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The Amusement Park Railroad Thread

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The Amusement Park Railroad Thread

Due to recent members asking me to post vintage pictures of old trains, I decided to create a central thread around amusement park railroads whether they are still operating or defunct. This is information I've gathered throughout the years as both a train and an amusement park enthusiast. Once a week, or maybe more times if I'm not busy, I will make post regarding a different amusement park railroad. The information I will provide will be accurate and any inaccurate information will be edited. Most of the pictures I'm about to post are not mine so I will link them the best I can because some links are dead. I invite you all to participate in the discussion and ask me questions! My first entry will be very soon since I'm still putting it all together. But for now, happy railroading!

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I am looking forward to your posts! Thanks for your efforts in doing this!

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Chapter 1- The Old Dominion Line

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https://www.facebook.com/KDGoldenYears/

Following the success of Kings Island in near Cincinnati, Taft Broadcasting Company decided to duplicate the park in Virginia. One of the many things Kings Dominion took from her sister park was a small 36" narrow gauge railroad in a section of the park named "Old Virginia", a section that reflected the early years of Virginia; a similar concept to Rivertown at Kings Island. The "Old Dominion Line" featured two authentic steam locomotives built by the Crown Locomotive Works- the Baldwin Locomotive Works of amusement park railroads. The line ventured through the Virginian wilderness past log cabins and animatronics. 

601 old.jpg

https://www.facebook.com/KDGoldenYears/

The two locomotives that ran along the short line were the #601 "Patrick Henry" and the #552 "Stonewall Jackson." Like their Kings Island cousin's, both locomotives were modeled after the standard "American" style locomotive bearing the typical 4-4-0 wheel arrangement. When management asked Kings Island engineers for feedback on how to perfect the train ride in Virginia they suggested a more prototypical approach. This meant that the locomotives should have larger smoke stacks, darker colors, and most notably- wooden cabs (as seen in the picture above.) These changes were made to give the locomotives a more "primitive" look as steel wasn't as plentiful in the mid 1800s as it is now.

Patrick Henry.jpg

http://parkfans.net/thread-1541.html

The “Patrick Henry” was meant to resemble Kings Island's #12 "Tecumseh" locomotive respectively. The locomotive bared a large balloon smoke stack, featured 2 domes, and a gothic style roof, as well as a dark blue color scheme with red decals. The “Patrick Henry” also had a set of blue coaches with brown decals to match the locomotive’s color scheme as well as the look of older passenger coaches from the 1800s. There’s no audio to prove this but I suspect the “Patrick Henry” featured a 6 chime whistle. The locomotive also featured two flags, one was the American flag and the other one was the Virginia Flag. Though meant to resemble Kings Island’s #12, Kings Dominion’s #601 was one of the most cloned Crown models to date. The large balloon stack was seen on multiple crown locomotives throughout the 60s, 70s, and 80s giving it a less original look.

stonewell jackson.jpg

http://parkfans.net/thread-1541.html

The “Stonewell Jackson” was meant to resemble Kings Island's #19 "Simon Kenton" locomotive respectively. The locomotive bared a narrow balloon smoke stack, featured 2 domes, and a curved style roof, as well as an orange-red color scheme with blue decals. The “Stonewall Jackson” also had a set of orange-red coaches with brown decals to match the locomotive’s color scheme as well as the look of older passenger coaches from the 1800s. There’s no audio to prove this but I suspect the “Stonewall Jackson” featured a 6 chime whistle. The locomotive also featured two flags, one was the American flag and the other one was the Confederacy Flag. This locomotive model was my favorite of all the Crown locomotives ever built because of its unique balloon stack design. This is was one of the more original designs ever found on a Crown locomotive.

rebel yell.jpg

https://www.facebook.com/KDGoldenYears/

The line started in the Old Virginia section of the park, near the end of Candy Apple Grove not too far from the Rebel Yell. The train would run parallel to Rebel Yell until taking a right turn into the Virginian Wilderness. In the woods, like the Miami Valley Railroad, the trains past several log cabins and animatronics. The train would stop at a part of the line and actors would interact with guests on board. The train would then pass the engine house before finally returning to the station. In the later years, some of the scenery changed to accommodate newer attractions. In the early 80s, Grizzly was placed behind the station, similar to Mystic Timbers at Kings Island. The challenge was that the que line crossed the railroad tracks making operations interesting to say in the least.

