Disneyland Railroad

Disneyland Railroad
Disneyland Railroad
Disneyland Railroad Poster.png
Reporting mark DRR
Locale Disneyland
Dates of operation July 17, 1955–Present
Track gauge 3 feet (910 mm) gauge
Length 6,336 feet (1,931 m)
Headquarters Anaheim, California

The Disneyland Railroad (DLRR), originally the Santa Fe & Disneyland Railroad, is a narrow gauge railroad at Disneyland, Anaheim, California, United States, that was inaugurated on the park's live television preview on July 17, 1955. This live steam railway was constructed for $240,000; each of the original two locomotives cost $40,000 each. Riders use it as transportation to other areas of the park or simply for the experience of the "Grand Circle Tour". The Main Street railroad station is situated at the entrance of Disneyland.[1]



The 3 ft  (914 mm) narrow gauge track (North America's most common narrow gauge) is laid in a continuous circuit around the park. (The park's publicly accessible areas were extended beyond the track's perimeter with the construction of Mickey's Toontown.) The line features several bridges, grade crossings, including one for parade floats east of "it's a small world" which doubles as access to the service track, yard and roundhouse for locomotive and train storage and maintenance, located backstage beneath the monorail roundhouse. The line previously featured automatic block signals, but they are no longer in use. The service road is protected by two miniature wigwag crossing signals. The Santa Fe Railway offered the use of full-scale crossing signals, but Disney declined as they would be out of scale with the trains. These scaled-down replicas were designed and built by the Santa Fe Railway San Bernardino shops as a gift to Disneyland. They operate with automotive windshield wiper motors.

Two trains operated on opening day. Locomotive #2, serviced only Main Street station; it hauled a passenger train consisting of yellow coaches, #101 - the combine, partial baggage/express and coach seating, coaches #102-105, and the "Grand Canyon" observation coach #106 with larger arched windows, an observation platform and drumhead at the rear. Locomotive #1 serviced the Frontierland depot, hauling a freight train consisting of cattle cars, gondolas numbered 201–205 and a caboose #208. The two trains could each operate on the railroad simultaneously and independently in the same clockwise direction. Rail sidings at Main Street Station and Frontierland Depot allowed them to pass the one disembarking/embarking passengers. When more trains were eventually added the operation was changed: the trains no longer passed each other, and a Tomorrowland station was built. The passing track at Main Street Station was disconnected and now is only used to display a narrow gauge Kalamazoo handcar. The tracks at Frontierland Depot were moved several times and the passing track was removed completely; the original station was moved across the tracks and the New Orleans Square/Frontierland station replaced it. Walt Disney dictated that two trains were to operate at all times, and it is not uncommon for three or four trains to run simultaneously on busy days.

Now, with four station stops, the train takes twenty minutes to circle the park.[2]

There are also Disneyland Railroads at Disneyland Paris and Hong Kong Disneyland. The Disneyland Railroad at the Paris park has four trains: the W. F. Cody, the C. K. Holliday (not to be confused with the one in Disneyland), the G. Washington and the Eureka, each measuring 73 meters (~239 feet) long and weighing 75 tonnes (~83 tons, US). They take twenty minutes to tour Disneyland Park, and are stored backstage in a roundhouse behind the Indiana Jones attraction. Hong Kong Disneyland has three trains: the Walter E. Disney (not to be confused with the one in Magic Kingdom), the Roy O. Disney (also not to be confused with the Magic Kingdom one) and the Frank G. Wells. They are Severn-Lamb Jupiter models. Hong Kong's, however, are steam-outline locomotives.

Passenger service

There were only two train sets on opening day—the yellow passenger coaches of the Retlaw 1 train, which only stopped at Main Street Station, and the red cattle cars, gondolas and caboose of the Retlaw 2 train, which only stopped at the Frontierland Depot. The trains were entirely fabricated new alongside of the superstructure of the Mark Twain Riverboat by studio carpenters inside Burbank, California soundstages of Disney Studios, and were then trucked to Disneyland. Even the wheels and trucks were cast new with raised "Disneyland 1955" lettering. In 1954 Crown, makers of school buses, fabricated the diminutive forward facing seats and window hardware installed on the passenger train. Windows could be lifted and positioned at 4 intermediate stops between fully open and closed. There were six yellow passenger coaches with green letter boards, red wheels and clerestory (#101 - #106).

