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 Post subject: Disney World Railroad closes for 1-2 years.
PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2018 1:51 am 

Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2016 1:15 pm
Posts: 217
The Walt Disney World Railroad operated for the last time on Sunday Dec. 2 before closing for a 1-2 year span during major construction for a new Tron attraction.

Saturday was the last day of 3-train operation so I made sure to get in a few rides and mostly watch as one train after another departed Fantasyland Station and work up-grade towards Main Street. For those of you who are not familiar, there is a really nice pathway along the train tracks between Fantasyland Station and Space Mountain. Fantasyland Station is also where the trains take on water from the water tower, and are serviced mid-day by the maintenance staff.

While this area will re-open, there will be a roller coaster building going over the tracks and it won't be quite the same for train watching. I'm glad that disney is continuing to invest in the park, but I've come to get used to having a quiet place to listen to the trains work and get nice photos.

Of course I rode the final trips Sunday night. The last roundtrip from Main Street left at 6:40 with Roy O. Disney, a Baldwin 4-4-0 built in 1916. Disney, classy as always, told us fans that if we wanted to we could ride again from Main Street to Fantasyland even though it was technically after park hours. This was a great bonus.

During the closure, the Lilly Belle Locomotive is parked at Main Street USA on display for photos. I'm guessing both the Roy and Roger will be making trips to PA, so when the Railroad re-opens all the locomotives will have the electric firebox starters and other "modern" features that the Lilly Belle has.


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 Post subject: Re: Disney World Railroad closes for 1-2 years.
PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2018 12:42 pm 

Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2004 7:24 am
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Location: Canada
Electric Firebox starters? Do tell...


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 Post subject: Re: Disney World Railroad closes for 1-2 years.
PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2018 12:45 pm 

Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2017 12:39 am
Posts: 51
A few questions for those of us not "in-the-know" for the Disney ops.

Any indication as to why they won't run the trains back and forth transporting people without going through the construction area? I know the Disney trackage is just a loop, so I suppose I could understand how the variable schedule could be rather confusing to the masses. Still seems a better option than closing the railroad altogether, given that the train here serves as much of a need for transportation as it does entertainment.

I'd heard that the Disney engines do have some modifications that make it pretty easy for anyone to work on them. Any insight as to what the electric "firebox starter" entails, or what other modifications the engines have?


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 Post subject: Re: Disney World Railroad closes for 1-2 years.
PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2018 1:26 pm 

Joined: Sat Jan 31, 2009 4:12 am
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Location: cheyenne
I am sure the idea of Push pull operation would fill Disney with joy.

Mike


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 Post subject: Re: Disney World Railroad closes for 1-2 years.
PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2018 2:10 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 8953
Location: Somewhere north of Prescott, AZ on the Santa Fe "Peavine"
Sorry, but the Pushmi-Pullyu was from Doctor Dolittle, which was a 20th-Century Fox movie, not Disney.

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 Post subject: Re: Disney World Railroad closes for 1-2 years.
PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2018 3:10 pm 

Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2011 12:07 pm
Posts: 1041
Location: Leicester, MA.
RookieFireman wrote:
I'd heard that the Disney engines do have some modifications that make it pretty easy for anyone to work on them. Any insight as to what the electric "firebox starter" entails, or what other modifications the engines have?


If I had to wager a guess, I'd bet it's some sort of electrodes on the gun assembly where those are oil fired engines. Think a scaled up version of the oil burner at home (assuming you heat your home that way).

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 Post subject: Re: Disney World Railroad closes for 1-2 years.
PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2018 4:08 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2016 1:15 pm
Posts: 217
They did a shuttle from Main Street to Fantasyland station (then Mickeys Starland) when Splash Mountain. Those were very different times in Disney history though. A shuttle from Fantasyland to Frontierland would certainly work, going all the way to Main Street would be tricky unless you built a passing siding somewhere, which could be done if the will was there.

It should be noted that Disney crews are used to doing reverse Shove moves. As the train reverses from Fantasyland station down the service track, across a semi-public roadway and into the Disney locomotive / monorail shop. So it's not like the crews don't know how to do long shove moves.


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 Post subject: Re: Disney World Railroad closes for 1-2 years.
PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2018 5:08 pm 

Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2017 12:39 am
Posts: 51
My knowledge of the Disney World Railroad ops is basic at best, so forgive me if I'm not up to date on the politics that could be at play here. Would the idea of running the railroad as a push-pull shuttle seem impossible to the powers that be?

This is of course also completely acknowledging that absolutely nothing said on RYPN would have any sway over any Disney Railroad decisions.

Looking at google maps, perhaps with a train in the station at Fantasyland they are worried about exhaust from the locomotive blowing into the construction area?

At any rate, I'm much more interested in the adaptations they've made to the engines. Do they still burn oil?


