Two of the locomotives that actor Gene Autry collected, sitting in the boneyard at his Melody Ranch in Placerita Canyon, probably after 1962 and no later than 1972, when Autry
donated the 2-8-2 engine in the foreground to the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad (see below).
We can't positively identify the engine behind it from a single visible numeral, but it's probably the 2-6-0 Mogul No. 1629, which Autry donated in 1982 to the
Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society.
About Engine No. 463.
Known as "mudhens" because they would frequently derail on lighweight
rails and scoot across the ties like a waddling hen, Engine 463
is a narrow gague (3-foot) K-27 class 2-8-2 built by Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1903 and used until 1955 on the Silverton (Southern)
Branch of the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad (renamed Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad in 1924). Engine 463 is one of only
two surviving K-27s.
Gene Autry purchased the locomotive in 1955 after it was retired from service and kept it
at his Melody Ranch studio in Placerita Canyon, which he intended to transform into a Western museum. Engine No. 463 was used as a movie prop (as were other
retired locomotives, including the Mogul Engine No. 1629, which Autry later gave to the Santa Clarita
Valley Historical Society) until a 1962 wildfire devastated the property and dashed his plans.
The 463 was a derelict when, in March 1972, Autry "returned" it to the town of Antonito, Colo., for the new Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, which the
states of Colorado and New Mexico jointly created in 1970 when they purhcased the line between between Chama, N.M., and Antonito from the old Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad.
The town of Antonito gave Engine 463 to the Cumbres & Toltec to restore; the restoration was complete in 1994 and it began hauling tourists.
Engine 463 threw a side rod in 2002 and was taken out of service. In 2009, it was moved to the railroad's shop at Chama, where it was rebuilt. It returned to service in Spring 2013.
As of 2015 it is the smallest engine on the line.
A tourist line that uses part of the San Joan Extension of the Denver & Rio Grande, the C and TS is still owned and administered jointly by New Mexico and Colorado. It is America's longest and highest
narrow-gauge railroad and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is leased to a private operator
who is responsible for carrying tourists on scheduled rides and maintaining the rolling stock and the associated rail museum.
About Engine No. 1629.
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.