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kimv1972 last won the day on January 17 2021

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  1. Just posted by Cassandra Williams on the Crown Locomotives website: an "in the factory" pic of KI&MV #12. The only thing that distinguishes it from Lakeside #17 is the "normal" Crown dome.
  2. Just a note that today the Williams family posted four more pics of #12 being tested in Pennsylvania prior to delivery. Check out the Crown Locomotives Facebook site.
  3. A sample of the pictures Cassandra posted today on the Crown Locomotive Facebook. Kenny's engine on the factory test track before being delivered. Note that people are riding where the propane tanks should be. They didn't need much fuel on a track that was maybe 700 feet long.
  4. If you haven't discovered it yet, there is a new Facebook site called Crown Locomotives, started in September, with hundreds of postings of family and company pictures by Cassandra Williams, the daughter in law of Crown Metal Products owner Bert Williams, and her husband Ken. A while back I posted that K S Williams, founder of the company, had passed away just before Kings Island's trains arrived, so there will be less Kings Island pics available since the family had other things to think about at that time. Also, Bert passed away this summer, just before the new Facebook was started. But if you love Kings Island's trains, you will love Cassandra's posts of all the Crowns built. It appears that including the 21 large ones like Kings Island, Crown built 109 locomotives and around 450 cars. And I assume that by now you have seen the new Kings Island posting about the first run of #19 in November 1971 (pic attached). It was so new that there wasn't any wood on the tender yet and it looks like only four coaches had been delivered.
  5. Some hope that work on WOF Levi (KD#552) is still going on. Can't tell my sources, but it sounds hopeful. Stay tuned.
  6. Word on the grapevine is that Worlds of Fun's #33 "Eli" is back on the property from an overhaul at Strasburg. That makes us wonder about Kings Dominion's #552 that was being restored at an undisclosed location as "Levi" to take "Eli's" place. Stay tuned.
  7. Ladies and Gentlemen, please remove your hats and place them over your heart. This is the sad, sad tale of ol' Rancid Butterball. For once upon a time, for five great seasons near Memphis, a little Carbon Limestone tanker #33 (Porter 1942) played a painted lady named "Ye Olde Huff n Puff". And indeed, it seemed she couldn't make it around the loop without being held up by some good old boys. Well, it appears that the ladies must have loved that little Porter, for one of them had just about enough of it. Fun summer job robbing trains? Think again...
  8. Sharon, the lady that sold the Neverland job, told me the paint on the tender was worth $16K (not planned that way, but MJ kept changing his mind), the cab was solid teak, and the job was the most secretive they had ever done. The stall where the work was done was partitioned from the rest of the shop and the staff could not even tell their spouses what it was. MJ was in hiding at the time (we won't go into that), but he called regularly to check how the restoration was going. She loaned me footage to copy, but I can't remember where it is today. I think it was VHS. Part of it was using a forktruck to get the pony truck back on the rails during the test run. After all the secrecy, it had to be shipped wide open to the world because tarps would have beat the paint and teak to death. When I was in Iowa twenty years ago, I found the oil tank from the tender on the scrap pile (it was switched from oil to propane). Personally I'm happy they jacketed the cylinders and put more historically shaped domes on it. It was set up to run without a fireman. I know it had automatic firing but I'm not sure about automatic feedwater. He had an engineer on call 24/7 so he could ride when he wanted to. 45 minutes would have been reasonable if the engine had been hot the day before, but to bring it up that fast from cold would have been forcing stresses into the boiler. With all the love that Iowa put into it, they never did set the valves square. Every video I have seen of it, it is waltzing down the track. Maybe MJ liked the syncopation. MJ was to get more coaches, but "life" intervened and that part of the contract was cancelled. The two that he got were from Six Flags St. Louis #5 since they had greater capacity than the Crown-esque coaches that they pulled at Carowinds (built for Space City USA park in Huntsville, which went bankrupt before it opened). No matter the look of it after it came out of the shop, it looked a hundred times worse going in. Charlie Kelton, the auto dealer in Vermont that bought it from South of the Border, painted it like a bathtub toy: red boiler, pale yellow cab, blue wheels and domes. Plug ugly. And it got bent up a bit in the trip from Vermont. I think Dave Barnhardt did tell me he was the broker for either Kelton or South of the Border, and the sale was equally secretive. I'd love to know what they paid Charlie for it. If Carowinds took care of the boiler, it would have been a good buy. I agree that smokeboxes should not be light gray! I don't know who chose the aesthetics, but I would not be surprised to find that an ex-Disney person had a hand in it since the Golden Spike engines were color palleted by a Disney person. It appears they actually did try to do a Russian Iron color on the boiler jacket, similar to what Disney put on the Ward Kimball. You don't want to know what Disney paid per gallon for that Imron specialized paint. And they even ignored the Crown wagontop and tapered it more gently, which really helped the looks of it. Sadly they kept the Crown tradition of keeping the tops of the domes at the same level, which didn't happen often on the prototype. The cab was stunning, but the roof should have been 6" higher. Crown makes them too high, Iowa made it too low. The track was a moderate snake down the side of the mountain with spring switch balloon loops on each end, both appearing to be Crown's 150 foot minimum radius. In the video above, it sounds like they are running downhill with cylinder cocks open and the Johnson Bar a bit over center to let the cylinders take the load and save the brakes since I don't hear the air pump running much. The train shed was two stalls with the mainline going through one of them. I don't think there is any doubt there was Disney influence in the design of the station. That's all I can remember for now. It's been over twenty years since I talked to Sharon and Dave. But I remember it was fun researching it back then.
