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 Post subject: Florida's Mt. Dora Express/Orange Cannonball Shutting Down
PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2017 11:43 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 8353
Location: Baltimore, MD
Text of the press release, as posted by the RR on Facebook:

Quote:
The Orange Blossom Cannonball and Lake Dora Limited will be leaving Lake County January 31, 2017 with the last trains scheduled for Sunday, January 29, 2017. All Saturday trains will feature steam power with the exception of Saturday, January 21. In celebration of No. 2 Locomotive’s 110th anniversary and to express our appreciation for almost 6 great years of serving the communities of Tavares and Mt. Dora, the Tavares, Eustis and Gulf steam locomotive No. 2 will head up the trains on Friday, Saturday & Sunday, January 27-29, 2017. Also, there will be cake for our passengers on those days on a first come first served basis to mark this historic occasion.

Tavares, Eustis, and Gulf locomotive No. 2 was built in January 1907 by the Baldwin Locomotive works, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and started its long career in the East Texas log woods. After a brief retirement it went back to work pulling excursion trains on the Scott and Bearskin Lake Railway near Little Rock, Arkansas, then at the historic Reader Railroad in Southwest Arkansas. It began its film career as America’s Movie Train with the made for television ABC mini series "North and South", and later going on to be featured in numerous motion pictures including “True Grit”, “3:10 to Yuma”, “Appaloosa”, and “There Will Be Blood.”

Make reservations at OrangeBlossomCannonball.com or call (352) 742-7200. Stations are located in downtown Mt. Dora and Tavares.

We invite everyone to be a part of our celebration. We look forward to seeing you on the train.


Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/TEGRR/

Website: http://www.orangeblossomcannonball.com/

One Facebook comment:
"They always had trouble keeping the trains running in that place, the last three or four outfits that operated out of there have all folded unceremoniously."

Comments?


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 Post subject: Re: Florida's Mt. Dora Express/Orange Cannonball Shutting Do
PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2017 2:31 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2016 1:15 pm
Posts: 46
Oh what a shame, I rode once when they first started. Really cool locomotive, and the only standard gauge wood burner I've ever seen under steam.

The ride itself was quite boring, a few glimpses of the lake, but nothing close to "scenic."


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 Post subject: Re: Florida's Mt. Dora Express/Orange Cannonball Shutting Do
PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2017 10:11 pm 

Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2016 9:35 pm
Posts: 67
Well there's the another little engine to lease for the guy in Pennsylvania who wanted one for the summer.

I always though the locomotive looked silly with the cobbled cab, fake headlight, gigantic tender and cobbled steam and sand domes. Can we throw that one into the "when paint matters etc.." thread?

Seems like many of the operations there have been severely under-funded.

I'm sure there will soon be another tourist train operator looking to siphon off the multi-million dollar Orlando tourist market. It's just a matter of time.


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 Post subject: Re: Florida's Mt. Dora Express/Orange Cannonball Shutting Do
PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2017 11:24 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 8353
Location: Baltimore, MD
hotbox wrote:
I always though the locomotive looked silly with the cobbled cab, fake headlight, gigantic tender and cobbled steam and sand domes. Can we throw that one into the "when paint matters etc.." thread?


Admittedly they changed the "look" of the loco many times, but the most recent(?) look, with the Rushton/"cabbage" stack, is perfectly in keeping with a whole lot of small wood-burners in the Southeast, most notably the narrow-gauge Argent Lumber operations in southernmost South Carolina. Not what most people expect a steam loco to look like? Maybe, but in many ways more "authentic" than Sierra RR 4-6-0 3 has appeared at various times in its career (until being taken back to some semblance of her original Prescott & Arizona Central narrow-gauge look).......

We could argue as to how "hokey" or "touristy" the entire premise was, but come on, this is Florida we're talking about.


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 Post subject: Re: Florida's Mt. Dora Express/Orange Cannonball Shutting Do
PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2017 11:46 pm 

Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2016 9:35 pm
Posts: 67
I took no issue with the cabbage stack. It's a rarity to see one in use. The cab was just a movie prop and a poor one at that. The cab has literally been failing since it showed up The original cab is on the ground at Reader, same with the domes. The real headlight is used on the tender.

The stack itself was borrowed from the #1, since the 2 was ordered in the same batch, it fits.

Below is a link to a pic of the #1 (also of W.T. Carter heritage) wear the exact cabbage stack the #2 wears now. I think it looks nice.

http://www.railroadforums.com/photos/data/552/35151S97-18.jpg


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 Post subject: Re: Florida's Mt. Dora Express/Orange Cannonball Shutting Do
PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2017 9:14 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:07 am
Posts: 660
Location: Philadelphia Pa
This is the second or third operator of this excursion service to leave....I wonder what the deal is. They've always seemed to be pulling in the crowds.

The excursion operations originally started out of Mt. Dora back in the mid/late late 1990's, using a rebuilt Edwards Motor Car (the "new" Edwards Motor car Company was located in Mt. Dora at the time) that was later sold to and remains at the Black River and Western (nicknamed the Delaware Turtle).

After that, 2-6-2 #4, also from the Reader's roster I believe, operated for a time until the current loco came.


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 Post subject: Re: Florida's Mt. Dora Express/Orange Cannonball Shutting Do
PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2017 12:06 pm 

Joined: Sat Feb 06, 2010 9:29 am
Posts: 212
Actually...
There have been about 10 different owners over the years...
The operation started in December of 1998...
Florida central operated a dinner train of their own around 1995-96...

