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About kimv1972

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  1. Yep, they left out the station sign on the end of the covered platform. Don moved to KD in '74 to get it up and running, so the sign likely didn't last past then.
  2. Losantiville (the original name of Cincinnati) was replaced in 1973 with Palmersville, named after rides director Don Palmer, who later went to Kings Dominion. It lasted only a short time. Two of the pictures were taken in 1973, with Don's father-in-law Ernie Greene firing on the trestle (I'm standing behind him wearing the wristwatch on the gangway). He threatened Don that if he ever got fired, he would take his daughter back. I am the fireman looking at the canoes in the second picture. That one was taken early in 1972 because the headlight bracket is still blue, the whistle is right behind the bell (blew hot water all over everyone and it was the FIRST thing we changed since the blue paint turned orange when the water hit it), the wood was piled horizontally on the tender, the propane bottles are still white, and the roof ventilators were aluminum (all of those show in full size versions of that postcard). The painters' union was never too happy with us repainting all of that but we did it anyway since we were out in the woods away from everyone where no one ever saw us. Lew Brown had a private kingdom back then. Whomever painted the new sign at the antique autos did a great job, with one glaring error. Something REALLY important is missing off the station. Anyone see it?
  3. Looks like the second Harpur at Astroworld in Houston which I think is now in pieces on the backlot at Brook Rother's place in Georgetown, California. Note the sand dome is the twin of the ill-fated General at Six Flags Over Georgia. Its mate is operating at the Pacific Coast RR on Rob Rossi's ranch in California. Bob Harpur built nice engines (off of the design of Disney's first two). Sad to see it rust. It spent a bit of time in Laramie, Wyoming and then the Durango roundhouse museum At Astroworld it was called the 610 Limited due to the I-610 expressway that passed the park.
  4. Arthur LaSalle, who restored Albert and Victoria for Cherokee Wonderland, was somewhat obsessed with British Royalty. Hence, he had to name the 0-4-0 after Prince Albert's wife, Queen Victoria Regina Inglese. LaSalle received Albert as part of the settlement of a lawsuit. His mom had given him a 4-4-0 for his 19th birthday (yep, a full sized 1890's ornate three dome engine from the Louisiana and Texas RR) and the people storing it sold it for scrap. He contacted Baldwin and they told him that it would cost a cool million dollars to reproduce the scrapped engine, so he had good grounds for the suit. I wish Arthur's mom was my mom... I was once told that the Plymouth at Cedar Point was traded by the manufacturer for park tickets for all of their employees.
  5. There is an old story that the water softener at the KD water tower stopped working, so someone just decided it would do the same thing to dump some softener salt in the tender. "Gollllllly, the injectors aren't working any more?" Don't know how true it was but I have heard varying opinions. One of the KI guys visited and told us things were in bad shape down there, but then I have heard from two guys who worked on the KD engines who have told me some really positive things about work they did to improve them. It probably depended on who owned the park at the time.
  6. There was another early day derailment that didn't make it to the press. Lew forgot to throw the yard switch early one morning before the park opened and put the lead truck of #12 on the ground. He was barely moving at the time so no damage and no danger, but we had to get a crane out from Cincinnati to pick up the engine and set it on. We always thought Kenny was miffed since Lew put Kenny's engine on the ground. Cliff put some cylinder oil on the marks in the ties and sprinkled dust on them, then took a leak on the rail so it would rust. "Did it many times on the B&O. No one will be able to see anything happened by tomorrow morning!" It was all in a day's work back then. Today the TV stations would descend and make a national disaster out of it.
  7. Great job on the CP&LE article. Well researched with a couple pics I had never seen, and I've been researching that line for years! I've been chasing the G. A. Boeckling since 1974 when I think I saw it at International Amusement in Dayton, Ohio waiting to go to Great America in Gurnee. For a while, the Point had no idea who made the boiler. I was able to trace it down to a company in Ferrysburg, Michigan. When I looked the Boeckling over a few years ago with Randy, it was clear that Keystone Light Railways had bought the boiler to be used on another engine, possibly one of Arthur LaSalle's engines before he split from Keystone. On the Boeckling, the smokebox had to be extended backward to meet the boiler. It is quite a chop job. But it is steam and it is running. That is the most important thing!!!!
  8. This is the one picture I have found of World of Fun's Crown #33 "Eli" being refurbished last spring. Their website says it went to Pennsylvania in February so that it could give more rides with less drinks of water (leaky tubes?). Since the track in this pic is not permanent, it is not Strasburg or Tweetsie. Does anyone know where they sent it? There is a rumor floating about that WOF was interested in Kings Dominion #552 (formerly running at Dry Gulch in Oklahoma) and another rumor that #552 was spotted on the road in Tennessee. Was it headed to Tweetsie for rehab? Does anyone have contacts at Tweetsie that would know?