SF&DL coach dimensions were patterned after these narrow gauge OR&L cars preserved at Travel Town.[citation needed]

Combination coach No. 101, affectionately known as "the Combine" is a combination baggage/express and coach seating which was patterned after the Oahu Railway Combine, No. 36 on display near the studio at Travel Town Museum — the railway post office/Wells Fargo Express/Baggage compartment held trunks of wood and leather, mail sacks, a strong box and a few kegs of blasting powder (merely props). The rest of the train consist were officially named, each coach bearing painted green titles on their sides reflecting the Santa Fe sponsor: 102 "Navajo Chief", 103 "Rocky Mountains", 104 "Land of Pueblos", 105 "Painted Desert" and the last car #106 "Grand Canyon" observation coach which featured larger twin windows, and a grand observation platform with a candy-stripped canopy skirt over the illuminated "Santa Fe & Disneyland Limited" drumhead sign on the end. Disembark/embark via narrow doors at the open vestibule platforms at each car's end was prone to delay.

There are eight railcars of the Frontierland freight train, #201–#207 cattle cars and gondolas in a mixed consist with caboose #208 always trailing behind. Initially there was no seating in the cattle cars or open gondolas; most of the passengers were to remain standing the entire trip. Only the caboose had seats; four of the seats were up in the cupola. At least the cattle cars provided shade. These cars eventually had "Holiday" style benches installed facing the right side of the train, inwards toward the park.

A third set of cars, train number 300, debuted in 1958 with the addition of the Grand Canyon diorama. They had forward-facing "Excursion" style walkover bench seating similar to the Main Street Railroad horse-drawn trolley.

In 1965 and 1966, new cars were added with train sets #400 and #500, featuring "Holiday" seating which faced toward the right side of the train.

Nowadays the seating consists primarily of open-air "Holiday" styled coaches covered with brightly striped canvas. Two rows of center loading bench-seating facing inward to the park for quick disembark/embark at the depots and for easier viewing of the Grand Canyon/Primeval World diorama—except the 1958 Excursion cars, which continue to seat face forward.

Lilly Belle interior

Shortly after the diorama's opening in 1958, the #100 train set of clerestory-roofed yellow passenger coaches with forward-facing seats, made famous on the park's opening day broadcast, were gradually retired from service and stacked behind the Roundhouse because they took too long to load and other trains would stack up behind it. However, it was not till 1974 when they were completed retired. Coaches #101–105 were traded in the 1990s for a locomotive that was refurbished and named the "Ward Kimbal". The first "Ward Kimbal" was found too heavy for bridges on the Disneyland line and was sent to Walt Disney World, where it was unable to pull the heavier trains. The "Grand Canyon" Observation Coach #106 remained at the Disneyland roundhouse, where the crew lovingly refitted her as a private parlor car in bright red shiny lacquer livery, gold leaf letter-boards and delicate pinstripe pillar decoration, with a lavish interior of red plush velvet chairs and love seats, fancy carpet, an ornate beveled glass mirror, gold fringed red velvet drapes, antique marble tables supporting three of Walt's favorite books and an intimate portrait of Walt with the car's namesake, his wife Lillian - then rechristened the Lilly Belle. #106 is not a presidential coach; but its first official passenger was Japanese Emperor Hirohito. It is usually added at the end of a holiday train. During the Year of a Million Dreams promotion, random guests were chosen to experience a Grand Circle journey from Main Street aboard the Lilly Belle. Members of Club 33 are able to ride aboard the Lilly Belle with their guests at any time unescorted. All others must be escorted by a Disneyland cast member.

Combine, Walt's favorite "world's newest old train car", was the combination of passenger coach with baggage compartment in front, No. #101. Although labeled with "Wells Fargo Express" and "U.S. Mail", it never was used as a railway post office, but it did have a strong box. The combine now belongs to the Carolwood Foundation and is displayed next to Walt's Barn at public viewings hosted by the Carolwood Pacific Historical Society, who has built an enclosure to display the combine with her well preserved original seats, decor and all of her original props. The car was Walt's favorite because it brought back pleasant memories of his youth on the Missouri Pacific as a candy, tobacco and news butch, where he would spend time reading H. G. Wells' The Time Machine, Audubon's Birds of America or Wild Life of America, and would occasionally climb over the tender to bring the fireman and engineer apples from his family orchard to be rewarded with lessons about steam locomotives.

