Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Disneyland Locomotives, June 1963

There seems to be less and less "Walt" at Disneyland as the years pass; for some people, the whole park is a tribute to his legacy, and that's not wrong. But I mean that the things on which Walt Disney had a direct influence, things he helped design, or even attractions that he would have been able to ride during his lifetime, have become fewer and fewer. For those familiar with the history of park, the Disneyland Railroad feels like a direct link to the man that so many of us admire - I am grateful that the locomotives are not only still there, but seem to be more popular than ever.

Here's a nice shot of the E.P. Ripley waiting at Main Street Station - the little locomotive is parked above the west tunnel. For some reason I thought that the trains were mostly run by old-timers back in those days, yet that fellow with the hat looks to be a young 'un. The "Ripley" looks wonderful as always, with gleaming paint and polished brass.

Our photographer must have had a fondness for the trains, as he also captured this shot of the C.K. Holliday... possibly taken mere minutes after the previous picture. I assume that the fellow just exiting the frame to the left is a DL&SFRR employee - perhaps he is taking this opportunity to cool off after being in that hot cabin.

Poster alert!


K. Martinez said...

The trains are the heart and soul of Disneyland for me and I believe the Disneyland Railroad without a doubt is a direct link to the man, Walt Disney.

May there forever be steam at Disneyland. Thanks, Major.

Nanook said...


Any day featuring the DL&SFRR is a good one. I assume the "young'un" in the first image is really a fireman, and not an engineer.

Also, add my agreement to Ken's assessment of the DL Railroad being the 'heart and soul' of Disneyland in every way.

Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

Nice train shots today, Major! I was noticing the high voltage power line towers out in the parking lot in that first pic and it gave me an idea. They could have brought Rolly Crump's Tower of the Four Winds from the World's Fair and adapted it to hold the power lines that use to cross over the Disneyland parking lot! I didn't say that it was a GOOD idea.....just an idea.

This summer, the Disneyland R.R. is going to be reopening after a fairly long closure. And for the very first time ever in the history of Disneyland, the trains are going to be making a left turn during their trip around the park. I am so very excited about that left turn that I almost can't stand it. Of course that is sarcasm on my part, but Disney sure seems to be trying awfully hard to get people excited about that left turn!

Chuck said...

What Ken said. Twice.

TM!, I'm actually kind of concerned about that left turn. Will guests be flung out of the coaches due to centrifugal force? Will engineers be so disoriented that they'll have trouble steering? These are the things that keep me up at night.

Patrick Devlin said...

What a pretty shot of the Ripley! is shows off why it's my favorite loco in the roster.

Update yesterday from my brother the CM: Trains, Mark Twain and Columbia back on 7/29 with Fantasmic on the 17th.

Major Pepperidge said...

K. Martinez, “… the heart and soul of Disneyland” is an excellent way to put it!

Nanook, if that kid is an fireman, why isn’t he wearing one of those red hats? Preferably with a Texaco logo on it?

TokyoMagic!, they should replace ALL of Anaheim’s power line towers with replicas of the Tower of the Four Winds! I’d also read that thing about the train making a left turn for the “first time ever”, but Steve DeGaetano showed me an early photo that shows that to be a mistake - the tracks really did veer to the left, probably for a very short amount of time. It was an amazing photo!

Chuck, centrifugal force won’t be an issue because all passengers will wear over-the-shoulder harnesses. There will also be a loop and two “corkscrews” near Star Wars Land, which should be hella cool.

Patrick Devlin, I love both of those original (studio built) trains, but there’s something about the balloon stack on the C.K. Holliday that I especially like. Also, I know I am alone in this, but I wish Fantasmic wasn’t returning.

Tom said...

Wonderful shots of the DLRR today. I especially like the first one; the photographer knew exactly what he was doing, putting a little empty space beyond the front of the train. It has an almost soulful feeling to it, the little train bound for adventure ahead.

Nanook said...


I too, would love to see Fantasmic go away for so many reasons. Although we may be small in number, you are not alone.

Chuck said...

Major & Nanook, there are at least three of us. But I don't see it happening any time soon after just investing in a waterfall-encrusted float storage structure. But at least we got waterfalls back, right? Right?

