Alright, I know this isn;t really about "coasters" and this is "coaster buzz" but i think that the park railroads (In parks that have railroads at least) are very important to the overall atmosphere and character of the park. Along the same note, I am a somewhat avid steam entusiast. I say somewhat avid because i'm not one of those people that goes around saying that steam is what should be running on the mainlines of today, but i do think that steam is the best way to go for a theme park. I have been a train enthusiast since i was 3 and hava been a coaster enthusiast since i was 5. I am curently an engineer and mechanic at a local railroad museum (running steam and diesel) and at my local amusement park (recently replaced our steam engines with diesel). I was just wondering what everyone elses take on park trains is??????
I personally think they are an important part of the park atmosphere as well, though to me it doesn't really matter if it is steam, diesel, or electric.
One of the most unique park trains is the Zephyr at Dorney Park. It was built in the 1930's and modeled after the Burlington Zephyr. It is interesting as it has a gasoline engine that powers electric motors between each of the cars.
When used right they are a great way to move around the park too. I must take at least 1 round trip a day on the CP&LE RR everytime I go to CP (nice lazy way to get from MF to MS and back again) and the Disney trains help you avoid the crowded hubs.
I agree that the train in any shape or form is vitale to a park's atmosphere and a great way to keep guests happy as they scurry about the park. However, I am biased towards steam engines and believe that they add more to the train experience. Steam engines are usually louder in actual operation as they chug, especially uphill, and there is nothing better sounding than an engineer laying on the steam whistle as they are cruising along. Steam engines are also stronger. I spoke to a mechanic who had been working on the train at SFSL as far back as I can remember, and he told me if SFSL ever went diesel, they might as well buy a whole new train, cars and all, because a diesel the same size as the current engine couldn't even dream of pulling that train around.
I think steam trains add alot to parks. (I'm a railfan :))
It really enchances the atmoshphere when you here a whistle or a steam locomotive chugging around the park. Steam Engines are pieces of American History, and it is nice that some parks, like Dollywood, Cedar Point, Knott's Berry Farm, Silver Dollar City & SFOT are willing to maintain these relics from the early 20th century. (Dollywood and Knott's in particular. They have real steam engines-none of that tiny plantation stuff)
I was particularly pissed when SFOG cheaped out and decided to convert the General and Texas to diesel, especially when they gave false reasons for it. Same thing that Opryland did to it's railroad in the 80s. (Fortunatly one of Opryland's 2 steam engines was spared)
I also think that the two Busch Gardens have nice rail operations. They really seem to like steam trains. And of course Disney trains, though HKDL will allegedly have Diesel Steam look-alikes.
I'v heard here before the SFStl steam train's days may be limited. Hopefully they won't get ideas from SFOG.
Knoebel's easily has the best train of any park. A long hike [or ride, in this case] through the woods, a trip under Twister and into a long tunnel. Great setting for a train, I always take a ride on it when I visit Knoebel's..
There is something eerie about Knoebels Pioneer Train at night. Odd to think that, if that were train were to suddenly stop in the middle of the forest, its just you, your fellow riders and whatever else may be out there.
I realize that its an unlikely scenario, but you can't help but wonder when you're on it. The "fear" from that ride surpasses any fear that I have felt on a coaster in a long time, and that is probably one of the reasons why I love that ride so much!
The Gen and Tex haven't been converted. Instead, they are sitting outside rotting. It's a shame too, because the General could run in about a few hours time. We have done our best to cover things up on them to keep them in the best condition possible. Supposedly, something definitive will be thought up soon for these historic pieces of SFoG history, according to spokemen on the subject. Let's all hope that someone in the system still has a tender heart for steam, even if only on a weekend basis. Until then, we are going to try our best to make the current locomotive as appealing as possible (not an easy task). We are thinking about installing marker flags on the front to designate the type of train service (I believe green flags are correct for the passenger trains we run), and install some American flags to the front also. We also hope to at least find the old Conductor hats for the dock crew to wear, since full costumes are out of the question for them. Interesting enough, did you know that Gretta, the park train we received from Fiesta Texas, was originally a narrow gauge tank locomotive created in the late 30's to be used for Nazi supply runs? If any of you have any ideas you would like to see us implement on the railroad this year, please comment.