The tender ride is an enjoyable opportunity available to guests who inquire and are willing to wait. Walt insisted guests be able to experience and appreciate fully the sights, sounds, smells and aura involving the operation of a genuine steam locomotive. So a narrow seat was designed for guests to sit upon the tenders just behind the locomotive cabs within intimate shouting distance of the engineers operating engines #1 and #2, the two engines that were patterned from Walt's CP #173 Lilly Belle miniature live-steam operating locomotive model which were scaled up to full-scale narrow-gauge and fabricated for the park at the Disneyland Roundhouse shop. Guests may request a round trip tender ride from a Main Street Station conductor to experience a tender ride. Certain safety conditions may delay guests from embarking on tender rides: hot weather over 90 °F (32 °C) which can make the journey uncomfortable, engine refueling at Tomorrowland Station, crew change, taking on water, or a boiler blowdown at New Orleans/Frontierland Station. Only when all safety requirements are satisfied and once the proper locomotive pulls into the station, the conductor escorts one or two guests beyond a platform gate and up into the tender seat to be secured by seatbelts. Main Street Station is the only platform long enough to reach the locomotive, so guests must complete the grand circle tour and disembark at Main Street Station. The engineers are very accommodating to any questions guests may have and are very knowledgeable regarding the operation, history and significance of the locomotives they operate. A very special aspect unique to the Disneyland Railroad is the "tender ride".


From concept to inauguration

Walt Disney's Carolwood Pacific Railroad miniature live steam locomotive on display at Disneyland Main Street Station in 1993, before its replacement by a replica. Disney's railroad hobby was the inspiration for the Disneyland Railroad. This original one is now on display at the Walt Disney Family Museum.

The Disneyland Railroad was inspired by Walt Disney's love for trains and his live steam backyard Carolwood Pacific Railroad. Until 1974, it was sponsored by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, during which time it operated as the "Santa Fe & Disneyland Railroad". To offset construction costs, the Walt Disney Company solicited major railroads for corporate sponsorship of the attraction in 1953; the Santa Fe was the only company to respond.[3]

The line originally custom-built all of it's full-scale narrow-gauge equipment in house. WED Enterprises constructed the original two locomotives in the roundhouse at Disneyland under the supervision of Roger E. Broggie. Patterned after the Lilly Belle, the 1/8 scale miniature steam locomotive Broggie had made for Walt's backyard Carolwood Pacific Railroad, they are examples of "American"-style 4-4-0s, scaled up from 1/8th to larger five-eighths scale, a proportional equivalent to the three foot narrow gauge Disneyland Railroad trackage and operated "just like the big ones." The boilers are fired by spraying and igniting fuel oil onto a ceramic plate burner, all DLRR locomotives consume B98 biodiesel nowadays, most of which is filtered from its own used cooking oils blended with soy based fuel to make up the difference, giving credence to guests being able to smell french fries in the tunnels. Locomotive No. 1 was given a big spark arresting diamond stack of wood-burning locomotives and a large, pointed pilot (cowcatcher) representing a workhorse used to construct a railroad while the flagship No. 2 was given a straight stack and smaller pilot common to East Coast coal-burning locomotives representing highball speed of express passenger service on smooth straight rails.

As the park had grown, and ridership increased, more trains were needed. The park added two more engines, totaling four engines along with their own consists, and more recently, a fifth engine was acquired. These locomotives were acquired from outside sources, since this was cheaper than building new ones and since many narrow-gauge lines were closing down and selling their equipment. All three were given extensive renovations before entering service, including new boilers. Number 3 and the "new" Number 5 are "Forney" tank locomotives which normally ran with the tender fuel tank first "in reverse" and were converted to imitate conventional engines. Number 3 is the oldest locomotive in service at any Disney property, built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1894. The engines, with the exception of the park's most recent fifth engine, were each named after Santa Fe railroad officials.

Walt Disney, along with California Governor Goodwin J. Knight and Fred G. Gurley (in his capacity as president of the Santa Fe) presided over the opening-day ceremonies. Walt's railroading hobby qualified him with extensive experience operating steam locomotives and guests frequently saw him making rounds of the park acting as engineer in a locomotive cab.

