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CORRECTION: A trestle by the trail

Corrects street name of location of trailhead

Posted: March 30, 2012 1:30 a.m.
Updated: March 30, 2012 1:30 a.m.

Hydroseed technician Adolfo Hernandez sprays a mix of seed and water on a 7,700-square-foot area around the Iron Horse Trailhead riding and walking path and historic Santa Clara Railroad River Bridge near the intersection of Magic Mountain Parkway and Tourney Road in Santa Clarita on Thursday.

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An old railroad bridge that has made cameo appearances in movies and TV programs throughout the years is now the center point of the Iron Horse Trailhead, which is slated to open in mid-May.

The trailhead — which will allow pedestrians and bicyclists to connect from the South Fork Trail to the Valencia Industrial Center — will be opening in mid-May, said Rick Gould, Santa Clarita director of Parks, Recreation and Community Services.

Contractors were installing landscaping at the site Thursday. The trailhead is located on Magic Mountain Parkway near Tourney Road, where the old trestle bridge spans the Santa Clara River.

The city restored the bridge and converted it to pedestrian use within the past five years, Gould said.

A sign on the bridge states that it was built in 1898, although the bridge was not built in Santa Clarita, Gould said. Several rumors have been spawned throughout the years, including speculation that the sign on the bridge was faked for movies. It was not, Gould said; the year of construction is authentic.

After some research, historians discovered that the bridge was placed in its current location after the St. Francis Dam disaster, Gould said.

The railroad bridge that originally spanned the Santa Clara river was destroyed during the disaster in 1928, Gould said.

Among the many services that were disrupted after the flood was the Southern Pacific Railroad line, so railroad officials decided to come up with a quick solution that remains in place to this day — relocating a bridge from the Colorado River and moving it to what is now Santa Clarita.

The trail is now popular with bicyclists and pedestrians, but the trailhead has been closed for the past few months while officials complete improvements.

Newhall Land Development Inc. is building the Iron Horse Trailhead and will later turn it over to the city of Santa Clarita, Gould said.

When the trail opens in mid-May, commuters who use bicycles will be able to get from the South Fork Trail to the Valencia Industrial Center easily, Gould said.

Eventually, the trail will connect to areas west of Interstate 5, he said.

Some of the improvements going on at the trailhead include installation of plants, the irrigation of which is controlled by an on-site solar panel; the addition of a parking lot, turn-around, shade structure and benches; and some grading and paving at the site, said Marlee Lauffer, spokeswoman for Newhall Land.

The company often forms agreements to build parks and trails within the city, and the city later maintains them.
Gould said the location of the bridge and trail is very popular with residents because it’s next to the Santa Clara River.

“You get out there on that bridge, and sometimes, you don’t realize you’re in the middle of the city,” Gould said.

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