Waldameer gets a second train for its railroad

Posted Tuesday, December 6, 2011 9:17 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Among the more than 75 rides and attractions at Waldameer Park & Water World, the passenger train is one of the most personal to park owner Paul Nelson. The L. Ruth Express is named after his late adoptive mother, Lydia Ruth Moeller, who, with her husband, taught Nelson how to run Waldameer starting when he was 11 years old.

Read more from The Erie Times-News.

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Tuesday, December 6, 2011 10:25 AM

It will be interesting to see how they manage the new train. The railroad is single-tracked for the run around the waterpark. I also wonder if this means the railroad will be getting a siding and/or a second tunnel.

Then there is the Comet. I guess this probably means the end of the manual brake levers. And I am guessing that whoever is doing the new controls is going to put in a boring push-button control panel. One of these days I'd like to see someone do a control system conversion, and use the old brake levers as inputs to the new controls.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011 11:59 AM

It's nice to see Waldameer doing great. I've been there twice in the past two years and had a blast. Some of that comes from being able to bring a 3 / 4 year old and not having to deal with not being able to ride the majority of rides as a family.

I'm sad to see the skid brakes go away on Comet, and I'm still not entirely sure whether they are adding an additional car to the trains and / or adding a "new" train. Comet has always had two trains in the station, though I've only seen one used at a time. (Not quite sure why... It seems as if there is adequate blocking for two train operation.)

As for the train, it really looks like at some point there was thought to having a second station back by the coaster so it would be a transportation system.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011 1:35 PM

RideMan said:
It will be interesting to see how they manage the new train. The railroad is single-tracked for the run around the waterpark.

While one train is on the circuit, a second can unload/load. Then after the first train passes the station and goes through the picnic grove the second train can leave the station.

L. Ruth Express layout

Then there is the Comet. I guess this probably means the end of the manual brake levers.

Seeing as how 4 wooden gears were donated for this past weekends ACE Holiday Party, your probably right. I have one of them and may regift it at the GOCC Party this weekend. It's about the size of an 18" long 4x4 and I really don't have room for it in my collection. :)

Steve said the skids would remain but that they would be opperated by air instead of manually. I'm not sure if that was just for the station (since its round) or for the straight brake run as well. Originally they talked about mag breaks in the straight brake run.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011 7:15 PM

Yeah, the logical way to do that is to use magnetic brakes where there is now a hand-operated skid brake for the station approach trim. The reason for doing it that way is that there is almost no adjustment and almost no maintenance, so the programming for the station braking is much simplified: put a switch near the downtrack end of the station, when the train gets there, dump the air to set the brake. The train skids just a little, but not enough to be a problem.

I wonder if they will either remove one car from each train, rebuild the storage track, or simply *always* run two trains. I noticed last season that the train on the storage track was uncoupled; on closer examination I realized that the reason it was uncoupled was that the "new style" draw bars are longer than the old sleeved-bolt couplers, and if all the cars were coupled together the train would be longer than the storage track!

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011 10:27 PM

Remember, Waldameer did replace Comet's trains sometime in the early 90s or late 80s, so I would assume the design was upgraded from the 1951 original installation that it would not fit in the transfer track. Opening day to the last day, I only witnessed the orange train running. From what I could tell when conversing with my supervisors, if Waldameer had the safe capability to run two trains, they would because one of the goals at Waldameer is to keep the lines as short as possible. The only sad thing being that I never got the opportunity to operate the manual brakes.

For me, the upgrades to the Whacky Shack are the most interesting considering how Waldameer claims to have only spent several hundred dollars. I hope future blog entries give some more details.


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