The Santa Fe sponsored the attraction from its opening until 1974. Santa Fe was out of the passenger train business, with the takeover of Amtrak in 1971 and the Santa Fe could not justify the sponsorship expenses. This, along with Santa Fe's wish to replace the park's diminutive steam locomotives with modern diesel engines, led negotiations to extend the sponsorship contract eventually to fail, and the Santa Fe name was removed, though the engines' names remained. Santa Fe expected their marque to remain until casually replaced, but all references were replaced with the new Disneyland Railroad emblem by park opening the very next day, including the riveted panel from monorail red salvaged from the trash by Bob Gurr on display at Walt's Barn.

The narration inside the cars at various points around the park once featured the late voice actor Jack Wagner, and later, Thurl Ravenscroft.[4]

The E.P. Ripley was displayed at the former annual Fullerton Railroad Days in 2006 in Fullerton, California. This was the first time the locomotives were displayed at an off-site public event.[5] The next year, the C.K. Holliday was displayed at the Fullerton Railroad Days.[6] The "Fred Gurley" was displayed there the year after the "Holiday."

The Grand Canyon/Primeval World diorama

Artist Delmer J. Yoakum (left) painting the Grand Canyon diorama in 1955
Grand Canyon Diorama

The 1958 addition of the Grand Canyon diorama painted by artist Delmer J. Yoakum necessitated a change in the rolling stock as well; instead of facing forward, the new flatcars' benches now faced right so that the passengers could better enjoy the scenes. The diorama, which includes taxidermic animals (the only ones in the park) in lifelike poses, is the longest in the world. Painted on a single piece of seamless canvas and representing the view from the canyon's south rim, the rear of the diorama measures 306 feet (93 m) long, 34 feet (10 m) high and is covered with 300 gallons (1,100 L) of paint in 14 colors.[7] Animals that are included in the diorama include mule deer, mountain lion, desert bighorn sheep, golden eagle, wild turkeys, striped skunk and porcupine. A 96-year-old Hopi chief, Chief Nevangnewa, blessed the trains on the diorama's opening day. The cost was US$367,000, and it took 80,000 labor hours to construct. The main theme of Ferde Grofé's "On The Trail," the third movement from his Grand Canyon Suite, is piped in through the train's sound system as it enters the diorama.

In 1966, the diorama was expanded with a prehistoric theme to become the "Grand Canyon/Primeval World" diorama, with Audio-Animatronic dinosaurs from Walt Disney's Ford Magic Skyway attraction at the 1964 New York World's Fair. At the same time as the track expansion on the east side of the park, the track on the western side of the park was extended to make room for the New Orleans Square expansion, including buildings for the Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean. The northern edge of the track was moved north to allow for an expansion of the Mine Train Through Nature's Wonderland. That area is now home to the Big Thunder Ranch, the unused Festival Arena, and Fantasyland Theater, currently home to the Princess Fantasy Faire.

Alterations and modernization

The construction of New Orleans Square in the mid-'60s required the tracks to be expanded outwards in the southwest quarter of the park. The open-air stretches of track on both sides of Frontierland Station became enclosed by a tunnel over Pirates of the Caribbean to the east and a tunnel through the berm behind the Haunted Mansion facade. Additionally, the trains originally ran behind Casey Jr. Circus Train, but the track was rerouted in order to make more space inside the park. The DLRR was in near-continuous operation since the park's 1955 opening day until December 2004 when the system was shut down for reballasting, regauging and new block signals as part of Disneyland's fiftieth anniversary celebration. The attraction reopened on March 17, 2005. It was the railroad's longest closure in park history.

In 1999, Disney traded a locomotive for the inoperable Maud L locomotive from the Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky, Ohio, and sent it to a Southern California shop in 2004 to restore it and transform it into a Disneyland Railroad locomotive. This 1902 Baldwin locomotive is now Disneyland Railroad locomotive number 5 and is the first added since 1959. Originally named for Maud Lepine, daughter of one of the original owners and a name kept throughout the locomotive's service life, it is now named after Ward Kimball, one of Disney's Nine Old Men and an avid railroad preservationist.[8]

Stations, route and tour

A view of the Main Street railroad depot at the time of the park's fiftieth anniversary. The building is in the Queen Anne style with mansard roofs, widow's walks, dormers, and a clock tower.
Disneyland Railroad
Track turning from left Track turning from right
One way backward Station on track
Main Street, U.S.A.
Straight track Unknown BSicon "ACC"
New Orleans Square
Straight track Unknown BSicon "ACC"
Straight track One way forward Unknown BSicon "ENDEa"
Maintenance shops
Unknown BSicon "KMW" Junction from left Track turning right
2.4 km
Enter tunnel Unknown BSicon "ACC" Urban railway
(Monorail via short walk)
Exit tunnel One way forward
Grand Canyon and
Primeval World
Track turning left Track turning right