  9. I can vouch for the accuracy of the text on the aerial photo since I put it there. I was Kenny VanMeter's fireman on the first public run of the railroad on the morning of April 29, 1972. I was also running #12 the night we derailed on the old horseshoe curve. It was not because of tight curves. The fill dirt in that little ravine settled and the inner rail was lower than the outer rail. The loco held the tender up in the air and the front tender axle derailed at the princely speed of 5 MPH (I was taking it slowly on purpose). No trains or humans were harmed in the derailment, but we had to walk the passengers home since #19 was up on jacks getting a new crankpin. I got home at 1 AM that night. The architect followed Crown's recommendation to the letter: 150' minimum radius. You will notice that the front trucks of the locos have very wide wheels to handle tight curves which have to be laid to more than 36" gage to reduce wear. The early Crowns had normal width wheels and had problems. The contractor also followed the architect to the letter: no tie plates, no expansion joints, and everything gaged very tight to 36". We were wearing metal flakes off the insides of the rails and we had a sun kink out by the Conestoga wagon on hot days that pulled the hoses apart and set the brakes. Since we had to wait until winter to fix the track, we put extension pipes on the coaches so the hoses were closer together. They are probably still there. It was pioneer railroading and it took a couple years to get the bugs out, but that was part of the fun. Lew Brown was a player/manager, running the trains part of the day and maintaining them the other part, so he always knew exactly what they needed. Parks today need to go back to that business model for their steam operations, but it is hard to find people who know enough about them now. Hopefully Thomas and Friends will breed a whole new generation of steam fans to keep things alive. If it weren't for the new Crown train ride which consumed 1/3 of the land (the old smaller Chance Manufacturing train at Coney was sold to World of Golf in Florence) the park wouldn't have been much bigger than Coney that first year. Ed McHale, the Park Manager, loved the train and lavished both land and props on it. He rode nearly every day. --Denis
  10. Here is a park train story rarely heard and almost unbelievable. Arthur LaSalle, son of a sugar fortune near Baton Rouge, received a train for his birthday from his mother. A rather large toy train. It was a beautiful historical full sized standard gage 4-4-0 from a line in Texas, I think. That was when Arthur was 19. Anyhow, Arthur was drafted into the service and while he was gone, his mom died. There was no one to pay the rent on the storage of the loco, so the scrap dealer got it and cut it up. Arthur took the scrap dealer to court. He first called Baldwin Locomotive Works to see what it would cost to replicate the loco in the late 1950's. They told him around three million bucks for a custom built job like that. So Arthur sued for that plus a million or two in pain and suffering (I would be in pain, too!). He won. The scrap guy was tearing up sugar lines at the time, so he paid Arthur partially be giving him locos. Albert (now at Cedar Point), Maude L (now at Disneyland), and Melodia (ex-Carowinds) were among them. The suit also gave Arthur enough cash to go collecting other narrow gagers he could find, like the Carbon Limestone engine that is now the big George R at Cedar Point, as well as two Carbon Limestones in Hawaii and one at Dry Gulch. I had heard this story years ago and didn't really believe it. A few weeks ago, I spent an evening with a fellow who knew all those guys back then. Yep, it was true.