The Doodlebug (M201)...Was a mechanical nightmare...
It was a Brill car from Philly...a Strafford car, one of at least two owned by Dave Miner...
He also owned a couple of Edwards bodies, one the M503, was the car that was originally looked at for the Mount Dora operation...
The car at BR&W is the M-55 a Brill model 55 that was owned by Valley railroad and was to be restored...long story there...
Miner rebuilt the M201 to look like an Edwards car and built a nightmarish drive train....essentially an attempt to re-engineer the basic Edwards design using a much smaller Fairmont revering gearbox, with a very poorly engineered mounting and chain tensioning arrangement... and with a Chevy 454/ Turbo 400 engine /trans arrangement for powerplant...

The #4 from reader was brought out in late 2000 or early 2001...

The original owner went under in December of 2001...due to a number of reasons, such as the Doodlebug's repair costs, trying to build new doodlebugs and a tax issue...

The second owners are familiar to many...Iowa Pacific...They brought in equipment, started an excursion operation from Orlando to Mount Dora ( OMD RR)...
They did the first Thomas tank engine event in that area and saw the highest numbers of ridership at very nearly 100K passengers in 2002 (32K from the Thomas event)...
In late 2003 IP bought two railroads in Texas and New Mexico.... and promptly shut OMD down...and left a number of unpaid bills...

Owner number 3 was a Dentist,
in early 2004 the M201 was converted to a diner, seating 30...

From this time on, the ownership was often a bit convoluted...some were still involved after their departure, doing things like leasing cars to the new owners, etc...
The dinner train was expanded, adding a Seaboard air line diner, a dome car, etc...
The doodlebug was sent to Montgomery Alabama and is stored there...

Ultimately the operation fell on hard times and closed in 2010...

The current owner started up in late 2010 or early 2011...
By this time management at FCEN had changed...
Costs pretty much skyrocketed...

and now...
Some ongoing issues have resulted in FCEN deciding to cancel T,E&G's operating contract...
T,E&G RR...ie the Orange Blossom Cannonball...will cease operations on the 29th of January...

If you want more detailed info PM me...


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 Post subject: Re: Florida's Mt. Dora Express/Orange Cannonball Shutting Do
PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2017 12:54 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:19 am
Posts: 181
Location: Decatur, GA
There was also a rumor up in Tallulah Falls country that the doodlebug at Mt Dora was the car used on the TF. Any idea as to the authenticity of this one?

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Andrew Durden
Operations Manager
Southeastern Railway Museum


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 Post subject: Re: Florida's Mt. Dora Express/Orange Cannonball Shutting Do
PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2017 1:33 pm 

Joined: Sun Oct 19, 2008 12:58 pm
Posts: 1195
Location: Chicago USA
Did IP & eee own the railroad or just the tourist operation?


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 Post subject: Re: Florida's Mt. Dora Express/Orange Cannonball Shutting Do
PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2017 2:04 pm 

Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2016 9:35 pm
Posts: 67
filmteknik wrote:
Did IP & eee own the railroad or just the tourist operation?


Just the tourist operation. Not even any of the equipment.

Florida Central has always been owned by Pinsley.


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 Post subject: Re: Florida's Mt. Dora Express/Orange Cannonball Shutting Do
PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2017 5:29 pm 

Joined: Sat Feb 06, 2010 9:29 am
Posts: 212
The Tallulah falls car was one of the Edwards bodies owned by the original owner of the tourist operation.
It was one of the projects that they never got to finish...
I don't know the current whereabouts of the car.


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 Post subject: Re: Florida's Mt. Dora Express/Orange Cannonball Shutting Do
PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2017 7:37 pm 

Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2015 5:55 pm
Posts: 329
I lived in Orlando for seven years, and if I weren't familiar with the area I wouldn't be wandering around outside Disney. The area around Tavares is more or less an industrial area and has what must be the smelliest place in Florida (which is saying a lot), a large septic and portajohn sucking service with storage tanks etc., which the ex-SAL branch in question runs right next to as I recall. It is a neat place in some ways though, the spring from which Crystal water is pumped is twenty or so miles away in a state park. I worked as a truck driver in the summer and was up there a lot, there were lumber yards and so forth that I picked up from.


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 Post subject: Re: Florida's Mt. Dora Express/Orange Cannonball Shutting Do
PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2017 10:25 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 9:42 pm
Posts: 2431
hotbox wrote:

Below is a link to a pic of the #1 (also of W.T. Carter heritage) wear the exact cabbage stack the #2 wears now. I think it looks nice.

http://www.railroadforums.com/photos/data/552/35151S97-18.jpg


Railroadforums.com doesn't allow hotlinking direct to images, due to some previous issues with bandwidth theft. So, unless you've already visited the page the image is on that link won't work.

Here's a link to the full page, showing the image.
http://www.railroadforums.com/photos/sh ... 31/cat/552


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 Post subject: Re: Florida's Mt. Dora Express/Orange Cannonball Shutting Do
PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2017 3:59 pm 

Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2017 2:28 pm
Posts: 1
It does not say where the Tavares train is moving to.

Anyone know?


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 Post subject: Re: Florida's Mt. Dora Express/Orange Cannonball Shutting Do
PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2017 4:52 pm 

Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2005 1:25 pm
Posts: 4994
I think that 2-6-0 #2 is one of those engines owned by the Reader Railroad (second incarnation), but not sure about the other equipment. In addition to the Mogul, I think they own (owned) two other small steamers; both 2-6-2 Prairies. I don't know if they were the principals in the operation of the Tavares, Eustis & Gulf, or if they were simply leasing the 2-6-0 (and possibly other equipment).


Les


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