  9. Thanks for the great detail shots of #12. Absolutely amazing how many "enhancement" have been added since I ran them in 1972-1973. The piping in the cab is more that twice what they had when they were new. Has #19 been running? I've seen #12 go by from the road a couple times.
  10. Latest rumor is that Michael Jackson's Crown is at Helm and Son Amusements in Colton, California. Can't confirm, but they have one long building that could easily hide it.
  11. Crown builders photo of one of the CW engines. Each train had 8 coaches, I think. Some went to Dorney, Valleyfair, and Omaha Zoo. Why 30" gage and so many coaches? I'd like to know! Perhaps 36" gage would require special licensing in Canada maybe? The train was to operate around the Frontier Canada area as a way of soothing concerns about the park being too "American". But cost or some other reason caused the entire Frontier Canada area to be deleted from construction and not emerge again for twenty years, leaving two orphaned trains.
  12. Although trees prevent you from taking this picture today, Crown #15 has made it this far in its two test runs. The train has just exited Tunnel #2. Doe River Gorge Ministries owns tunnels #2, #3, and #4, all blasted from solid rock. They are using #2 and #3, but #4 will have to wait for the day when there is money to restore a bridge to get to it. In all, they have about three miles of track in the gorge. Yes, that engine is about the same size as the Crown.
  13. There has been a rumor that the Neverland engine (ex-Carowinds) which has been stored in a warehouse in Glendale, might have a future. One potential buyer of Neverland might want it back. The picture is the South of the Border look (ugggggggllllllllyyyyyy) when it was displayed there with the closed coaches that were built for #3 (now at Doe River). It never ran there, but both #2 and the #3 coaches were also spotted unused in Vermont for a while. I have never found where those coaches ended up. I assume they were cut up for their trucks.
  14. I spent a few days at Doe River Gorge in June. The Crown is getting its final brake piping (I painted most of it as they finished it) and modifications to the ashpan. Sanders and bell ringer also need to be piped. The boiler jacket has been added and is powder coated dark blue. The sand dome and bell are yet to be mounted, but the handrails are polished and installed. It currently has a round electric headlight, but someday a box may be made to put around it. The big ugly green regulator next to the pump has been replaced. The smokebox had been extended for the installation of a Lempor front end, but time, money, and manpower have put that on hold and it will have a standard blast nozzle for now. It has been fired up twice and run a quarter mile through the first tunnel. The limiting factor now is the spiking and tamping of 200+ brand new added crossties to convert the gorge from an 8 ton Plymouth line to a 25 ton Crown line. The early Crowns had very narrow tires, so holding the gauge will be critical. Pardee Point is not a place you want to derail. From their calculations, it should have just enough power to pull two coaches on the 3%. That is based on the fact that it has 4000# TE versus 5700# TE at Kings Island and we pulled six coaches on 1% at KI. The weight of the early Crowns was not much less than the 5700# TE version, so the Factor of Adhesion is above 4 and should be good for dry rail. Also we used power and traction references from a reprint of a Porter catalog that has a similar sized engine code name HADRIA. The coaches that will be used were home built at Dry Gulch and are slightly shorter than the Crown coaches with longitudinal benches that should be lighter. Since the last narrow gage steamer on the ET&WNC was #14 (there was no #13 - tradition!), this one I believe with be given #15. The hope is to have it fired up and at least doing short demonstration runs at the end of August for the National Narrow Gauge Convention. I plan to be there for that and will let you know how it went.
  15. When I first toured the park in December 1971 with someday-to-be-park-manager-Al Weber, the station platform corral was stacked full of the canoes to be used on the two canoe rides. That appears to be some of them in one of the pictures. And I vaguely remember Bert Williams wearing a fishing hat like that. You may have discovered pictures of the very first test runs of #12 in February 1972. The ties appear to have a light dusting of snow on them.
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