Santa Clara Train...where is it now?

All about the rides at Marriott's GREAT AMERICA and post-Marriott rides, too
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aejanis
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Santa Clara Train...where is it now?

Post by aejanis » Tue Aug 16, 2005 7:47 pm

Been kind of slow around here over the past few days....so I figured I would start a new thread.

Never been to the Santa Clara park, but know that the train was removed in 1999.

So....where are they (engines and cars) now?! Were they relocated? Did SixFlags aquire any of the train cars/engines for parts for thiers in Gurnee?

I am a big train fan, and am always upset when these things get removed (like the train at Brookfield Zoo here in IL many years ago). So I always hope and wonder when a trian is removed...does/did it find a new home?

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steven
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Post by steven » Tue Aug 16, 2005 8:49 pm

Both Santa Clara trains were reportedly sold. I remember seeing the sad sight in the employee parking lot of the coaches sitting on flatbed trucks, ready to be hauled away. The red train went to Florida, where it has been listed for sale for quite some time now:
http://www.trains-trams-trolleys.com/eq ... index.html

There's a detailed article on the history of the MGA trains on this site:
http://www.bjwrr.com/ontrack/
That site has a policy against providing direct links to articles. Once you're there, click on "Articles", then click on "Monthly Articles", then look down for "PARK TRAINS" and click on "Custom Fabricators" in the list below.

The loss of the Santa Clara train is particularly painful. It was taken out in preparation for a new ride that was to be placed near the Pictorium. Construction walls were up and were painted with teaser ads for the new ride when a decision was made to send that new ride to sister park Paramount's Kings Dominion instead. So the train was basically removed for "nothing". :-( That new ride at Paramount's Kings Dominion -- the ride that meant the removal of the train -- is the launched coaster HyperSonic XLC.

Steven

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BrianPlencner
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Post by BrianPlencner » Tue Aug 16, 2005 9:05 pm

I don't remember exactly where I found this article online, but I saved it, as it was very interesting. I will state up front that I am not the author of the below information, but I am posting it here, and I want to give credit to Mr. Denis M. Larrick, as he was the one who wrote this, and did all the research for the information contained inside of it.

This article gives a good history of both parks, and the trains that have been at both of them. So, please enjoy this, and if anyone knows how to get a hold of Mr. Larrick, tell him thanks, from all of us.


====================Start of Article================

The Lost Locomotives of Marriott’s Great America
By Denis M. Larrick (December 2002, edited January 2003)

