Ever wondered what the Walt Disney Railroad consists of?

Florida Guide > Disney Parks

The railroad at Walt Disney World consists of 1.5 miles of narrow gauge track circling the Magic Kingdom. It has stations at Main Street USA, Frontierland and Mickey’s Toon town Fair. Although a relatively short distance the railroad is one of the busiest steam train railways in the USA. It carries in excess of 1.5 million passengers every year.

Walt Disney was a railway enthusiast so it is no surprise that this passion ultimately found a place in the theme parks. As with other attention spent to detail Disney wanted to retain a level of authenticity, and with this in mind, 5 genuine locomotive engines were purchased from the United Railways of Yucatan in 1968. 4 out of the 5 were perfectly restored by a team of Disney ‘Imagineers’. All 4 trains were placed into service at the opening of Walt Disney World on 1 October 1971.

The railroad uses 4 train/carriage combinations each consisting of the locomotive, a tender and five passenger carriages. Every train can carry 360 passengers with the tender holding over 1800 gallons of water and over 650 gallons of fuel (of the oil variety). As an idea of water consumption the tender will be topped up on every third trip from a tower located at Mickey’s Toon town Fair station.

There are 4 locomotive engines:

Number 1 is the ‘Walter E. Disney’ named after Walt Disney himself. This engine was built in 1925, is a ten wheeler and is coloured bright red.

Number 2 is the ‘Lilly Belle’ named after Walt Disney’s wife Lillian Disney. This engine was built in 1928, is an eight wheeler and is coloured green (similar to the British Racing Green).

Number 3 is the ‘Roger E. Broggie’ named after the project manager responsible for finding the engines. It was built in 1925, is a ten wheeler and coloured a mixture of red and green.

Number 4 is the ‘Roy O. Disney’ named after Walt’s older brother and the man who made Walt Disney World a reality. It was built in 1925, is a ten wheeler and coloured a mixture of red and green.

Each train is manned by three crew, a conductor, an engineer and fireman. The engineer operates the locomotive whilst the fireman looks after the fire and water levels. The schedule of operation is managed by a maintenance crew who mark up on a notice board the order in which the trains will operate.

During normal periods of operation there are usually two trains in service, occasionally three if the park is really busy. A circuit will take around 20 minutes to complete and the aim is to keep the first train on a schedule where it arrives at Main Street station on the hour.

At the end of the day once the last train has arrived back at Main Street the conductors will walk the length of the track to ensure there are no stranded passengers or items lost during the day.

I thought I would share this information as I found this quite fascinating and it makes the trip on the railroad an even more worthwhile experience when you realise you are riding a piece of history.

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Page added on: 30 January 2007
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