Holiday World retiring its last original ride

Posted Saturday, May 25, 2013 9:01 AM | Contributed by VitaminsAndGravy

The Freedom Train, the last remaining of Holiday World’s original rides from the days when the theme park was known as Santa Claus Land, has taken its final trip. In operation since the park opened in 1946, company officials say the train has deteriorated too badly for repair and will be replaced.

Read more from The Evansville Courier and Press.

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Wednesday, May 29, 2013 3:44 PM

The skyride at CP is awesome means of transport. So is the waterpark train at KI

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Wednesday, May 29, 2013 8:09 PM

It would be really nice to be able to catch a train/sky ride from Thanksgiving to bring me back up that hill at the end of the day.


2020 Trips: Canceled by Corona

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Thursday, May 30, 2013 9:10 AM
WildStangAlex's avatar

Touchdown said:

It would be really nice to be able to catch a train/sky ride from Thanksgiving to bring me back up that hill at the end of the day.

I have had the same thoughts before, however if you look at other hilly parks not too far from Holiday World (Six Flags St. Louis & Silver Dollar City) neither one of them have transportation to bypass the hills. Especially SDC, the path down to Powder Keg/ Wildfire / Outlaw Run is incredibly steep, so much so they don't allow motorized scooters down a big stretch of it. Something I could see working, however, would be just like a parking lot tram on a separate access road from SS to Christmas.


"We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us."
-Joseph Campbell

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Thursday, May 30, 2013 10:38 PM

Raven Maven said:

RideMan said:

The thing about the Freedom Train is that it was originally built by a couple of Kochs ... with limited appeal ... in addition to requiring an extensive overhaul, the ride really didn't meet the park's needs anymore.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

Dave, could you possibly be any more warm and fuzzy? :)

I'm pretty fuzzy, anyway. 8-)

The Freedom Train was built by Ted Buehn at George Koch Sons for Louis (one of the sons), who was a train enthusiast. Louis founded Santa Claus Land, now Holiday World. It was our first ride.

I knew it was built in-house or at least at the metal plant, but I couldn't remember if it was Louis or someone else, and I couldn't find that history on short notice. That it was (a) in-house and (b) first in the park were the important points.

Regarding "limited appeal," I guess that's subjective, but for many families its a multi-generational tradition to ride the train together. The word "beloved" comes to mind.

I get that. I do kind of wonder how much of that is because it is *that* train, and how much it is because it is a ride that everybody can enjoy? Would it be a huge disappointment to be able to ride in a new train instead? Setting the history aside for the moment, is it really that different from replacing the Round-Up with the Zero Gravity or replacing the Tilt-A-Whirl or the bumper cars? All of those replacements were done for similar reasons: because the newer rides were a better fit (for whatever reason; simple worn-outedness counts) for a park with rapidly growing attendance.

The front coach was, simply put, worn out. It was at the point that restoring it to track worthiness would require so much replacement, it was felt it would no longer be the same ride. In short, we could replicate it but not restore it. And so we will display the train in the park and add the Chance train for riders.

This was (and is) a tough process to go through - I didn't want that to get lost in this discussion.

Thanks, Paula

Would anybody really notice if it were replicated? Kennywood has replaced all of the trains on the Jack Rabbit in the past five years, but most of their customers probably aren't aware of that. But there is more to the calculus. Yes, it could be replicated, but would that be the best choice? Clearly, the decision was made that the answer to that question was ultimately "no." Personally, I think you've come up with a pretty good compromise, and as a park history type I like that you're planning to keep the old train around, especially given its importance to the park.

I don't want to diminish in any way that this is, as you point out, a tough choice. I do want to point out that as tough as the choice is, it is also an understandable one.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.


    /X\        _      *** Respect rides. They do not respect you. ***
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Sunday, June 9, 2013 3:08 PM
a_hoffman50's avatar

I rode the new train yesterday. It is a CP Huntington. Families were enjoying it.

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