It's not that I dislike the show in and of itself - I think it's pretty, um, well, fantasmic - but it doesn't bear repeat viewings. I don't know that it's the show itself that keeps me away, but rather the impact it has on its surroundings, both during the performance and its required permanent infrastructure.

The necessary view blocks along the Adventureland/Frontierland skyline to hide the lights are the best that can be done with the available real estate, and I appreciate the effort that wouldn't have even been attempted at a Six Flags park, but they still jack up the carefully-crafted perspective and detract from the atmosphere. The terracing of the New Orleans Square "levee" to provide a viewing area also hurts the theming, as does the big, open stage on the end of TSI. The appropriation of the Ft Wilderness structure and later its former site as a changing area that adds nothing to the guest experience is another sore spot.

And I absolutely loathe the crowds it draws. You can't move, and I seriously worry about the Park capsizing. About the only positive is that it thins out the crowds in other areas and you can almost walk on other attractions. Come to think of it, I can't remember seeing a single person waiting in line for ATIS or the Carrousel of Progress during a performance of Fantasmic!

Steve DeGaetano said...

Beautiful shots today, Major! And sure, there were always a mix of older and younger crew members--several of whom have appeared over the years in your photos!

That looks suspiciously like Chief Engineer Harley Ilgen in the second photo.

You're absolutely right that the trains represent the heart and soul of the Park.

And yeas, TM, there was a very slight left-hand turn back in the day. You can look at an overhead view of the Park in the 1950s and see the left-hand jog in the upper left-center of the track layout. The photo Major is referring to shows the turn from a guest on the train itself--and it's quite clear.

DrGoat said...

Back a couple of years ago, 3 folks from Carolwood came to Tucson and gave a talk about the trains of Disneyland and memories of working with Walt. I'm ashamed I can't remember their names...one of the guys had just put out a coffee table type book about the trains. I wish I had gotten one, signed by the author. Small room with only about 30 people in attendance. It was pretty wonderful.

Steve DeGaetano said...

DrGoat, the author of that book was probably Dana Amendola. It's called "All Aboard: The Wonderful World of Disney Trains," and you can find it on Amazon.

Count me in as one who wishes Fanstasmic! would glow away forever. It simply destroys one of the most charming, romantic, quiet and evocative areas of the Park, almost nightly.

K. Martinez said...

I'm glad it has been said. I'm in the camp of wanting Fantasmic! to disappear forever. It's gotten to where it's so hard to navigate across the Park at night that nowadays, I leave right after the fireworks. I miss those days of relaxing and romantic evenings at the Park.

Steve DeGaetano, I have the book "All Aboard: The Wonderful World of Disney Trains" and while I enjoyed it, I was somewhat disappointed it didn't include the Wilderness Line (Ft. Wilderness R.R.) They included everything else though including trains in their films and animation so it kind of felt like a glaring omission. Otherwise an enjoyable book.

Steve DeGaetano said...

K. Marinez, I agree that the book wasn't all I hoped it would be (he sort of lost me when he talked about enjoying the smell of "coal smoke" from the DL engines), but I was impressed with some of the concept art included.

Patrick Devlin said...

Boy I feel relieved: my guilty secret of wanting Fantasmic to go away since about an hour after the one time I stood to watch it and I'm not alone! But I have an idea: stick in StarWars Land and I don't mean in the river. Let those lunatic crowds battle it out on the north edge of ark and be done with it.

TokyoMagic! said...

Yeah, Major....you are not alone! I would also like to join the anti-Fantasmic club. The show itself isn't horrible, but the amount of people that it attracts makes a mess of that entire half of the park every night. And the permanent stage that was built for the show ruins the beautiful view we used to have of Tom Sawyer Island. I wish they had moved the show over to DCA instead of creating "The World of Color." I know they wouldn't have been able to use the large boats in the show, but Walt Disney World's and Tokyo's versions of Fantasmic have made do without using large scale boats in their shows. OR, since Disney was so willing to ruin the Rivers of America, Tom Sawyer Island, and the berm for the addition of Star Wars Land....maybe while they were at it, they should have just built a giant amphitheater back there (like WDW has for it's Fantasmic) and moved the show to the back of the river where it wouldn't cause as much of a traffic problem. That's my two cents! Oh, and they could have built a replica of Rolly Crump's "Tower of the Four Winds" and stuck it at the entrance to the new Fantasmic amphitheater! So there! ;-)

Patrick Devlin said...

