Welcome to the Santa Susanna Railroad Historical Society’s website. This website is dedicated to the preservation of the historical Santa Susana depot and to uniquely educate the public about California’s rich railroad history and the enjoyment of model railroading. This is a uniquely interactive website, and we look forward to you participating in the rewarding experience of sharing with us your railroad knowledge or fond memories of the depot.
Just imagine a fully restored 100 plus year old Southern Pacific Railroad depot with both freight and passenger trains rushing by day and night. Imagine that inside is a museum filled with hundred of items having both railroad and local historical significance. Imagine a place where children of all ages can watch model trains running through a miniature representation of Simi Valley as it existed in the 1950’s. Imagine a place where you can hold a business meeting or throw a party. Well, you don't have to imagine! It exists, and it’s all here at the Santa Susana Depot.
The Santa Susana Railroad Historical Society's model railroad club began meeting in the 1984. The initial mission was to restore Simi Valley's Southern Pacific Railroad depot which had been recently moved from its original site to its current location by the Simi Valley Park and Recreation Department. This group of model railroaders, rail fans, railroad and local history buffs formed the non-profit organization, the Rancho Simi Foundation (RSF) as the legal and operational entity for all depot related maters.
After years of hard work, the first few without running water and electricity, the depot was restored to a point where the club could move into the depot and start construction of its first layout, which was in the waiting room and the ticket office. Eventually, the club was able to move into the much larger freight room and start work on its current layout, whose "home road" name is the Santa Susana Pacific. The RSF took over the vacated rooms and began the room's further restoration and utilization for a museum.
The layout utilizes state of the art Digital Command Control (DCC) technology to control the trains, and we are in the midst of installing a DCC controlled signaling system. Our existing track work, structures and scenery are continually being upgraded to meet "fine scale" modeling standards. The layout loosely represents Southern Pacific's coast line in the mid 1950's, and our most featured display is of Simi Valley and its local industries. Upon entering the layout room, first time visitors tend to say "WOW!!!" Needless to say, this is our best affirmation of the hard work we have done over the years.
- What to See and How to Get Here -
Under the overall guidance, financing and volunteer help of the Simi Valley Parks and Recreation Department and the Rancho Simi Historical Foundation, the depot was purchased and subsequently moved to its present location, and has been beautifully restored as close as possible to its original 1903 authenticity. Located within the waiting room and dispatcher/ticket office is the Rancho Simi Foundation’s museum. The museum’s collection includes historically accurate displays of both static and operating artifacts, both inside and outside the depot that were used during its early years of operation.
Extremely popular with the young and old alike is the Santa Susana Model Railroad Club’s large operating HO scale model railroad. The layout portrays Simi Valley during the mid 1950’s, and is located inside the depot’s freight room. Trains run each weekend, with Sundays being the best day to see several trains operating simultaneously.
The depot also has a spacious meeting room, whose walls are filled with nostalgic railroading memorabilia. The room is available to rent for meetings or special occasions, and comes supplied with ample tables and chairs. Children love having birthday parties here, as there is lots to see and plenty of room to run outside.
The depot is located on the grounds of Simi Valley’s beautiful Oak Knolls Park which has well developed recreation and picnic facilities. 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.
Website created and managed by Santiago Homsi Jr.