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Beautiful, Historic and Fantastic : The Kings Island & Miami Valley Railroad

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A hidden gem at Kings Island is one of its most popular rides, but also something that’s rarely a topic of hot discussion. At 37 years old and having given over 46 million rides, the Kings Island & Miami Valley Railroad is the second most ridden ride in the history of Kings Island and has a history as grand as the engines themselves.

Some see the train as a relaxing ride through the woods, while others see it as an easy way to get to Boomerang Bay. Either way, every time you ride the Kings Island & Miami Valley Railroad, you are truly climbing aboard a piece of art. Not only is it a pair of bonafide steam-powered train engines but also both are modeled after a very interesting part of American history.

Flashback to 1862 and America is in a state of civil war. The Union Army commandeered a train that was due north toward Chattanooga, doing as much damage as possible to the vital W&A Railroad Line while being pursued by Confederate forces who were also in locomotives. The Union army had cut all telegraph lines so there was no way for the Confederate forces to know of the Union’s position or arrival. Eventually, the Union forces were captured, and many men were executed as spies however some of the raiders received the Congressional Metal of Honor for their efforts. In "The Great Locomotive Chase," as it was later known, The General was the name of the locomotive that was hijacked by the Union forces. It later served as a model for the engines of the Kings Island & Miami Valley Railroad.

The fine folks at Kings Island were so kind as to give KICentral a very unique train riding experience. Certainly a first of its kind, the ‘Train Tour’ was as educational as it was interesting.

Before the park opened, we were escorted to the Losantiville Station in Rivertown where “Union Officer” Tyler who gave us a brief history of The General while dressed in 1862 attire greeted us. Not long after, the locomotive itself arrive spewing steam from all angles. The crowd was in awe while it made the turn, as it seemed to float on a cloud of its own creation.

Tyler continued to do commentary and give us facts about the ride as we traversed the course and ultimately were back into the train’s maintenance area. Upon arrival we met Steve, who was one of the engineers working on the locomotives. He gave us very thorough details of how the trains worked, how they were maintained and facts about their historical accuracies. Steve was clearly enthusiastic about the train and it certainly showed in his presentation.

Following a brief Q&A, we returned to Losantiville Station, where we had the opportunity to meet a few other train engineers and climb aboard the engine itself. This incredibly unique experience was certainly something that very few people had seen before.

Myself and the staff of KICentral would like to thank Don Helbig, Jerry Niederhelman, Derek Snyder, Brian Kosmac, “Union Officer” Tyler, “Train Engineer” Steve and everyone else who help to create such a unique experience for us. It certainly was a great time!

To see photos, click the link below:

http://www.KICentral.com/photos/thumbnails.php?album=325

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Wish I would have gone now. Even though I didn`t go due to the rain, a big thanks to KI. Little things like this tour are awesome ways to let the diehard fans glean a unique view of a beloved attraction.

One question. Did they mention how often they do a complete rebuild on the engines?

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Wish I would have gone now. Even though I didn`t go due to the rain, a big thanks to KI. Little things like this tour are awesome ways to let the diehard fans glean a unique view of a beloved attraction.

One question. Did they mention how often they do a complete rebuild on the engines?

Not to my recollection. At least not in that context. He talked about parts being rebuilt. Much of it is done in house, except for things that can't be done due to logistical constraints (serious metal work) or legal constrains (the boilers, which need to be certified).

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Hopefully, this ride stays around for years and decades to come. It is a fun relaxing ride. Too bad the original theming (the indians and shoot out scenes that were relocated from Coney weren`t kept. Maybe some day in the future the current theming that remains will see a face lift.

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I plan to do a trip report and share my pictures and video soon. I just want to add a huge thank you to everyone who helped make today's tour possible, it was by far the best behind the scenes tour I have been on and it far exceeded my expectations in every way. THANK YOU.:)

May 7, 2010 7:13AM Edited to add; Per suggestion my trip report can be found by following this link http://www.KICentral.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=21345

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Did you get to walk around the train barn or did they just back in one of the train cars? I can see Kings Island doing something like this for little kids in school down the road.

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I wonder if this is a sign of things to come (referring to uniforms)

I mean, they didn't have some random employee dressed in a generic CF uniform explain the history of the train, they had a "Union Officer" come out and explain it! This could mean that next year we could see German outfits in Festhaus, futuristic uniforms at FoF...

But that's probably hoping for too much.

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I was surpised to learn one day from one of the nice engineers who answered my question that the train's fuel is not wood or coal but propane gas.

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I have submitted a trip report in the trip report section of KICentral and as suggested here is a link to that report to make sure everyone who may have interest in Kings Island & Miami Valley Railroad tour can more readily see my shinning review of the tour. http://www.KICentral.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=21345

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They need to create a new way to get to boomerang bay and turn this back into a train ride instead of the transport to the waterpark that it has become, nothing but a bunch of rowdy kids waiting to get to water slides has ruined the peace of this ride and having to sit all that time as they depart and board takes away from it as well. I would love to see this get renovated back into what it used to be, and if the powers that be were so interested in bringing the history back (such as getting rid of the backwards racer) this should be at the top of the list.

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To some extent, we should be very grateful for the waterpark transport function.....were it not for that, Paramount Parks would almost certainly have removed the train long ago. Where's the train at Carowinds? Kings Dominion?

I hadn't even though of that. My fondest childhood memories of KI are from the train. All the scenes and animatronics with the gun fighting. I was so disappointed (but not surprised) when I returned as an adult and it was... less exciting. I'm curious to see how well themed STR at CP is as I see it (and Starlights) as an indicator of CF putting more emphasis on theming and overall ride experience. Hopefully the train gets some love too!

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