In the mid-1970’s, the Marriott Corporation was to build three identical theme amusement parks in Santa Clara, CA (southwest of San Francisco), Gurnee, IL (between Chicago and Milwaukee), and Manassas, VA (southwest of Washington, D.C.), scheduled to open for America’s Bicentennial year. Due to competition from the recently opened (1975) Kings Dominion north of Richmond, VA and Busch Gardens at Williamsburg, VA, the Manassas park was never built. But the other two parks did indeed open in 1976, each with two trainsets from Custom Fabricators of Johnson City, Tennessee. The only remaining trainset in continuous operation is at Six Flags Great America in Gurnee. The train was removed from the Santa Clara park in 1997(?)
The four 36” gage locomotives were supposedly built upon chassis from Davenport tank engines, though I have never traced their origin. They were essentially copies of “Elizabeth”, an engine that Custom Fabricators had built for Nashville’s Opryland around 1973 or 1974 (Opryland was demolished a few years ago and Elizabeth is now at Houston’s Six Flags Astroworld). All five engines were 2-4-0. The eight wheel tenders contained Detroit diesel engines and hydraulic pumps. The rear drive wheels were driven by hydraulic pumps mounted on the inside of each tender wheel. The locomotive drive wheels received power from 2 more hydraulic pumps mounted on the inside of the drive wheels (although the majority of the tractive effort came from the tender wheels). Fuel tanks were located in the tender. The engines were fitted with steam whistles operated by compressed air, and are reputed to have been equipped with amplified HO scale sound systems to give the “chug” (which unfortunately have been removed). Inside the shell of each locomotive was an actual boiler for a steam and smoke effect. Water was taken from a working water tower (each locomotive was equipped with a water glass). The reservoir was in the boiler also, filled though what would be the sand dome. The steam would escape through the locomotive smokestack. The aging system doesn’t work was well as it used to, as the steam effect usually works only on days when the temperature is under 65 degrees, otherwise evaporating too quickly on warmer days. The general locomotive controls consisted of the throttle, coach brakes, and locomotive brakes (mounted on a fake boiler complete with a firebox door). Other controls consisted of a cooling fan for the hydraulic oil, a boiler fan control, sound controls, and a headlamp switch (all mounted on the side near the floor). The throttle looked like a prototypical steam throttle, (pull back to accelerate) although if you pushed it forward from neutral you could go in reverse. The locomotive brakes are used during normal operation to park the train, and if needed, to slow it down. A safety system forced the engineer to release the locomotive brakes in order to release a lock on the throttle to accelerate at a faster speed rather than at a snails pace. The coach brakes are used only in times of extreme emergency when the train needed to be stopped immediately. Later on after Six Flags bought the Gurnee park, amusement ride style control panels were installed in both locomotives. All controls other than the throttle and brakes were moved to this panel which was now at a more convenient spot, right in front of him. At Gurnee, one engine was all red and the other all baby blue. At Santa Clara, I’m told one was green and the other was red. All coaches were steel in the open Narragansett style with wood slat seats and quite a bit of steel ornamentation. Great America medallions were cast in the ends of the seats. At Gurnee, one set of coaches was painted blue with red awnings, and the other red with blue awnings. There were six coaches per set, with onboard sound systems. Another similar trainset was built for the Ramada Inn Casino in Laughlin, NV, though it was later modified to an ungainly 4-4-0 with the entire four-wheel lead truck out in front of the cylinders under a huge front porch of a cowcatcher. It is assumed to have originally been built by Custom Fabricators as well.
Unlike the Disney and Kings style parks which have walkways and theme areas radiating from a hub, the two identical Marriott parks were cleverly designed by Randall Duell and Associates with an irregular donut shaped midway which forced the guests to walk past all attractions. “Backstage” support facilities were out of sight in the middle of the donut, conveniently in direct contact with every theme area. The artery road from the center of the donut connected to the general maintenance area behind the park by passing under the midway’s high sided covered bridge so that the public could not look into the backstage operations. The front entrance to the park from the ticket booths and main gate was down a long entrance walk, approximately in the location of Disneyland’s Main Street USA. A large two-story carousel sat where Disney’s castle would be. Behind that stood the main train station, elevated just like at Disney, but more towards the middle of the park instead of at the very front. The donut midway went under the station to the right of the carousel, and also went to the left parallel to the track through a “mainstreet” type area, before turning right and going under the track. Thus one theme area at the front was outside the railroad loop, and the rest of the park was inside the railroad. Of course, evolution of the parks over the years has changed a lot of the original configuration and the fact that the parks were later sold to two different companies meant that they grew in different ways. The track was a basic circle of about a mile connecting the carousel area elevated station to a second ground level station at the back of the park. Operation was clockwise. The enginehouse was located parallel to and outside the loop at the rear of the park such that trains could leave the storage tracks and pull directly into the rear station. About a third of the line was on fill to get up to the front station. A portion of the track went near the corkscrew Turn of the Century rollercoaster, which twisted right above the track. When the TotC coaster was re-themed to the Demon coaster, the Scenic Railway gained about a 150-foot tunnel.