The 1.5-mile (2.4 km) loop originally only stopped at Main Street or Frontierland. The Frontierland Station was renovated when that section of the park opened in 1966. It was renamed to be the New Orleans Square station at a later date. The loop expanded to stops at Fantasyland (which became Mickey's Toontown station) and Tomorrowland.

Main Street Station is designed to coordinate architecturally with the rest of Main Street, and is the first Disneyland structure visitors see upon entering the park. A sign on the roof shows an elevation of 138 feet (42 m) above sea level (though this figure is only approximate) and a population number that roughly corresponds with the number of visitors to the park over the past five decades. As of January 2005 the number stood at 500 million. An ornately decorated Kalamazoo handcar is on permanent display in front of the station on the former passing turnout once utilized by Retlaw 2, the Frontierland freight train, when each train stopped for passengers only at its own station. It is rumored that the handcar was donated to Walt Disney himself around 1955 by railroad historian and Disney friend Jerry Best. However, there is no evidence of this even in the Disney Archives. On display inside the station are various photos and print articles pertaining to DLRR history, vintage penny scale and Orchestron player and a replica of Walt's 1/8 scale live-steam garden railroad locomotive Lilly Belle; the original engine, tender and the caboose with detailed interior hand-crafted entirely by Walt was in the display case for many years on loan from the Disney family, which are now featured at the Walt Disney Family Museum.

The journey from Main Street station travels northwest along Disneyland's border, just outside the park's main berm from the Jungle Cruise. Guests get a glimpse of an antelope on the berm and for many years a cougar yowled at the trains before the train passes thru Pirates of the Caribbean themed as Mardi Gras Carnival staging area.

New Orleans Square Station platform shelter is stylistically similar to Main Street Station. The Depot building on the west side of the tracks (inspired by the Grizzly Flats Railroad Depot) originally served as the station platform; in 1962 it was removed from service and moved across the realigned tracks, in preparation for the New Orleans Square expansion, which now serves primarily as an ornamental detail and break room for train crews. The Land Line Telegraphy extension of Morse code sound effect heard emanating from the depot Telegraph Office, historically used by telegraphers on operating railroads, repeats endlessly the first two lines of Walt Disney's 1955 opening day speech "To all who come to this happy place: Welcome. Disneyland is your land. Here age relives fond memories of the past, and here youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future."

The journey from New Orleans Square, the train passes into a tunnel thru the berm between the Haunted Mansion's facade and show building. Shortly thereafter passengers catch a glimpse of Splash Mountain's "Zip-a-Dee Lady" riverboat finale scene before crossing over Critter Country Lane on a trestle. The track then follows the outer edge of the Rivers of America, where guests glimpse minor wildlife scenes, a friendly Indian chief on a horse, and a view of a settler's log cabin across the river on Tom Sawyer's Island. Originally, the Burning Settler's Cabin was shown being under attack by Indians, with roof, door and windows ablaze, accompanied by Indian war chants, war-whoops and hollers coming from the distance with an arrow in the back of the settler fallen in front of his cabin; these elements were modified in the 1970s to represent a victim of evil river pirates complete with unconvincing fire of blown cellophane and silk ala Pirates of the Caribbean (attraction), the exploded alcohol still of an inebriated moonshiner (now with real fire again) in the 1980s, an eagle's nest threatened by the careless settler's blaze in the early 1990's, all of which proved politically incorrect and was eventually extinguished at the end of 1999. During the Pirate's Lair on Tom Sawyer Island makeover, asbestos was removed and the cabin refurbished to represent a sustainable homestead. The train then passes behind Festival of Fools picnic grounds, through a tunnel in the berm (actually the heavy equipment bridge to the interior,) and into Toontown Depot.