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 Post subject: Re: Disney World Railroad closes for 1-2 years.
PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2018 5:34 pm 

Joined: Wed Feb 24, 2010 8:21 pm
Posts: 356
Location: Danbury, CT
The crews who operate the trains at Disney are “attraction operators”. They follow a strict routine just like a person operating Space Mountain or any other attraction. The WDWRR is not part of the transportation system. The railroad runs like clockwork and it’s a very detailed operation. Very impressive. I wouldn’t imagine them changing the routine without a major shut down and training session, if at all. I just hope Lillie Belle doesn’t suffer from sitting outside at the station. They just got her back about a year or so ago. I have a contact there who’s an engineer. I’ll see if I can get some details. I’d be happy to have that job in retirement, but I think I’ll have to start picking up trash first.

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 Post subject: Re: Disney World Railroad closes for 1-2 years.
PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2018 5:54 pm 

Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2012 8:47 pm
Posts: 483
The electric starter, as it has best been described to me, is essentially a ramped-up grill starter installed in the firebox. I don't know the exact method of operation, but it was created to eliminate the need to do the Hand of Fire every morning for each locomotive.

I'd assume one or more of the locomotives will be shipped off during this period. Operations seem to indicate the Roger E. Broggie, as the Lilly Belle was parked at the Main Street station the past few days and the Roy O. Disney was used to ferry guests back to the roundhouse for the shop tour. Also, I'd assume a fair amount of general track work will be done.

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 Post subject: Re: Disney World Railroad closes for 1-2 years.
PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2018 9:15 pm 

Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2005 9:32 pm
Posts: 265
I took the behind the scenes tour a couple years ago and was very impressed. The service facility looked like you could eat off the floor. Ever train going into service was fired to get the safety valve to blow, and run through a red signal to trip an automatic stop as well as the regular brake test etc.
They move over 3.5 million people a year.
I believe they avoid push movements due to an accident many years back involving a short back up after missing a stop. They said if the engineer misses the ADHD loading ramp spot by as little as 6 inches protocol now requires an additional person as well as the rear conductor to back up. Causing much confusion and delay.


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 Post subject: Re: Disney World Railroad closes for 1-2 years.
PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2018 10:41 pm 

Joined: Sun Mar 05, 2017 3:05 pm
Posts: 31
Spent the last two operating days filming as much as I could:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dNevw4HFi5A

Considering Magic Kingdom is the only place in the world where you can watch 4 nearly century old Baldwins (including a 4-4-0 that actually IS a century old) being worked like they were built to do, I was surprised how few railfans came out to document the closure.

As for shuttle service running point to point, that is currently out of the question. Any situation that could even remotely lead to an incident is a big no-no with the parks liability people these days. Plus as a passholder and seeing the park on a regular basis I've noticed the going public quite frankly isn't getting any smarter and putting them in situation where they have to think (i.e. which direction on the train will take me where) is just not going to work well. Trust me, I've seen more people than I care to admit that can't fathom in their mind the train goes in a circle and will come back to Main Street.

The shutdown is also being conducted as an opportunity to catch up on some much needed maintenance. WDWRR has been operating almost non-stop for the better part of 50 years. Major tie work, rail replacement, and bridge work that's been piling up on the back burner will be taken care of and the railroad will essentially be getting a much needed renewal.

This is also the opportunity to get the engine fleet fully installed with the MAPCO system currently installed on the Lilly Belle and currently being installed on the Walter Disney. Getting the Roy O. and Broggie switched over will make the entire fleet as close to "turn key" as a steam operation can possibly get. Some people hate the computer boxes under the cabs but they are what's keeping the railroad in steam. Without them the parks liability insurance people are going to start clamoring to go to diesel outlines again like they tried to a couple years ago.


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 Post subject: Re: Disney World Railroad closes for 1-2 years.
PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2018 10:56 pm 

Joined: Mon Mar 20, 2017 5:26 pm
Posts: 227
Location: Pure Michigan
buzz_morris wrote:
I took the behind the scenes tour a couple years ago and was very impressed. The service facility looked like you could eat off the floor.


I highly recommend the "The Magic Behind Our Steam Trains Tour." it is probably one of the best tours I have ever taken (second only to the Age of Steam Roundhouse). It is nice to see the Lily Belle in service. When I took the tour (2009) she was tucked away in the shops due to what I think was a boiler frame problem (citation needed) and I think it was only used on the morning character trains.


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 Post subject: Re: Disney World Railroad closes for 1-2 years.
PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2018 1:17 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 8953
Location: Somewhere north of Prescott, AZ on the Santa Fe "Peavine"
Now I'm cynically waiting for some lawyer to demand PTC..........


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 Post subject: Re: Disney World Railroad closes for 1-2 years.
PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2018 9:08 am 

Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2010 5:06 pm
Posts: 142
parktrains wrote:

Considering Magic Kingdom is the only place in the world where you can watch 4 nearly century old Baldwins (including a 4-4-0 that actually IS a century old) being worked like they were built to do, I was surprised how few railfans came out to document the closure.
It's hard for foam...I mean railfans, to accept park trains--no matter their lineage--as real steam locomotives. They're simply too shiny, or their crews are called "ride operators" and the like. "Real" steam engines have to be all black, except perhaps for smokebox and firebox, crews can only wear blue denim overalls--no stripes--and diesel can never be accepted as an authentic fuel.

The fact that more people today have had their only steam train experience behind a Disney locomotive--there are nine operational in this country, even more world-wide--than those who have ridden behind "real" steam, means nothing.

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