Sometime between 1973 and 1976, I drove past the Buckeye Boiler Company on East First Street in Dayton, Ohio, not far from my home. There, inside a fence along the B&O tracks, sat the decrepit hulks of four unrestored narrow gage steamers. And through the dusty windows of the Buckeye Boiler building, I could also see the top half of an engine fairly well along towards full restoration. A few phone calls led me to the offices of National Amusement Device in west Dayton. I was told that a recent merger had resulted in a new company named International Amusement, and the engines at Buckeye Boiler were part of that venture. The elderly owner of the company invited me to give him a call sometime and he would take me inside to see the engine under restoration. Like so many offers, I just never “got around to it”. Neither did I take any pictures. Opportunities rarely come back again. By the next time I drove by, National Amusement Device was gone and so were the locomotives.
In 1978, when I rode the train at Marriott’s Great America in Gurnee, Illinois, I looked over a board fence into the maintenance area as we started descending the fill from the front station. What I saw amazed me. Sitting on the back lot of this all diesel railroad were some unrestored steamers. I ran to the security building and was pleased to find that they would drive me backstage to take pictures. Along with the engines was a pile of D&RGW narrow gage trucks. For me, it was deja vue, for the four engines turned out to be ones that had sat not far from my home in Dayton.
Returning home, I shot off a letter of inquiry to the General Manager of Great America (Gurnee) and he wrote back to me that not only were there plans to restore the engines on the back lot (I assume two for each park), but that a “brand new replica of a Chicago Elevated locomotive” was to be delivered in the next few months. This engine was being built by Karl Auhl of Keystone Light Railways in Irwin (Herminie?), PA. Today, I have to assume that this engine was the one I saw through the windows of the Buckeye Boiler building. In recent research, I have found that Karl was also the man who did the beautiful 1971 restoration of Opryland’s original 2-4-4T steamers “Beatrice” and “Rachel”, as well as the two 2-4-2 engines on the Lahaina, Kaanapali, and Pacific Railroad in Hawaii. For a time, he was associated with Arthur LaSalle who restored narrow gage engines for tourist railroads in Hilliard, Florida, Cherokee, North Carolina, and a line near Memphis. In 1963, La Salle’s “Cherokee Wonderland” engines from North Carolina would end up at Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky, Ohio.
The circle was closing. As it turns out, one of the unrestored engines at Great America (and Buckeye Boiler) “might” have belonged to Cedar Point CEO George Roose, the man who had built the Cedar Point and Lake Erie Railroad out of his pocket in 1962 when his Board of Directors wouldn’t approve park money to build it. I’m told that George’s son had a part in the new International Amusement. It seems that George had a stash of engines of his own in addition to the ones that ran at Cedar Point. Collecting derelict narrow gage engines was apparently the hobby of tight knit group.
Of the unrestored engines on the Great America back lot, the two Forneys had come from a pair of railfans in Ann Arbor who bought them in the 1950s, the “tankless saddletanker” Vulcan 0-4-0 #7 (might have) belonged to Roose, and the 1875 Baldwin mogul was a South American engine that had been received from a collector in New York State. The engine that Karl Auhl had restored had come from even another source.
The big 1927 Davenport 2-4-4T from Karl Auhl (which was originally #55, an 0-4-2T from N&S Coal in Pittsburg, Kansas) was delivered to Great America (Gurnee) sometime later in 1978 or possibly as late as 1980. It was placed on the coach track behind the enginehouse (see “Ward Kimball” picture in “photos” section, taken by Marriott when the engine was for sale at Gurnee for $90,000). But that is as far as it went. As far as I can tell, it was never assembled. The headlight and stack were probably stored in the leaky crate that still surrounded the mahogany cab and rear tank. Great America never used it. Nor did they ever restore the other four engines. Marriott wanted out of the park business, and all five engines were offered for sale around 1983. The big restored Davenport was sold to Bill Norred of California. The other four engines were stored for a time at the Illinois Railway Museum in Union, Illinois. Since the museum had no need for narrow gage equipment, the four unrestored engines were sold to other groups around the country to raise funds for the museum. Marriott sold the Gurnee park to Six Flags and the Santa Clara park to Paramount.
