Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures
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SPRR Daylight Special at Saugus Depot
Saugus, California


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The northbound Southern Pacific Daylight Special arrives at the SPRR Saugus depot, May 1941. Apparently it's transporting automobiles; see car at right. A southbound train is visible in the distance. It will use the siding seen in the foreground of this photograph to allow the northbound train to pass.

Handwriting on the back of this photograph reads:

Daylight Special / Lima / 4-8-4 at head end of 3rd sec[tion] #813 / Saugus, Calif. May 1941. Sou[thern] Pac[ific].
H.L. Kelso, 1735 E. 69 St., Los Angeles, Calif.

The Daylight used locomotives with a 4-8-4 wheel configuration, which the Southern Pacific designated the Golden State (GS) class. The first 10 (engine Nos. 4400-4409) were built by Baldwin in 1930. The Southern Pacific ordered 60 more (Nos. 4410-4469) from Lima Locomotive Works of Ohio between 1937 and 1943.

We can't see the engine number here, but if it was manufactured by Lima and photographed in May 1941, as indicated, then it was either among the first 20 ordered from Lima (Nos. 4410-4429), built in 1937, or it was brand new; 20 more were delivered in April and May 1941 (Nos. 4430-4449).


The Saugus train station opened Sept. 1, 1887, when the Southern Pacific Railroad completed the spur line to Ventura along the present-day alignment of Magic Mountain Parkway to State Route 126 through Castaic Junction, Camulos, Piru, Fillmore, Santa Paula and Saticoy — where the SP also erected depots or sidings of various size.

The large, two-story Saugus depot followed a standard set of SP blueprints and stood at the southeast corner of present-day Drayton Street and Railroad Avenue (previously San Fernando Road). Tolfree's Saugus Eating House occupied the north side of the depot until 1905 when it moved across the street into its own building and became the Saugus Café (the name had been in use since 1899).

President Benjamin Harrison came through (without stopping) in April 1891, and Theodore Roosevelt is said to have been met at the depot by California governor and Acton gold mine owner Henry T. Gage in 1903. Twenty years later, Charlie Chaplin used the depot in "The Pilgrim," and in 1954 another U.S. president was scheduled to stop at the depot but the feds caught wind of an assassination attempt in time. Of course, this last one was Hollywood fiction; the movie was "Suddenly" and the assassin was played by Frank Sinatra. Saugus and Newhall were used extensively as the film locations.

Passenger service ended in April 1971 and the last station agent, James "Bob" Guthrie, shuttered the depot for good on Nov. 15, 1978. Facing demolition by the SP, the depot was rescued in 1980 through a fundraising effort organized by the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society, then just 4½ years old. During the night of June 24-25, 1980, it was moved two miles south to the society's home at Heritage Junction at William S. Hart County Park in Newhall, where its film career continued (e.g., "The Grifters" with John Cusack and Angelica Huston, 1989).

Today the depot is an educational venue for visiting elementary school students and patrons of the SCV Historical Society's lectures and film showings, as well as the home to the society's offices, collections, meetings, and the community's "temporary" history museum while the Pardee House at Heritage Junction is turned into a permanent museum facility.


LW2936: 9600 dpi jpeg from original photograph purchased 2017 by Leon Worden.
SPRR Saugus Depot

See Also:
• Moving Saugus Station 1980
• Saugus Cafe


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Docent Training

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Opens 6/21/1888

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Exterior 1890s

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Track View 1907-12

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1914

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2 Wells Fargo Express Trucks at Depot 1919

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2 Locomotives at Depot Late 1910s

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1930s-1940s

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"Oh, Susanna!" 1936

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1938

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May 1941

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1967-1970

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1967-1970

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1970

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1970

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1970

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1970

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Snow Day 12/19/1970

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Train Orders 11/1978:1

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Train Orders 11/1978:2

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Train Orders 11/1978:3

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"Supertrain" NBC 1979: Interiors, Exteriors

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4/17/1980 Mult.

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New Signage 2018

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