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http://parkfans.net/thread-1541.html

Towards the late 80s, the popularity of the railroad started to dwindle and some of the theming began to go away. By the 90s, Paramount attempted to revitalize the railroad by adding an action scene on the train but to no avail. Operations were so dismal that the railroad would close early around 6pm because it began to lose the park money. In 1994 Hurler was added and coexisted with the train for about a year. In 1995, it was decided that the line would be demolished and the locomotives and their coaches sold to other amusement parks. The fact that the railroad wasn’t a transport ride was one of the main reasons why it’s popularity decreased. One could make the assumption that Kings Island’s trains would have suffered the same fate if they weren’t used to transport guests to and from the waterpark.  

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#601 currently operates at Busch Gardens Tampa on the Serengeti Express. The locomotive was repainted an off green color with a red cowcatcher and yellow decals. The original wood cab was replaced with a steel cab fitted with exhaust fans. The whistle was mounted on the additional dome and was toned down a couple of chimes, in my opinion to not scare off the animals. The original coaches were painted yellow to match a nearly identical locomotive bought from Six Flags Mid-America, now Six Flags St. Louis. The green coaches the train usually pulls is a part of an older Busch Gardens locomotive #4 that isn’t currently in operation. I was fortunate enough to see this locomotive down in Tampa when I visited Busch Gardens in 2012. Though I prefer its original look, I’m happy that the locomotive has more room to stretch out it’s wheels and isn’t sitting out to rust like a lot of other Crown locomotives.

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http://parkfans.net/thread-1541.html

#552 currently operates at a small religious retreat called Dry Gulch USA in Adair Oklahoma. Like #601, #552 received a cosmetic overhaul with a black boiler, red domes, a red cowcatcher, red wheels, and a black tender. The most notable change however was the wooden cab. While in transport, engine #552 encountered a tree and suffered damage to its cab. The original cab was removed and replaced with a new, darker colored wood cab that can still be seen today. The locomotive operates on select dates and during the parks popular “Christmas Train” event with two other locomotives made by H.K. Porter. It is unknown what happened to the original coaches of the train whether they were sold to another party or are sitting on storage.

kd 2.jpg

https://www.facebook.com/KDGoldenYears/

There has been a bit of confusion as to where the locomotives actually ended up first. One rumor states that Dry Gulch bought the two locomotives and sold #601 to Busch Gardens. Another rumor states that Busch Gardens bought the two locomotives and #552 was sold to Dry Gulch. In my opinion, I believe both trains were initially sold to the Busch Gardens chain since Busch Gardens Europe was a short drive from Doswell. At the time, Busch Gardens Africa already had three locomotives but desperately needed a backup. I think #552 was less appealing to the company so it was sold to Dry Gulch. I could be completely wrong but that’s just how I think that went down.

blue domes.jpg

http://parkfans.net/thread-1541.html

Remnants of the Old Dominion Line can still be seen at Kings Dominion today. The old railroad shed still stands vacant and the old route can still be made out on satellite. I think this ride could have served a greater purpose and could still be standing today if it acted as a transport ride. However, it’s placement in the park limited its potential to be used as a transport ride and was one of the many contributing factors to its dismantle in 1995. Also, the placement of the ride prevented a lot of potential expansion so, while I still wish it were there, I can see why the park made the decision to remove it.

I hoped you enjoyed this! Please feel free to share your comments and post any pictures. I have way more pictures if anyone's interested. If you have any questions for me or any suggestions on what park I should do next, please let me know! 

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Thanks for taking the time to post this.  After visiting KD for the first time last year, I am obsessed.  The more I learn, the more fascinated I become!

