sam on front of 3751Sam Calderwood has been an integral part of the 3751 crew since 2002.  He became an SBRHS supporter and started volunteering on the mechanical crew just as 3751 was coming off her 1472 and prior to the 2002 Grand Canyon trip. As with most of the newbie crew members, Sam’s first job was cleaning the tender of all rust and dirt. Even though it was a dirty and cramped job, it did not deter Sam from returning for more.

Since joining, Sam has participated in more than fifteen excursions and moves. He has served as qualified fireman, mechanic, docent and mentor. In 2012, Sam was a Crew Leader on the Grand Canyon Limited excursion and has been the mechanical lead for the past few trips to San Bernardino. Sam has been responsible for handling nearly every light-off for the past five years and training others on the crew in the procedure.Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

A common thread among the crew is their affinity for fellow crew members and Sam is no exception, stating how much he enjoys working with the team.  It is also important to note that Sam has infinite patience with the younger crew members and always takes the time to thoroughly explain her inner workings. This passing on of knowledge is critically vital to the future of all steam operations.

A native to California, Sam grew up in Canoga Park. He served 23 years in the Navy reserves as a test cell operator, responsible for testing jet engines of mission critical aircraft such as the C130, P3, E2 Hawkeye, F4, F14 and F18. In addition, Sam was flight crew for P3 Orion and S2 Tracker aircrafts, sharing with us how much he loved being in the air on these powerful jets. During his Navy career, Sam was stationed in The Philippines, Brunswick, Maine, Pt. Magoo, California and Lemoore, California.

In addition to his naval reserve career, Sam spent 30 years working as a heavy duty equipment manager for the city of Los Angeles. Responsible for repairing offroad equipment such as bulldozers, skiploaders, pavers and rollers, essentially all the equipment needed to maintain roads throughout the city. He also operated heavy duty recovery equipment, rescuing tipped bull dozers and other such heavy machinery.

Sam teaching Winston Lynn to shoot the rods prior to 2012 Grand Canyon Limited excursion.

Sam teaching Winston Lynn to shoot the rods prior to 2012 Grand Canyon Limited excursion.

Sam has had many diverse and interesting experiences and hobbies. He was a gun dealer in Los Angeles for fifteen years, but has since retired. Another interesting tidbit about Sam is that he drove Rose Parade floats for 17 years, with his last run in 2004. His favorite float driving story was the year that he drove the float Jack LaLane and three live ostriches were featured on. The float broke down and Jack hopped off, stating he was going to just pull it (we guess he probably could have). Sam also drove many of the floats in the Hollywood Lane Christmas Parade in the 90’s, with his favorite passenger being “Commander” Ernest Borgnine. Turns out when Sam and Ernest were introduced, Ernest noticed Sam was wearing a Navy shirt, and immediately Mr. Borgnine became Commander for the rest of the evening. Finally, Sam was part of the original team responsible for decorating and operating the Metrolink Holiday Toy Express, a tradition that lasted more than a decade and enjoyed by millions.

When Sam is not spending time maintaining or prepping 3751, he enjoys tinkering and playing with trains of all sizes. He is currently serving his fourth year as president of Los Angeles Live Steamers, where you can find him running his 3.34” 2-6-0 Mogul and 1.6” 4-6-2 Pacific. He also enjoys wood working and has produced geographical map cases for city of Santa Barbara, mission style furniture, wooden lanterns, gun cases and lots of other crafty items.

Sam takes a break with fellow crew members, Robbin Lynn and Dan Echeto at the 2013 National Train Day display.

Sam takes a break with fellow crew members, Robbin Lynn and Dan Echeto at the 2013 National Train Day display.

With this signature handlebar mustache, Sam is easy to spot. Be sure to say hello and shake his hand next time we’re out with 3751.