Monday, January 22, 2007

Knott's Berry Farm Railroad

I will be devoting the next five days to Knott's Berry Farm. For those of you only interested in Disneyland, please bear with me. I do intend to mix things up a bit more this year, with occasional trips to World's Fairs or different amusement parks which will hopefully interest you as much as they interest me.

My descriptions will be brief, since my knowledge of Knott's history is sparse. As a kid, my family lived in Huntington Beach. We visited KBF on a regular basis, while Disneyland was a once-a-year event. So I have a tremendous amount of nostalgia for those carefree days, exploring the "Ghost Town" and all of it's wonders.

Today I have four images of the trains that ran through Knott's Berry Farm. As far as I can tell, there were 2 different locomotives on the Knott's property. This one is the #40 "Gold Nugget". The vintage narrow gauge engines are huge compared to Disneyland's scaled-down trains!

Here's the #41, the "Red Cliff", which was built at the Baldwin locomotive works in 1881 (!) was sold to Knott's in November 1951 after operating for the Denver and Rio Grand for 70 years. According to one website, this was one of largest narrow gauge trains built for that railroad. The yellow cars definitely remind me of the old passenger cars that were used at Disneyland.

I wonder what vantage point was used to take this photo of the train at the depot? We're looking at old #40 again. I believe that the area that is the parking lot in this picture became the site of the Calico Mine Train ride. Experts (and you know who you are!)? I need to ride that wonderful mine train again, it's been many years since I last visited Knott's. I like the old autos and the eucalyptus trees that had probably been there for many years before the park came to be.

In this last photo, a lady is talking on her invisible cel phone while standing next to #40. This locomotive was also built in 1881, and it was sold to Knott's on March 12, 1952. From what I can tell, it was originally named the "Green River", I guess the "Gold Nugget" seemed more appropriate for the amusement park. And I believe that it's original boiler number was #340...based on much more recent photos, it looks like it has since been restored to that number in an effort to make it as authentic as possible. As always, if there are any errors in my info, please let me know!


Merlinsguy said...

Nice shots! I have some solid history with Knotts, especially ca 1962-65, but I'm not really knowledgable about the trains. I'll be happy to contribute info whenever I have any. The sad loss for me was the Haunted Shack, a delightful optical illusion that was mind boggling.

Anonymous said...

The vantage point in photo 3 was taken from the balcony of the Calico Saloon looking north. You would be facing the flume of the Log Ride - to be built one day in that empty parking lot.

Katella Gate said...

By all means, bring on the KBF photos! I grew up in Torrance and to be honest, KBF was kind of a "consolation prize" compared to Disneyland, but I still have pleasant memories of the park.

I look forward to the vintage views since we have no family photos. My last trip to KBF was about 1990, and it was pretty far down the road to "six-flagsville". I'm sure the place today would be unrecognizable.

Anonymous said...

Nice photos of the trains at KBF. I believe they were taken in the early to mid 60's. No. 41 "Red Cliff" and No. 40 "Green River" (later renamed from "Gold Nugget. were and still are the primary movers of the railroad. They also have a "Galloping Goose", also from the Colorado. During the 70's and early eighties, they had a larger locomotive #464 also from the Rio Grande. It has since been sold to a park in Mighigan.

The four photos were all taken before the Calico Mine Ride and the Log Flume ride were built. They would be to the left of the water tower.

I am looking for more photos of these engenines if any one has any.