In 1956, a year after Disneyland's opening, Fantasyland Depot was constructed where the photo kiosk is today. Nearly ten years later in 1965 the canvas tent station was closed, dismantled and the track realigned northward from directly behind Casey Jr. Circus Train to it's present location to accommodate construction of "it's a small world", incorporating the railroad line into it's facade.[9] In 1985 Videopolis Station was built, then rethemed to a cartoonish design to correspond with the new Mickey's Toontown opened in January 1993. Toontown Depot seems to be the most crowded stations on the railroad. Upon leaving the depot, the trains pass through the facade of "It's a small world" and roll past backstage areas, such as parts of the parade route and mechanical stations.

The trains then pass Autopia before entering Tomorrowland Station, a Googie-styled depot built in 1958, themed with a Victorian era bronze color scheme of steampunk anachronistic technology aesthetic envisioned by the 1998 New Tomorrowland project, and painted over with whites, silvers, and blues.

Leaving the Tomorrowland station, viewers get a quick glimpse of the Innoventions building and enter the Grand Canyon diorama building via faux tunnel, followed by the Primeval World diorama featuring dinosaurs created for Ford's Magic Skyway pavilion of the 1964-65 New York World's Fair. After a brief stretch along the berm, the train re-enters Main Street Station.


Inside the cab of Engine #1, the C.K. Holliday

As of 2007, all the Disneyland Railroad locomotives have been converted to burn biodiesel. Disneyland has recently taken to recycling its own cooking oil into biodiesel, further reducing fuel costs. It also burns cleaner than traditional coal, wood, or heavy "Bunker C" oil normally used on steam locomotives.

The Disneyland Railroad currently has five narrow-gauge steam locomotives (the original four are named after former Santa Fe CEOs):

  • 1: C. K. Holliday, a 4-4-0 built in the Walt Disney Studio in 1954; went into service at Disneyland on Opening Day, 1955. It was named for Cyrus Kurtz Holliday, founder of the Santa Fe Railroad in 1859.
  • 2: E. P. Ripley, a 4-4-0 built in the Walt Disney Studio in 1954; went into service at Disneyland on Opening Day, 1955. It was named for Edward Payson Ripley, an early president of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway (ATSF) after its 1895 reorganization.
  • 3: Fred Gurley, built by Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1894, went into service at Disneyland March 28, 1958. The locomotive, named for the then-current chairman of the ATSF, Fred G. Gurley, is the oldest single piece of railroad equipment in use at any Disney theme park. The 2-4-4T tank locomotive, used in Louisiana to transport sugar cane, was purchased in working condition for US$1300; nevertheless, more than $35,000 was spent on its restoration. A commemorative plastic plaque celebrating the Gurley's centennial was mounted under the engines running board in 1994. In 2008, the Fred Gurley returned from an extensive overhaul and was featured as a static display at the Fullerton Railroad Days.
  • 4: Ernest S. Marsh, a 2-4-0 originally built by Baldwin Locomotive Works as a 0-4-0 saddle-tank in 1925; went into service at Disneyland July 25, 1959. It was named for the Santa Fe's then-current president, the Marsh originally served the Raritan River Sand Company in New Jersey. During shipment from New Jersey to California, the locomotive was misrouted and ended up in a rail yard outside Pittsburgh. Disney placed a call to personal friend Marsh who personally oversaw the rerouting and rapid shipment of the locomotive to its final destination. The Ernest S. Marsh is undergoing an extensive overhaul and is planned to return to service in 2012.
  • 5: Ward Kimball, a 2-4-4, serial number 20925, built by Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1902 for the Laurel Valley Plantation of Louisiana and later received in trade from Cedar Point Amusement Park as the inoperative Maud L in 1999. Cedar Point added a lead truck during its service there, making it a 2-4-4T. Restoration was begun by Boschan Boiler and Restorations of Carson in 2004 and went into permanent service on June 25, 2005, as part of the park's fiftieth anniversary celebration. The new locomotive's headlight features a gold leaf silhouette of Jiminy Cricket, based on a drawing of the character Kimball made shortly before his death. Thus, the locomotive marks a break in Disneyland Railroad's tradition of naming engines after Santa Fe officials, and instead being named in honor of a Disney legend.


The railroad operates daily, taking its first passengers at the park's opening, year-round. The trains do not operate during special events, such as Grad Nite. A round trip on the DLRR is usually 20 minutes.


Conductor on the Disneyland Railroad

Each train is manned by four Disney "cast members": two conductors, an engineer, and a fireman. The engineer is charged with operation of the locomotive and the fireman is responsible for maintaining the fire as well as water level in the boiler.

