June 20, 1957).
It appeared in television series such as "Gunsmoke" and "The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp."
According to The Signal, in 1957 Autry planned to open Melody Ranch to the public and was preparing to lay track for a narrow-gauge train that would take tourists on rides around the ranch.
It was part of his plan to open a Western museum on the property. The 1962 fire snuffed out that idea — but luckily, it didn't completely kill it. Autry would see his dream come true
at Griffith Park.
Autry donated S.P. No. 1629 in 1981 to the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society, and it was moved April 22, 1982, to its present
location next to the Saugus Depot using donated funds.