Bill Norred had a dream of building a Victorian village in southern California which would include a steam railroad. He collected three engines in the process. One was a Vulcan 0-6-0 or 0-4-0. Another was “Melodia”, an 1897 Porter 0-6-2 from a Louisiana sugar plantation. It was formerly owned by Arthur LaSalle and had run in the early 1970s at Carowinds Amusement Park near Charlotte, NC as a 2-6-2 with tender and Crown Metal Products (Monroe) boiler before becoming a part of George Roose’s collection in Ohio in the 1980s. The third engine was the Auhl restored 2-4-4T Davenport from Great America. All three engines were given a good overhaul at Shop Services in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa on their way west in the early 1990s. I was told by a Shop Services person that the leaky crate on the Davenport had damaged the beautiful mahogany cab after its years outside behind the Great America enginehouse.
Around 1974, Disneyland decided that the original six passenger cars built by the Disney Studios in 1955 were too time intensive to load. They had been in standby service for a few years, operating only on inclement days. When the Santa Fe ended sponsorship of the railroad at Disneyland, the expense of repainting the cars probably ended the days of operation for Walt’s original “Retlaw 1” passenger fleet. The observation car was converted to the private car “Lilly Belle”, but the others sat in the back of the “roundhouse” unused.
Bill Norred took a liking to these cars and could see them in use at his Victorian village. The Great America engine was a large machine and would have probably dwarfed the cars. Besides, he had two more engines. Norred and Disney struck a deal. The big Davenport became the property of Disney and the coaches were shipped up to near San Luis Obispo where they still reside. Bill Norred passed away before his dream could be built.
Whether the Great America engine was actually given a test run at Disneyland or not, I have never been able to pin down. One account says that the Davenport was too heavy for the Disneyland trestles. Another says that the wide barrel sized cylinders wouldn’t make the clearances. Any way you look at it, the Davenport never saw service at Disneyland. It was sent to Walt Disney World in Florida for use as a backup engine. There it became the “first” Ward Kimball, named after the famous Disney Studios animator who created Jiminy Cricket. Ward was a part of the dedication of the engine in front of the WDW roundhouse. The engine proved too small for regular service with the heavier trains and non-level track in Florida. It became a static display for a while at Epcot, once again sitting out in the rain.
Disneyland was still intent on having a fifth engine. And disappointed that they still didn’t have an active engine in the Disney fleet named after Ward. They started looking for something that would fit in with the small motive power at the California park. Not much was available. But there was one engine at Cedar Point which fit the description. “Maude L”, a 1902 Baldwin 2-4-4T from the Barker LePine Plantation, had virtually the same chassis as Disneyland’s 1895 Baldwin 2-4-4T “Fred Gurley” (both were originally 0-4-4T). In 1999, another deal was struck, and the “first” Ward Kimball (a.k.a. the Great America engine) was traded for what hopefully will someday become the “second” Ward Kimball (a.k.a. Maude L) although that restoration project is currently on indefinite hold.
As recently confirmed to me by Randy Catri (superintendent of the Cedar Point and Lake Erie RR), the big Davenport that went from Buckeye Boiler to Great America to Bill Norred to Disneyland to Walt Disney World to Epcot to Cedar Point is stored inside the Cedar Point enginehouse. At the present time, the CP&LE has two Vulcans and one Porter that can handle the job, so it may be some time before the former Great America engine runs. It still has its Walt Disney World paint scheme minus Ward Kimball’s name. Cedar Point has not yet named it (the rumor that it was named Elizabeth was false), nor have they converted it to coal, the CP&LE’s fuel of choice. Apparently Keystone had renumbered it from #55 to #1. It took me thirty years to prove it, but I now know for certain that the Great America engine and the Cedar Point engine are indeed the same machine.
What happened to the other four engines that once resided on the back lot of Marriott’s Great America near Chicago? As best as I can tell, they now all have good homes. Listed below are the prices that Marriott advertised in the early 1980s, but the listing also said “other offers considered”. I don’t know what their final sale prices were.