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That's actually really depressing... I never knew anything about KDs train before now, especially since it was closed before I was born.
By the way, where is the old railroad shed? I never knew it was still there.

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Thanks for sharing.  Very informative.  I look forward to future chapters!

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1 hour ago, Sythe said:

That's actually really depressing... I never knew anything about KDs train before now, especially since it was closed before I was born.
By the way, where is the old railroad shed? I never knew it was still there.

Sent from my Moto G (4) using Tapatalk
 

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It's right next to Dinosaurs Alive. The arrow on the picture, provided by Google Maps, shows the shed. The red is the train line. As you can see, the trains would approach the shed on the left. The tracks for the coaches curved and didn't have any type of shelter.

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Snapchat-2143010237.thumb.jpg.2b48aa0b12191a6305d3afbf02b5ea93.jpg
It's right next to Dinosaurs Alive. The arrow on the picture, provided by Google Maps, shows the shed. The red is the train line. As you can see, the trains would approach the shed on the left. The tracks for the coaches curved and didn't have any type of shelter.

Oooooo, next time I go in that area I might try to see if it's visible. I always like doing that kind of stuff when I'm not riding coasters.

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Great to see this thread.  I was on the KI&MV crew when the park opened in 1972.  Lew Brown was a great boss, and there was nothing like getting paid for my hobby.

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By the way, the last Christmas Train at Camp Dry Gulch has run.  Willie George Ministries is selling the park.  It will be interesting to see where Kings Dominion #552 ends up.  On the opposite end of the spectrum, Doe River Gorge Ministries in Tennessee, which owns a couple miles of the old Tweetsie line in the gorge, is restoring a KI / KD sized Crown engine.

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5 hours ago, kimv1972 said:

By the way, the last Christmas Train at Camp Dry Gulch has run.  Willie George Ministries is selling the park.  It will be interesting to see where Kings Dominion #552 ends up.  On the opposite end of the spectrum, Doe River Gorge Ministries in Tennessee, which owns a couple miles of the old Tweetsie line in the gorge, is restoring a KI / KD sized Crown engine.

Link? I'd love to see that happen and I'd love to be able to go down to Tennessee and see it

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The only two pics I have found have been hard to find:

http://www.doerivergorge.com/news.php#april

The engine was Crown's third 36" gage built (for Pioneer and Western in Davie, Florida).  It ran there less than three years.  It went to Carowinds and South of the Border where it was never used.  It has spent the last several years on display on the turntable at Huntsville, Alabama's Depot Museum.  It had small cylinders and big drivers, so it only had 4000 lbs. tractive effort, but that should be enough for the limited use at Doe River pulling a couple old Six Flags over Georgia wooden coach chassis.  By the way, I remember a Dry Gulch engineer years ago telling me that they got the Kings Dominion coaches with 552 and rebuilt them into closed coaches.

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@kimv1972 That locomotive has been sitting there for years so I'm happy to see it  go to a good home. There are at least half a dozen crown locomotives that I would give anything to see operate again

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Great and awesome Post, hope you have some factoids on the John Henry at Lesourdsville Lake, Americana...

 

Great learning, on Kings Dominion. 

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I was only with the park in 1972 and 1973, but if you could post pics from the 78 yearbook, they would be interesting to see.  I am tentatively going to do a mini-vacation down to Tweetsie to tour their shop later this month.  I have been invited to stop in at Doe River to look over #3 and ride the speeder into the gorge.

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It's been eons since my last chapter, but no worries I'm working on Chapter 2 as we speak! 