TM!you are genius-boy.

Anonymous said...

Fun pics of the old trains, Major.

I know little about the details, but I have always loved them.

Also, I wish that Fantasmic would explode into a million pieces and the pieces sink forever into a gigantic crack in the earth, much as Atlantis was reputed to have done, only that no one would be injured in the process, leaving not a wrack behind. There, I said it.

I think that show is the worst thing by far to ever overtake Disneyland, it's simply grotesque and utterly unredeeming.

Cheers all.


Patrick Devlin said...

JG, I'm impressed: you're quoting Shakespeare's The Tempest and right on target, too. This crowd rocks me to my socks, I tell ya.

Major Pepperidge said...

Tom, I didn’t really notice, but you are right, the photographer took a little time to set up that first shot so that it was just right.

Nanook, all I know is that there are APs who go to the park just to see Fantasmic! It’s a case of, “I’m glad they enjoy it, but MAN, I wish it would go away”.

Chuck, I was pretty sure that nothing much would change as far as Fantasmic! went. I’m with you, it’s not the show that’s the real problem, it’s what it does to Frontierland for hours. As far as I’m concerned, it makes the place nearly impossible to enjoy. I wanted to do one last ride on the Haunted Mansion at night, and we couldn’t get near the place.

Steve DeGaetano, now that you point it out, I do believe that you are right about that being Harley Ilgen (I only know what he looks like thanks to your book). I went and looked at an aerial view of the park circa 1955, somehow the jog to the left looks more pronounced in that photo you showed me than it does in the aerial photo.

DrGoat, that would have been a cool program to see!

Steve DeGaetano, I have never heard of that book. Do you think it is worth the dough? As much as I love Tomorrowland, Main Street, and everything else at night, it was Frontierland, and a ride on the Mark Twain, that was my absolute favorite thing. “Charming, romantic, quiet and evocative”… you said it!

K. Martinez, wow, I have started a revolution! ;-) I think I need to go on Amazon and see about that book. As long as it isn’t a skinny fluff book, I am tempted to check it out.

Steve D (sorry about the abbreviation!), ha ha, “coal smoke”. But… a minor glitch. Lord knows I make my share of them, usually several per post.

Patrick Devlin, I felt bad for those people who were recently “sprayed” by a startled flock of geese, but have heard of similar things happening as frightened ducks flee the pyrotechnics and they “open the bomb bay doors”.

TokyoMagic!, now it feels like EVERYBODY hates Fantastmic! I never thought about the fact that the other parks don’t use large boats - interesting. Do they just use floats? I feel conflicted; clearly thousands of people love Fantasmic! and watch it repeatedly. Anything that popular deserves to be there I suppose, but my own personal ambivalence toward the show is what it is. Maybe if I had kids and watched the wonder on their faces. Wishes! Magic! Dreams! Wheeeee! They should build a “Tower of the Four Winds” replica and dump it in the river, just like the original was dumped in the East River (supposedly).

Patrick Devlin, don’t you mean “evil genius”?

JG, wow, when you wish for a thing to be no more, you do it right! I hate to be the grumpy geezer who doesn’t love that show, but hey, if I’m OK with other people liking it, they have to be OK with me disliking it. Maybe.

Patrick Devlin, JG was quoting Shakespeare? It went right over my head.

TokyoMagic! said...

Patrick and Major, thanks! Evil or not, I'll take that as a compliment. ;-)

Major, WDW does just use floats and during the finale, Mickey comes out on a smaller steamboat that looks like the one from "Steamboat Willie." Yeah, I forgot about how Fantasmic messes up any chance of getting in a nighttime cruise around the river. The only time you can do that now is when Fantasmic is on hiatus or down for rehab.

DrGoat said...

I do have to add that one of the very few times I've ever gotten angry in Disneyland (for a very short time) was during the Fantasmic show. Some *x!@* was running into people with his odious giant stroller and being completely obnoxious and rude. Brings out the best in folks. A short scuffle between him an another 'guest' that was fairly quickly squashed by D-Land security, who magically appeared from somewhere behind the Bengal BBQ.