The 1894 Baldwin 0-4-4T c/n 14064 (ex-Godchaux #1 and virtually a carbon copy of Disneyland’s 1895 “Fred Gurley”) was being offered for sale by Great America in the early 1980s for $13,000 and still had its original cap stack and link-and-pin couplers. It was later restored in Ft. Wayne at the shop that rebuilt Nickel Plate Berkshire #765, and found its way to California. It is now in the Vintage Museum of Transportation in Oxnard

http://www.chandlerwheels.com/other/godchaux_loco.html

The 1897 Porter 0-4-4T Forney c/n 1783 from the Cora-Texas company was offered by Great America for $9,000. It has now become the signature piece in the Forney Museum in Denver, Colorado

http://www.forneymuseum.com/ForneyLocomotive.htm

The “possible” Roose engine, a Vulcan 0-4-0 saddletanker #7 that lost its saddletank had a “fair” condition boiler by Hazelett and was offered for $16,000. Marriott did not have a construction number (c/n) on it. I am not sure where it is today and if anyone can help, I would appreciate it. Although I can’t say for sure, I suspect that it went to Shop Services. It might have become a diesel for Six Flags Fiesta Texas in San Antonio.

The beautiful 1875 Baldwin 2-6-0 c/n 3781 and tender from South America was offered for $31,000. After leaving Great America, it was passed around a bit. It would have been a perfect engine to run at some park with it unusual gothic style pilot truck spokes and typical 1800’s tender, but that was not to happen. Some say it was shipped to Ft. Wayne, Indiana and possibly restored there. From there it went to Frisco, Colorado. Today, fully restored (cosmetically at least), it is a showpiece in the Prairie Expo Museum in Worthington, Minnesota (see http://www.jackrouse.com/museums_set.htm then scroll down and click on the Prairie Expo site on the right, then click at the bottom of the page for a detailed description, then click “view more” under the small photo).

Even the original Custom Fabricators diesel trainsets are starting to move on. As of the 2002 season, the two at (Six Flags) Great America in Gurnee are still operating. But the two at (Paramount’s) Great America in Santa Clara were removed after the 2000 season and replaced by a new roller coaster. The red one was sold sometime in 2001, but the green one (which was disassembled) wasn’t removed from the property until mid-2002. It was reportedly for sale for only about $10,000. What a back yard railroad that would have made!!! At this writing, the red engine and green cars are for sale again through D.F.Barnhardt for $139,000

http://www.trains-trams-trolleys.com/eq ... index.html

Apparently someone in Florida bought it and had it shipped there, but they are now not going to use it. Does anyone know where that might have been? I do not know where the green engine is at this time. Can anyone help out with that?
The story is not quite over. Great America had at least one more engine. In a construction photo of the Santa Clara park, a small four wheel industrial diesel sits in front of the enginehouse. Both parks were equipped with another diesel locomotive (0-4-0), called the “mule”. The mule is used for ballasting operations, and comes with a small ballast car featuring slide doors on the rear and sides. This locomotive was powered by a large Caterpillar (of tractor fame) diesel. It has a drive shaft directly to the rear drive wheels. All 4 wheels provide tractive effort as there is a side drive rod connected to both wheels on each side! The mule is also used as a “rescue” engine, equipped with a conventional coupler on the front (it could hook up to the last coach and tow in reverse) and the rear coupler is a hook and loop kinda thing. Each locomotive has a drawbar on the front of the cowcatcher (folds down when not in use) so the train could also be towed forward. At Gurnee there is also a full size replica of the Tom Thumb locomotive. It looks incredibly complete for a replica, and it is not known if it is operational or not (it sits on a stretch of track not connected to the mainline)
But maybe there is even more. Did steam actually run at Gurnee? Six Flags St. Louis #5, a Crown 4-4-0, is now at Busch Gardens Tampa. But Busch didn’t buy the cars that came with it. And when Michael Jackson’s Crown (Carowinds #2) was shipped from Shop Services, the Mt. Pleasant newspaper said the coaches were from Six Flags Great America. But Marriott never owned Crown coaches. Why would SFSL get rid of its backup engine if it didn’t come down from Six Flags’ top brass? Did #5 and cars run in Gurnee for a while, or did the Mt. Pleasant newspaper mean Six Flags OVER MID America (the original name of Six Flags St. Louis)? Can anyone clear this up? Did SFSL #5 actually become Great America’s twelfth engine for a while?
Great America may not hold the record for having owned the most locomotives of any amusement park chain, but they certainly hold it for the most that have passed through. You now know a bit of park trivia that most visitors to the parks will never care to know.


==============END OF ARTICLE===============
===========================================
Mr. Brian Plencner
SFGAm Employee: 1988-1992

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redfishpaw
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Post by redfishpaw » Wed Aug 17, 2005 9:13 am