Hi, my name is Chris, and I am a GERF :) (Glassy-eyed railfan).Is it me, or are like 70 percent of coaster enthusiasts railroad enthusiasts:)? *** Edited 2/9/2004 7:42:21 AM UTC by Chris the Coaster Freak***
Dollywood's ex-WP&Y and Knott's ex-D&RGW (or is it exRGS? can not remember right now) are my two favorites. Although unlike Dukeis#1 I also like the plantation tea kettles. SDC has a few tea kettles which used to work a ship dock in Europe but can not remember which country exactly. Dollywood's is cool because it shows just how big even a narrow gauge engine can be.
I make an effort to ride the ride the park train,especially if it is steam powered. My hat is off to parks that preserve and operate vintage steam power from former common carrier and industrial railroads. Silverwoods' steam train was just as much of highlight as the coasters on my visit there in June 2002.
JWolg,the locomotives at Knotts' are ex-Rio Grand Southern along with the Galloping Goose,which was unique to the RGS. I believe the rolling stock there is a mix of RGS and DRGW.
TalonJosh1491 said: Knoebel's easily has the best train of any park. A long hike [or ride, in this case] through the woods, a trip under Twister and into a long tunnel. Great setting for a train, I always take a ride on it when I visit Knoebel's..
I agree 100% with you. Knoebels has the best train, I usually have to ride it at least 2 or 3 times every time I go there. It's just so long, and the tunnels, and going back through the woods. The smaller cars have you sitting closer to the ground, so that makes it more fun, you can really feel every movement of the train along the rails, and hear the clickity-clack. And, the trains are classic and old fashioned. It all adds up to a great experience.
I love trains. If any of you plan to go to Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk next summer, I highly recommend you take the trip from Felton on Roaring Camp. The trip to the beach is diesel, but the open cars and redwoods are great. There is about a 4 hour layover which gives you quite a nice chunk of time to do the park.
Also, gotta love those narrow gauge Shays with the vertical pistons. Neat stuff.
I work at SFGAm, and run the 36" park railroad there. They are steam outlines powered by a Dertoit Diesel in the tender. I would do anything to run a steamer on the parks line, but Six Flags wouldn't do that, ever. Would be nice if we could get one of the Harpurs from SFoG, and they would keep the one steamer they have (we'll let them have the General) and we will fix the Texas and run it here.
I know some folks from Georgia might hate me now, BUT YA GOTTA SPREAD THE LOVE!!
It's better than what the Texas is doing now...To me theres nothing more lonely than seeing it sitting off in the woods, gathering mold and moss...
The funny thing about it is, I could have the General running in about 3 hours time. Give me 20 bucks to go to home depot to buy a brass tube, hammer it into the one tube which sidelined the train to begin with, cap it at each end, and weld it over. She's ready to go other than that. Fuel and all... *** Edited 2/9/2004 9:05:34 PM UTC by Chris the Coaster Freak***
Wow. I have to say thank you to everyone who responded in this thread. I was honestly not expecting to get this much positive response to parktrains, especially steam locomotives. I am orginally from Downey California, so I grew up 20 minutes from Knott's and Disneyland. I was raised with steam trains in my parks and dreamed of being an engineer since i was 3. If all goes according to plan, I will be moving to Florida over the summer and will be an engineer for the Magic Kingdom. Thanks again everyone. *** Edited 2/9/2004 10:41:41 PM UTC by johnclark1102***
The trains the best part, esp when they're classic steam loco's that are spending their retirement at an amusement park like CP&E RR. I like KW's vintage amusement park train. But I can't go to CP without riding it.