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The Amusement Park Railroad Thread


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On 6/24/2017 at 2:59 PM, silver2005 said:

There's a locomotive on display at CP near the tunnel under MF.  Has that always been for display or is that a retired locomotive?

It was one of the original locomotives on the CP&LERR. It bore the #3 and was called "Albert". I can't recall when it retired but it was arguably the longest engine on the roster with the 2-6-0 wheel arrangement.

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Chapter 6- Busch Gardens Tampa

old #4.jpg

The great thing about writing these chapters in a single thread is that a lot of them are connected one way or another. Two of the four locomotives that I'm going to cover were previously discussed in Chapters One and Two so please feel free to go back and read up if you want more information. All the pictures for this chapter come from amusementpics.com so please check them out if you want more content.

Background

flipped train.jpg

The Trans-Veldt Railway opened at Busch Gardens in 1971 offering guests a unique experience to view the animals on their Serengeti Plain exhibit. Two locomotives and 10 passenger cars where purchased from Crown Metal Products of Wyano, Pennsylvania. Later two locomotives and an additional 5 cars would be added to bring the total to 4 locomotives and 15 passenger cars. The line originally featured three stations and went around the entire park, however unlike the railroads at the Disney parks, the line on the Trans- Veldt Railway featured two giant loops with the tracks running parallel toward the back of the park. The original three stations were the Narobi, Treetops, and Stanleyville Stations. There was once a 4th station which debuted with the Egypt section of the part which was short lived and later put out of service. In 2015/2016 is was demolished to make room for Cobra's Curse when the track was slightly rerouted to accommodate the ride. Currently there are still three stations but one of them has since been replaced, the Treetops station was removed and replaced with a station closer to the middle of the park called the Congo. The line once also featured a set of track that could alter the direction of a train without the use of a turntable. This track has since been removed and was believed to be created for photo opportunities as seen above.

#4

old #4 3.jpg

The #4 was one of the original two locomotives purchased for the park in 1971. The locomotive was modeled after what you would expect a locomotive from Africa to look like with colonial influence from Britain. The smoke stack was straight and featured a circular headlamp, buffers, a smaller cowcatcher, a curved cab roof and circular windows as well as additional lights above the buffers. The locomotive was green with yellow trim and at one time has a silver colored smoke box. In my opinion #4 was the unofficial poster child for the railway as it showed up the most on postcards and promotions when the line opened. This locomotive is currently out of service with no immediate plans of restoring it back to operating condition. In fact some of its parts were donated to the #5 in 2013.

#9

old #9.jpg

The #9 was one of the original two locomotives purchased for the park in 1971. The locomotive was modeled after what you would expect a locomotive from Africa to look like with colonial influence from Britain. The smoke stack was straight and featured a circular headlamp, buffers, a smaller cowcatcher, a curved cab roof and circular windows as well as additional lights above the buffers. The locomotive was blue with red trim and at one time has a silver colored smoke box. The locomotive would not retain this look however as it was repainted red with yellow trim sometime in its life. 

#5

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The #5 locomotive, which was previously talked about in Chapter 2, originally operated at Six Flags Mid America before finding a home at Busch Gardens Tampa. This was the 3rd locomotive to be acquired by the park and the 1st one to not feature the African theming of the other two. Nevertheless the park gave it a bright color yellow scheme to give it a more African look. The body of the locomotive was painted yellow, with the cowcatcher being bright red and the wheels painted green. Arguably the most colorful of the locomotives, it was given a matching set of passenger cars when Busch Gardens would later acquire #601 from Kings Dominion. 

#601

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The #601 locomotive, which was previously talked about in Chapter 1, originally operated at Kings Dominion until it was purchased by Busch Gardens in the late 90s. The wooden cab was replaced and the train was repainted green and red to give it a similar African color scheme. The five cars that came with #601 were repainted yellow and is typically pulled by #5 while #601 pulls the original green cars from #4.  This is the youngest locomotive of the 4 and is typically the one that operates the most.

Today

current #9.jpg

The Trans-Veldt Railway has since been named the Serengeti Express and operates as one of the parks oldest and arguably one of its most important attractions. The line still takes guests around the park and allows them to get up close with animals like giraffes, rhinos, gazells, zebras, and other African animals. The locomotives are parked under a 3 stall engine house with an extra storage track on the side. Currently three of the four locomotives currently operate: #5, #9, & #601 with #4 sitting out of service. There's no telling when the locomotive will ever get fired up again if ever. Some reports say its too expensive to restore to operating condition to justify its return. 

