Railway Preservation News

Are Park Trains "Real" Trains?
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Author:  J3a-614 [ Thu Sep 21, 2017 12:45 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Are Park Trains "Real" Trains?

Just something to add to the file here, and interesting, too. . .perspectives on the construction, maintenance, and operation of the big 25-tonners on 36-inch gauge.

http://www.trainweb.org/parktrains/Feat ... etals.html

Author:  Jennie K [ Thu Sep 21, 2017 6:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Are Park Trains "Real" Trains?

J3a-614 wrote:
Just something to add to the file here, and interesting, too. . .perspectives on the construction, maintenance, and operation of the big 25-tonners on 36-inch gauge.

http://www.trainweb.org/parktrains/Feat ... etals.html

Almost have forgotten about that article, and I'm mentioned in it too!

Author:  survivingworldsteam [ Fri Sep 22, 2017 12:32 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Are Park Trains "Real" Trains?

railfanmag wrote:
Just stumbled upon this thread, and admittedly I didn't read all 11 pages. I have made my own definition about what's "real" and what isn't, and I acknowledge this is only my opinion and your mileage may vary. I drew my line in the sand (as it were) by whether the engineer rides in the cab or sits on the tender. In the cab is "real." On the tender is where I make the line for "live steam" and is thus more into the modeling end of things. Thus, Crown's larger engines are "real." I do plan to eventually run a feature on Crown in a future issue of Railfan & Railroad; our coverage of the Cedar Point & Lake Erie was very well received.

Back when I put together my "Surviving World Steam Locomotive" CD; this was close to the criteria I also used. I included anything that was larger than 1 ft 0 in in the database, which ruled out most of the ride on crowd; but included all amusement park engines, including the 1ft 0┬╝in gauge Ottaway 4-4-0s.

To further clarify things, I also included a note in the notes section that indicated if the engine is either an amusement park engine or a home-built steam engine. To me, this should satisfy those who don't consider these a "real" steam engine, without trying to weave the minefield of determining if they were really "real" or not. Others have already given good reasons why they could be considered as such. (Of course, I only included live steam engines, and not steam profile engines.)

Since I jumped in this thread so many years ago, I have ridden the trains (and steamboat!) at Disney World, the train at the Fort Worth Zoo, and the Forest Park Miniature Railroad in Trinity Park in Fort Worth, TX; here is a web site for this operation:


The Wildlife Express Train at Disney World is awesome; it is just too bad it is not steam powered; although I understand why it isn't. The immersion experience on this train is great; besides the baggage tied to the roof of the coaches, there was even a bicycle tied to the locomotive; this was something you sometimes saw in pictures of the narrow gauge trains that plied the sugar railways on Java in Indonesia. Call it what you want, it is a neat similitude of a working narrow gauge British operation.

I felt the same way about the Zoo train that operates in the Fort Worth Zoo. It is a Severn Lamb trainset, with the 4-4-0 engine in front. Riding that train through the "jungle" of the zoo, it takes little imagination to think of yourself riding on the cane trains on the islands of Cuba or Java. It has stations at both ends, so it also qualifies as a transportation system.

The CP Huntingtons of the Forest Park Miniature Railroad would be a major turnoff for most railfans, the driving wheel no longer turns or in many cases is no longer in place, and they have lights galore all over them. But the lights are understandable -- it mixes with cars, bicycles, and pedestrians as makes its way along the five mile length of the railway. It includes several grade crossings and six bridges on its route including a 350 foot girder bridge and 175 foot truss bridge, both of which cross the Clear Fork of the Trinity River. It also passes under the huge UP yard (Lawrence yard?), and the Fort Worth and Western trestle; there is a video on youtube that shows the FW&W train exchanging whistle blows with the FPMRR train.

It has also been operational since 1958 or 1959, so it has the historical angle. Given the length, the scenery, and the history, it makes for an impressive ride; though I would wait till autumn or spring to ride it; my grandsons and I sat immediately behind the tender, and we were roasted by the radiator along with the ambient heat. (There is a steel plate to deflect the cooling air, but it was very hot to the touch by the time we stopped.) I does have two stations, but nowadays only one is open, so it can not be considered a transportation system.

Like others, I enjoy rail fanning the amusement park trains like I do the "real" trains; though I also enjoy rail fanning model railroad layouts, so take that for what it is worth.

-James Hefner
Hebrews 10:20a

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