  11. If you haven't yet discovered it, there is now a nice Facebook site on Amusement Park trains hosted by one of the volunteers at Kirby Family Farm in Florida. A while back I posted what I know about the three 36" engines of Carowinds, so I will re-post it here to get the ball rolling on Kings Entertainment's third park: ****#1 "Melodia" was an 1897 Porter 0-6-2T from the Levert-St. John (?? must check that...might be wrong) sugar plantation in Louisiana purchased by Hubert Mitchell, the builder of Cherokee Wonderland and converted to 2-6-2 with tender by Crown for the opening of Space City USA in Huntsville, AL in 1965. It was the only equipment that Crown did not build brand new. The boiler was reputed to be one on the shop floor intended for a 4-4-0. The train ran for a couple months that summer to interest future guests and investors by viewing the park construction, but the park went bankrupt and never opened. The park is now a housing development west of Redstone Arsenal. The engine was bought at auction in 1967 and went to Daniel Boone Village in Hillsborough, NC, but I don't know if it ever ran there since it was replaced by an 0-4-0. I seem to recall that it was advertised in Hemmings Motor News and E. Pat Hall at Carowinds got it along with the coaches from Space City. Like Space City, it ran as a preview ride the year before Carowinds opened. When Carowinds tore up the railroad, it went to George Roose, CEO of Cedar Point and loco collector, who sent it to Wild World (now Six Flags America in Largo, MD) but it was not used there. After George's death in the mid 1980s, it made its way to Stan Matthews' Shop Services in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa for rehab to serve on Bill Norred's line at a Victorian Village that he planned to build in California. After Bill died, Melodia and most of his equipment went to Rob Rossi's Pacific Coast RR in Santa Margarita, CA. ****Carowinds and Carolinas RR #2 was a brand new Crown 4-4-0 that they called "Old Blue" due to its blue and silver colors. Pictures show it pulling the Space City coaches in most cases. The other white trolley roofed coaches at Carowinds were said to be rather heavy (three of them are at East Broad Top today and one is at LaPorte, Indiana). After Carowinds, #2 was painted a hideous orange and yellow and displayed at South of the Border amusement park on I-95 at the NC/SC border with the closed coaches from #3. Then Charlie Kelton, a car dealer in White River Junction, Vermont, bought it and the Space City coaches with the intent of running it around a truck dealership. It was repainted to look like a children's circus toy with light yellow boiler, blue wheels, and red cab which made the South of the Border colors look good by comparison. That is where Michael Jackson's people found it. Stan Matthews' Shop Services in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa restored it under contract required secrecy in a special room of the shop. It received a new headlight, stack, domes, solid teak wood cab, cylinder jackets, and $16,000 worth of paint on the tender. It was converted from oil to propane (I found the old oil tank on the scrap pile at Mt. Pleasant) for one man operation. I'm told that MJ had an engineer on 24/7 retainer to run it at his whim. The Space City coaches, however, did not go to California since they were smaller than standard Crown coaches. One got a haircut and became a flatcar at Mt. Pleasant. The others are unknown, but might have been cannibalized for closed coaches at Camp Dry Gulch in Oklahoma. MJ received his coaches from the set that #5 used to pull at Six Flags St. Louis (before SFSL #5 was sold to Busch Gardens in Tampa, FL). He was supposed to get more coaches, but his life intervened. At last report, MJ's train is stored in a warehouse around Glendale, CA (sorry, not Glendale, OH). ****C&C RR #3 never ran at Carowinds though people say it was displayed there, possibly at the Black Bear station near the enginehouse at the back of the park. It was built in 1966 for Pioneer City in Davie, FL which was open from summer 1966 through February 1968, then the park did the dead fish swim due to lack of experience in handling people and money (minor things in the park business). Pioneer City is now the Long Key Nature Preserve west of Ft. Lauderdale. #3 had the only two closed coaches built by Crown plus a caboose. After Carowinds, the coaches were displayed at South of the Border with #2. #3 is believed to have gone to Vermont with #2, but the closed coaches have disappeared. From there, it sat for many years on the turntable at the Depot Museum in Huntsville, AL until it was moved in 2015 to Doe River Gorge, Tennessee for restoration. I was down there painting wheels on it a few weeks ago. Keep your fingers crossed that first steamup could be in 2019! The railroad at Carowinds had three stations. The front one was under the entrance plaza, basically inverted Disney. It is now a maintenance road. The Black Bear station at the back still exists for some other purpose. The long steel trainshed is still there as well. The third station in the Country area may or may not be gone. At one time, the third station was within spitting distance of the station for the other railroad which was a 24" gage Crown. I believe that it (now converted to gasoline) may still be running at the park. The 36" gage track was pulled about the time that the clone of Kings Island's Racer (Thunder Road) was built when Kings Entertainment took over.
  12. The Cincinnati and Toledo pic I believe was photoshopped by the owner of an HO layout to give his layout a historic past. I stumbled on to it on the net one day as well. That would be me standing on the tender apron looking at the photographer on either 4/29 or 4/30 of 1972, and I can vouch that I never worked for the C&T! WDW #152 was included by the Yucatan people to sweeten the pot. Broggie's book tells about how it ended up blocking Merida traffic due to a chain snapping when they were pulling it out of the park. The engines were put on NdeM flatcars to Florida so I find it hard to believe that it went to California, but I have also heard rumors that the chassis of a steamer sat on the back lot at Burbank before being scrapped. Probably a mystery that will never be solved.
  13. Fantastic news about the #4 Crown going to Florida. There were a LOT of parts missing when I was in Atlanta a dozen years ago, but it is neat to see it rescued. Kirby has rescued two Custom Fabricators diesels (Elizabeth from Opryland and the red train from Great America in Santa Clara), plus Porter "Beatrice" from Opryland via Six Flags America in Maryland. That guy is SERIOUS!