BrianPlencner wrote:
The big 1927 Davenport 2-4-4T from Karl Auhl (which was originally #55, an 0-4-2T from N&S Coal in Pittsburg, Kansas) was delivered to Great America (Gurnee) sometime later in 1978 or possibly as late as 1980. It was placed on the coach track behind the enginehouse (see “Ward Kimball” picture in “photos” section, taken by Marriott when the engine was for sale at Gurnee for $90,000). But that is as far as it went. As far as I can tell, it was never assembled. The headlight and stack were probably stored in the leaky crate that still surrounded the mahogany cab and rear tank. Great America never used it.
Excellent topic and interesting information here. I recall seeing this particular locomotive sitting outside next to the train shed for a while with the 'crate' covering a portion of it. It was poorly covered. I sometimes wondered what the story was with this locomotive. Anyway. I just did a bit more research and found this article.
http://216.239.59.104/search?q=cache:7d ... IOTT&hl=en
see last few paragraphs under cedar point (highlighted)
Last edited by redfishpaw on Wed Aug 17, 2005 11:34 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Tanya
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Post by Tanya » Wed Aug 17, 2005 11:25 am

I enjoyed reading about the trains. Thanks for all the articles everyone. It is certainly sad that they removed the train from SC. There isn't much left there for grandparents to do anymore is there?

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Post by Demondude102110 » Wed Aug 17, 2005 1:38 pm

Thanks for the interesting articles everyone!
Demon rules!

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Post by Pictoriumguy » Wed Aug 17, 2005 11:47 pm

I dont understand something. In one of the links there is a picture with one of the trains next to Stealth. If Stealth opened in 2001 and the trains closed in 1998, what in the HELL was a train doing next to stealth!!
just curious :D

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Post by redfishpaw » Thu Aug 18, 2005 7:15 am

The train closed in 1999, Stealth opened in early 2000. The picture you are refered to would be a stealth construction photo, as there is dirt everywhere.

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steven
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Post by steven » Fri Aug 19, 2005 12:05 am

What's more is that Stealth had customized supports to allow for the train to pass under it:

Image

Unfortunately, the train only got to pass under Stealth while Stealth was under construction and undergoing testing in 1999. When Stealth opened in 2000, the train was no more. :-(

Steven

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eight10
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Post by eight10 » Tue Jul 25, 2006 12:40 am

I know that is kinda late but I'm new here so here ya go. The train was awesome. I remember counting down to the day I'd be old enough to operate it but it was gone really soon after. I wonder what PGA would've done with the train after the BBay product was finalized.

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Post by LS202 » Tue Aug 01, 2006 5:42 pm

I miss the train now that i have kids. It would be a nice break for them to ride it and get to the other side of the park. Do you think its gone forever or perhaps Cedar Fair will bring it back????? One can hope....right!
Laura Carousel Souviners 85-86

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Post by soupkid » Wed Aug 02, 2006 10:08 am

LS202 wrote:I miss the train now that i have kids. It would be a nice break for them to ride it and get to the other side of the park. Do you think its gone forever or perhaps Cedar Fair will bring it back????? One can hope....right!
Not sure how they would do it, unless it was completely outside of the park. The tressles and stations are long gone (County Fair station is now part of the que for Psyco Mouse). I visited the park for the first time in years this past weekend, and I was standing on the south side of the carousel trying to figure out what was different, as there was so much space there. Then I realized that they took out the train station and the "hill" it sat on, so there was no transition from Carousel Plaza and Hometown Square. Heck, I don't even know if they call it that anymore.

So much has changed since I had last been there, at least 5 years. There is no theme to anything in that park anymore.

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Post by PGA ROCKS » Tue Jun 26, 2007 11:45 am

soupkid wrote:
LS202 wrote:I miss the train now that i have kids. It would be a nice break for them to ride it and get to the other side of the park. Do you think its gone forever or perhaps Cedar Fair will bring it back????? One can hope....right!
Not sure how they would do it, unless it was completely outside of the park. The tressles and stations are long gone (County Fair station is now part of the que for Psyco Mouse). I visited the park for the first time in years this past weekend, and I was standing on the south side of the carousel trying to figure out what was different, as there was so much space there. Then I realized that they took out the train station and the "hill" it sat on, so there was no transition from Carousel Plaza and Hometown Square. Heck, I don't even know if they call it that anymore.

So much has changed since I had last been there, at least 5 years. There is no theme to anything in that park anymore.
Tell me about it. It's so sad that the name Great America has no point anymore. Leave it to Paramount to completely destroy the park. Cedar Fair: PLEASE SAVE THE PARK NOW!
I miss Tidal Wave

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