In the meantime, here's an extremely rare sight that I've never seen in person

 

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I just returned from Doe River.  The Crown passed its boiler test with flying colors!  They now have the tender jacked up off the trucks for sandblasting.  It is a volunteer shoestring operation, but it is going to happen, and maybe even more things that I can't discuss right now.  1.4 miles of track can support a light train (with two black powder blasted rock tunnels in use), and we were able to take a light speeder out to the far end of what at one time was called "track" (another 1.1 miles).  Then there is bridge/tunnel/bridge and the end of the property. A civil engineer has given his blessing to the first bridge but not the second.  The scenery was spectacular.  It is going to be exciting to see a Crown come around the Pardee Point retaining wall someday!  (OK, you are going to have to lay on your side to see the picture.  It was right when I saved it, I swear!)  There will never be a picture in the world that will give justice to the beauty of the gorge and the thrill of that piece of track.10705229-large.JPG

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It's been eons since my last chapter, but no worries I'm working on Chapter 2 as we speak! 
In the meantime, here's an extremely rare sight that I've never seen in person
 


Doesn't the green engine usually pull the green cars?

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Yes, the green normally pulls the green coaches and the blue #12 engine normally pulls the red coaches.  By the way, the red coaches were painted for this season.

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Yes, and they look amazing, hopefully greens get done next.

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43 minutes ago, CoastersRZ said:

Yes, the green normally pulls the green coaches and the blue #12 engine normally pulls the red coaches.  By the way, the red coaches were painted for this season.

I've noticed that. Hopefully the green coaches will be repainted for the next season.

Little known fact, I asked a KI engineer why the Lew Brown appears to run more days than the Kenny Van Meter. He said that the blue engine was built first so when they built the green engine, they learned from their mistakes. Mind you this was via email years ago, but it's still interesting nonetheless.

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Actually 19 (Lew's favorite engine) was delivered in October 1971, then Ken Williams (founder of Crown) died, and his son Bert delivered 12 in February 1972.  They tried out 19 for the press using pond water in October and when I first saw it in the enginehouse, it was a mess.  19 always was a better riding engine, but 12 fired better in the early days.  I always preferred 19, but Lew liked having his grandson firing for him, so I usually worked with Kenny until I was moved to the right side of the cab.  However, it was 19 that had a driver out of quarter and broke a crankpin in 1973.  I personally put Kenny's name and a cartoon of a ghoul driving a dragstrip car on the right hand side of the headlight on Kenny's 12 (long since painted over, as well as the roadkill cartoons that we drew on the right side of the cabs).

By the way on the other topic, they are converting #3 from oil to coal.  It will have a straight stack and extended smokebox with stubbier pilot and round cab roof, so it will look a bit like a Tweetsie 4-6-0.

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2 hours ago, kimv1972 said:

Actually 19 (Lew's favorite engine) was delivered in October 1971, then Ken Williams (founder of Crown) died, and his son Bert delivered 12 in February 1972.  They tried out 19 for the press using pond water in October and when I first saw it in the enginehouse, it was a mess.  19 always was a better riding engine, but 12 fired better in the early days.  I always preferred 19, but Lew liked having his grandson firing for him, so I usually worked with Kenny until I was moved to the right side of the cab.  However, it was 19 that had a driver out of quarter and broke a crankpin in 1973.  I personally put Kenny's name and a cartoon of a ghoul driving a dragstrip car on the right hand side of the headlight on Kenny's 12 (long since painted over, as well as the roadkill cartoons that we drew on the right side of the cabs).

By the way on the other topic, they are converting #3 from oil to coal.  It will have a straight stack and extended smokebox with stubbier pilot and round cab roof, so it will look a bit like a Tweetsie 4-6-0.

This is completely awesome that someone from years ago can give their own information! Please keep it up

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I was a little disturbed by the green engine pulling red cars. I have a young friend I made through Cirque who also loves the trains, and I mentioned the change in passing to his mother before one of the shows (he was off playing with some of the other kids elsewhere at the time). She said that he was also disturbed by the change, and he noticed it because he had been watching the trains running the day before on the webcams. Later she asked him to tell me about it, and he was clearly personally offended about the change although I'm not sure he realizes that would be the name for that emotion yet :)

IMG_3684.JPG

They switched it back though and all is right with the world again. :)

I also hope the green cars get a new paint job, too, because the red ones are looking very nice now. 

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