Charley Atkins

Crystal Springs & Cahuenga Valley


Diesel-Electric Locomotive

Built by:

Electro-Motive Corporation – 1942


Model 40 – Industrial Switching Engine


42 Tons

Donated by:

McDonnell-Douglas Corp. – 1988


Maintained in operating condition

In U.S. Navy paint at the Douglas Aircraft plant about 1976.

Affectionately named “Charley Atkins,” in memory of Travel Town’s founder, this small Diesel powered locomotive is maintained in operating condition and used regularly to switch around the other historic engines and cars here at the museum.  When she arrived at Travel Town in 1988, she was the first display locomotive to move under its own power at the museum since 1961.  Built in 1942 for the United States Navy,  this 300 horsepower locomotive was one of only eleven Model 40 Diesels ever built by the Electro-Motive Corporation (a division of General Motors based in La Gange, Illinois).    Designed for switching freight cars from track to track in railroad yards or hauling heavy loads around an industrial facility, the Model 40 represents an early experimentation in Diesel locomotive technology.  The design of this locomotive is unusual, having 2 single axles rather than a pair of muti-axle trucks.  The position of the engineer’s cab in the center of the locomotive is also unusual by today’s standards.   “Charley” has an electric traction motor mounted on each axle and two Model 6-71 Diesel engines – one in each end – that turn a single D.C. generator in the center.

Please be a friend to the Trains!

Consider making a donation to help our museum volunteers restore the trains and improve your  Travel Town experience!

More Interesting Information:

A “War-Production” unit of World War II, “Charley” first worked for the U.S. Navy hauling coal and supplies at its Goat Island Torpedo Station in Rhode Island.   She was later moved to the Naval Air Station, North Island  in San Diego, California.  In 1962, the locomotive was transferred to the Naval Weapons Industrial Reserve Plant  in Torrance, then operated by the Douglas Aircraft Company.   The locomotive continued to work at Douglas for over 25 years, eventually migrating to the McDonnell-Douglas aircraft plant in  Long Beach, California.  On March 11, 1988, the Los Angeles City, Board of Recreation and Parks Commissioners accepted the McDonnell-Douglas donation of of the locomotive and “Charley” embarked on a new career as a switching and teaching locomotive here at the Travel Town Museum.

"Charley" being moved into the museum in 1988.