Family-friendly Ghost Train ready to roll again

After a year off, local residents can once again board the "Ghost Train" in Griffith Park as part of the 17th annual Halloween-themed event staged by the Los Angeles Live Steamers Railroad Museum.

The Live Steamers is a nonprofit of train enthusiasts who convert their year-round 1/8-scale trains and track system into a haunted ride for guests across roughly 30 professional Halloween displays.


Diana Manchester, the nonprofit's art director, said the organization's members are excited to return after taking last year off for facility maintenance, and they hope past attendees will enjoy the new displays.

"Many of the displays will be ones people have seen over the years, but we always try and change it with twists and turns that we've never done before," she said.


Returning will be a steam engine operated by skeletons, a pirates' cove and an abandoned mine.

For the first time, there will be a "zombie containment zone," which will be a fake warehouse dedicated to the undead. A 350-pound, fire-breathing, metal dragon will also debut this year.

Manchester said she likes to remind attendees about Ghost Train's family-friendly atmosphere, with no actors in scary costumes jumping out of dark areas, no blood and no gore.

Gary Baker, who has produced the event since its inception, will return this year. He also produces a Halloween festival called "Midsummer Scream" at the Long Beach Convention Center.

The Ghost Train is also an annual fundraiser for the nonprofit to help pay for maintenance of the 13-acre railroad facility and museum.

The Live Steamers was founded in 1956 by lovers of all things railroad. Many of the trains are owned, operated or renovated by the group's volunteer members, who also operate the Ghost Train.

This year's Ghost Train will run for 11 nights from 7 to 10 p.m. over three weekends this month, starting on Oct. 13. The event will also be held on Halloween, which falls on a Tuesday this year.

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Twitter: @JeffLanda