Extra Photos

601.jpg

(#601 pulling its original cars)

tunnel.jpg

(One of the two tunnels featured on the route)

old tender.jpg

(old tender of #4)

engine house.jpg

engine house 2.jpg

(all four locomotives parked)

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22 minutes ago, MillenniumforceMike said:

Has this chat just went up and gone SBNO?

I made my last entry in June but people are more than willing to submit pictures and contribute! I really want to see more pictures of Levi since its an old KD locomotive. I honestly hope it looks like how it did back in 1975

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4 minutes ago, MillenniumforceMike said:

The only logical place is that they sell it to BGT. An unlikely place is BGW and do what they did to the Alpen Express

Its a shame what's happened to #4. That would give Tampa both Kings Dominion locomotives. I personally don't like how they paint their engines though. If you look back at Chapter 1 you can see #601 looked way better in dark blue. I feel like they'd butcher the look of #552.

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1 minute ago, SonofBaconator said:

Its a shame what's happened to #4. That would give Tampa both Kings Dominion locomotives. I personally don't like how they paint their engines though. If you look back at Chapter 1 you can see #601 looked way better in dark blue. I feel like they'd butcher the look of #552.

But it would be nice if it returned to Virginia. Highly unlikely though

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3 minutes ago, MillenniumforceMike said:

But it would be nice if it returned to Virginia. Highly unlikely though

They could go back to KD but the original route is all Soak City, WindSeeker, and Apple Zapple land now. They'd have to build over the old Dinosaurs Alive area and go straight back. Unfortunately it wouldn't make sense. Its a shame Paramount left it go to waste but from what I've been told, it was losing popularity by the year since it didn't serve as a transport ride.

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I love this thread!  Just re-read chapter 6 on Busch Gardens Tampa.  It is a shame that one of their four engines might never run again.

I would love for KI to acquire another engine as a back-up/to allow for rebuilds.  Especially with the popularity of the train at Winterfest when they typically run both trains.

Riding the train at Kings Island is one thing that I always love to do.  Its also part of the reason why I love going to Dollywood so much!

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On 8/17/2020 at 8:03 PM, CoastersRZ said:

I would love for KI to acquire another engine as a back-up/to allow for rebuilds.  Especially with the popularity of the train at Winterfest when they typically run both trains.

I believe the boilers are limited to how many hours they can operate a year which could be why they opt to not run them during Haunt in favor of Winterfest.

A third locomotive could help disperse those hours up and allow for haunt operations to return if they ever needed it. I honestly think they need to bring the train back with how crazy Haunt gets every season. 

Cedar Point has 4 locomotives at their disposal which is awesome if one goes down for repairs. In Worlds of Fun's case, I'm sure having a second locomotive helps out a lot. Still it would be fun to see us acquire a 3rd locomotive, even if its temporary.

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On 8/17/2020 at 8:03 PM, CoastersRZ said:

I love this thread!  Just re-read chapter 6 on Busch Gardens Tampa.  It is a shame that one of their four engines might never run again.

I would love for KI to acquire another engine as a back-up/to allow for rebuilds.  Especially with the popularity of the train at Winterfest when they typically run both trains.

Riding the train at Kings Island is one thing that I always love to do.  Its also part of the reason why I love going to Dollywood so much!

Even more shameful being the fact that the SBNO locomotive is one of the rarer Crown’s that is roughly based off an African steam locomotive. Only 2 were designed that way and it’s sister train and also stablemate, is fortunately still operating.

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On 8/25/2020 at 9:38 PM, SonofBaconator said:

When was #9 repainted red?

I’m not sure, but I’m guessing the same time they added the second steam dome. An interesting thing about both #9 and it’s sister #4 is the “African style” depicted by Crown with these locomotives. It’s very uncommon for African Steam Locomotives to have a bell. Bells were very much an American thing. The Triangle lights or as one would call ditch lights are another anomaly that was uncommon in African steam locomotives. Triangle lights (single headlight with 2 ditch lights) Were standard in Germany, as they were early adopters of modern day ditch light. This lightning can be seen with Busch Garden Williamsburg’s #234 “Der Hochbeinige” which is an German style steam locomotive. The steam domes on both #9 and #4 also resemble American styling, a typical African steam locomotive would very much resemble a European style, more specifically from the UK. Which was a large round single dome. Sorry for the long tangent that didn’t answer your question. :P

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I want to say it was in the 90s.

Originally they had a blue consist and a green consist

Mid America's #5 was acquired in the late 80s and that was green. I'd like to think they repainted both #5 and #9 at the same time. I don't really think of blue when I think of Africa. 

#601 showed up in the mid 90s and was painted to match #4s train.

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