  14. First of all, I went to KI on Tuesday and was a bit sentimental when confronting my old friend #19 Lew (nee Simon). The valves sounded like they were set very square (much better than I had heard in years), though the air pump was running all through the station stop at the waterpark. I'm guessing some brake chatter on the last coach indicated that the triple valve was leaking a bit and making the pump run continuously. It sure was good to be back on the KI&MV even if #12 was feeling blue and stayed in the engine shed. I can't believe it was 44 years ago that I last pulled the throttle on those locos. Mystic Timbers is awesome and a great addition to the train ride as well. When I worked there, that corner of the park was absolutely dead. Rivertown was Kings Mill (now Run for your Life), the train, the boring two person canoes, and the even more boring ten person canoes. That was all there was to Rivertown. And the train ride ate up fully one third of the land of the original rather small Kings Island. My guess is that a lot of people never even made it back to us since there were no "magnets" in that area like The Beast. One rainy night, I sat on the engine for over an hour without seeing one guest walk through Rivertown. The neighborhood out there has changed a bit. Now the train may sit in the noisiest area of the park! Actually, the ADA access has only come about in the last twenty years, so the Crown Cabeese did not have side doors. They built the two for Six Flags, one for Legend City, one for Pioneer and Western, and one for Lakeside, all 36" gage. They might have built them for Frontierland and Fort Fun as well, can't remember. The Alpengeist #17 and train at Williamsburg all came from Lakeside in Salem (Roanoke), VA. It ran only a very short time there due to a fatality on a roller coaster and a flood, both of which bankrupted the park. #17 and train was rumored to have then gone to a park in Greensboro, NC that never used it. Tweetsie rebuilt it for Williamsburg. It was originally baby blue like KI&MV #12, but with a big diamond stack like SF #6. Six Flags #5's coaches went to Iowa. Two were rebuilt for Michael Jackson. The other three and caboose are a wild guess. I think they are at Dry Gulch, though rebuilt from the frame up so it would be hard to tell. Dry Gulch has 11 coaches, most of them rebuilt from used Crowns. KD #552 and #5 would account for the chassis of nine of them. The other two are a mystery. They might have come from Melodia's set at Carowinds. Busch Tampa has four engines and three coach sets. One set is from #601 at KD, the others are originals from #4 and #9 at Busch. It wasn't long ago that #4's drivers were at Tweetsie. Hopefully, it will be back on the road soon if it isn't already. When I was at Tweetsie this summer, Scott McLeod, their Master Mechanic, had Tampa air pumps in for rebuild. Apparently the sand in Florida eats them. And for those wondering, WDW #1 is not at Tweetsie. They did not bid on the job. Enough for now. Great job on the history of SFSL. Love the old pic of the two engines in the enginehouse, back when the water tower was located so you couldn't get a run for the hill. By the way, send my compliments to whomever did the video of the history of the KI&MV on YouTube. Fantastic job. Only one correction: the Crowns are most definitely NOT 1/3 scale models! They are full size narrow gage and match the dimensions of a Baldwin 8-14C or a Porter catalog code "HADRIA". They are the same size as the engine that pulled the first train into Lebanon, OH. Only the wheelbase was shortened to take 150' radius curves at the park. Disney's first two and the four at Six Flags over Georgia and Astroworld were scale models. Kings Island's never were!
  15. Also notice that the SFMA engines came from Crown with turbogenerators on the left running board. At KI, Lew and Dick found and rebuilt old ones and added them around 1974. We ran strictly on batteries in 1972-1973, and I spent a few evenings riding the cowcatcher through the dark forest with a flashlight shining on the track so Bob Adams could see where he was going. I wonder what OSHA would say about that today? It was a great ride with the panting of the stack right behind my head. Dick Carmell really should have had an engine named after him since he did most of the work on the engines to get them running right. He worked at the Reading powerplant during the day and came in during the evenings to work in the enginehouse while Randy Hale (Lew's grandson) or I ran alone in the cab. It was just Lew, Kenny, Randy, and I during the day in the beginning with Dick in the evenings. Sadly, we lost Dick to leukemia in his 50s. He was a great mentor and taught me a lot about locomotives. He and Lew worked together on Lew's 15" gage 4-6-2 "Nancy" at Waynesville's (later Der Deutschler) park up until Lew took the KI job in the fall of 1971, then Lew sold Nancy to someone in Kentucky and Dick became Lew's righthand man at KI. I've never found Nancy in 45 years. Big boiler, little drivers, oil fired. If you see her, let her know I've been looking for her!
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