Santa Susana Depot Museum and Model Railroad in Simi Valley

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Visit a fully restored Southern Pacific Railroad depot that was built in 1903 with both freight and passenger trains rushing by at the Santa Susana Depot Museum and Model Railroad. The depot served passengers and farmers in Simi Valley for over 60 years, with a classic passenger waiting room featuring a pot-belly stove, the depot was also headquarters for local freight shipments.

The depot is a museum filled with hundreds of items having both railroad and local historical significance. The depot is owned and managed by the Rancho Simi Recreation and Park District, which took it over from the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1973. The depot was moved to its current location and after 10 years of neglect was restored to its current state by 1996. The depot was restored to what it looked like in 1938.

Also at the depot is the Santa Susana Model Railroad Club’s large operating HO scale model railroad. Located inside the depot's freight room, the layout of the railroad portrays Simi Valley during the mid 1950s. Trains run each weekend, with Sundays being the best day to see several trains operating simultaneously.

The depot is located on the grounds of Simi Valley’s beautiful Oak Knolls Park. For you rail fans, the depot is adjacent to the Union Pacific Railroad’s busy “Coast Line,” which is also utilized by both Amtrak and Metrolink passenger trains. You will standing in close proximity to passing trains, so get ready to wave!

The depot is located at 6503 Katherine Road in Simi Valley. For more information and a map to the depot/parking, visit www.santasusannadepot.org or call 805.581.3462.  The depot is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 1 pm to 4 pm.

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The Nethercutt Museum in Sylmar

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The Nethercutt Museum in Sylmar houses a spectacular collection of over 120 antique, vintage, black iron and classic automobiles. This is a place that a surprisingly few number people know about but is a MUST SEE (another "hidden gem," like The Mullin Automotive Museum in Oxnard). It is a truly gorgeous collection of cars, including numerous winners of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and other famed auto shows.

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Particularly eye opening to an auto novice like me is the sheer number of different car manufacturers on display that I'd never heard of, like Tucker, Simplex, Cord, REO, Maybah, Ruxton, Westinghouse, Pierce-Arrow, Moon etc as well as autos made by Daimler, Rolls Royce, Cadillac, Packard, Lincoln, Ford, Duesenberg, Oldsmobile, Bugatti and others. There is also huge number of hood ornaments, headlamps and other vintage paraphernalia on display.

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Admission to The Nethercutt Museum is FREE of charge and hours are 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Closed Sunday, Monday and all major holidays.  Visit www.nethercuttcollection.org for more information. Open to all ages.

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Located at 15151 Bledsoe Steet, Sylmar. When I went I took the 101 east to the 405 south towards Santa Clarita, which becomes the 5 freeway. Get off at Roxford exit east (exit 159A; don't get confused and take the NEXT Roxford exit). Turn right on Roxford, right on San Fernando Road and left on Bledsoe. Museum is a few blocks up on the left hand side. Turn left on Bradley (at Bledsoe) and an immediate left into the parking lot.

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Outside the Museum you can walk through a 1912 Pullman Rail Car and a 1937 Canadian Pacific Royal Hudson Locomotive. Open twice a day (weather permitting) at 12:30 p.m. and 3:45 p.m. for 15 minutes.

In addition to the main Museum, next door at 15200 Bledsoe is The Nethercutt Collection, which has over 50 automobiles along with what they call the world's finest assemblage of mechanical musical instruments. Admission here is also free but you must make reservations for the 2 hour docent-led tour, kids must be 12 and older, and no video recording or flash photography is allowed. Tours are currently offered at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.

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Train Rides at Fillmore and Western Railway - Fillmore

Take a vintage train ride at the historic Fillmore and Western Railway in Downtown Fillmore, only 30 miles from the Conejo Valley. Trains here date back to the 1930s. Most were acquired from MGM, Paramount and 20th Century Fox studios in the late 1960s and have been used in numerous Hollywood films.

Trains at Fillmore and Western Railway
Trains at Fillmore and Western Railway

There are dinner rides throughout the year with names like Margarita Madness, The Wine Train, Mardi Gras Train, Chinese New Year Train and a New Year’s Eve party train. There are event rides including scenic tours to Santa Paula and a Murder Mystery Ride. There are kids events like Day out with Thomas the Tank Engine, Dinner with Santa, North Pole Express and a Pumpkin Patch ride.

Fillmore and Western Railway is located at 351 Santa Clara Street in Fillmore.  Visit www.fwry.com for a full schedule of events or call 805.524.2546.

Santa Clara River Valley Railroad Historical Society's Railroad Visitor Center in Fillmore

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The Santa Clara River Valley Railroad Historical Society was established in 1993 to help preserve and restore the railroad corridor between Montalvo and Saugus. This corridor, known as the Southern Pacific Santa Paula Branch, is a unique and historical local community asset. Make sure to stop by the Railroad Visitor Center, located at 455 Main Street, Fillmore, on weekends between 9am and 1pm and check out historical artifacts, information and photographs, a large model train setup, gift shop, theater and more. We've been here several times and both kids and adults alike are mesmerized by the model train.

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More information at www.scrvrhs.com or call 805.524.2254.