The conductors are responsible for the operation and safety of each station and the trains. Duties as station attendants involve passenger counts, answering questions and assisting passengers. While on the train the conductor runs the spiel box and makes safety announcements. Trains cannot move without approval from the conductor. The conductors work in rotation.


Early in the morning the first crew arrives at the enginehouse to get the first train ready to depart. The maintenance crew will mark on the board which trains are to be used and the order in which they are to be removed from the roundhouse.

The first crew will prep and take out the first train listed. Safety and readiness checks are performed by the conductor as the enginemen prepare the locomotive for a day of operation, known as hostling. The conductor, who is in charge of the train and its motion, inspects the track and arrangement of the switches in the yard outside of the roundhouse to ensure safe passage out of the roundhouse to the park.

Once the boiler has reached working pressure and the engineers are ready to go, they will signal using the forward motion whistle (two short whistles). After a reply from the conductor's buzzer (two short buzzes) recognizing the whistle signal, the train will proceed into the park.

In the morning, the roundhouse operating engineers will test the safety systems on the train. The main tests include intentionally popping the safety valves. The safety valves are set to release excess steam to avoid going above the boiler's maximum working pressure. After the first train is on the line, the second is not far behind. As this is going on, other conductors arrive at the stations in the park and prepare for the trains' arrival.

In service

When the park opens, the first train departs from Main Street Station. The second will be just behind. Typically, three trains are used daily, with a fourth sometimes coming out on busy days later in the morning.

Each lap around Disneyland should be completed in approximately 20 minutes. This timing is established and maintained by the first train. The second and third trains keep up with the first train as much as possible. The goal is to have the first train at Main Street Station on the hour and at :20 and :40 past. If a trains falls behind, it needs to catch up (or drop behind a lap) to get the first train to the top of the hour. This is necessary to meet the park's scheduled closing procedures.

Block signals

The railroad used to feature block signals along the line to let the engineers and conductor know the position of the trains on the system. The block signals on the DLRR used to resemble a typical traffic light with two lights that are green and red. Today, colored lights in the cab near the engineer tell the crew of the status of the track ahead. On the main line there are ten blocks. Four are the stations, including some length of track before the station. The other blocks are spread between stations.

The lights typically change in this order in both directions: Green <--> Yellow/Green <--> Red <--> Yellow/Red

In a four-train operation the conductors will not allow the train to proceed on a yellow/green signal. This keeps the trains spaced for more consistent service in the stations and prevents the train from having to stop in between stations. In a three-train operation conductors can move trains on the yellow/green signal. This is because there will almost always be a train in the second block ahead.


The whistles' and horns' primary purpose was communication. On the DLRR, engineers use the whistle to communicate while the conductor uses the same patterns with a button which activates a bell in the cab of the locomotive. While the train is operated as a team, the conductor has the final say in the operation of the train: he is in command. At stations, the conductor signals it is safe for the train to move by calling "All aboard!" Engineers will acknowledge by signaling with two short whistles. The common whistles on the DLRR are:

  • One Short - Attention
  • Two Short – Forward movement
  • Three Short – Reverse movement
  • One Long, One Short – Approaching station
  • One Long, Two Short – Crew spotted along track (also used as a general greeting)
  • Two Long, One Short, One Long – Public crossing ahead (with bell)
  • Two Long, One Short – Meeting point (Junction)
  • One Long – Stop immediately or emergency stop
  • Four Long – Train in distress

The train bell is rung upon the train's arrival towards a station as well as on the approach to a crossing. As with the whistle, the bell being rung is an official and mandatory signaling sequence. This system is also used at the Walt Disney World Railroad.


At park closing, the conductors announce the departure of the last train, also known as the "Sweeper Train". All guests can ride until the train arrives back at Main Street station. Once back at Main Street the conductors walk the length of the train to ensure that there are no passengers remaining and any items left behind are unloaded to the station attendants and brought to lost and found. The procedure is the same for all trains.

After the train is cleared for departure, the conductor will signal the engineers with the forward movement signal. Then the train departs for the switch past "it's a small world". Once a train passes the switch it stops. One of the conductors will jump off the train and throw the switch to allow the train to back to the roundhouse.

At this point the engineer relies on the conductor to guide the train to back towards the Roundhouse. This continues until the train is backed completely into the roundhouse. Another conductor will throw the switch back to allow another train to leave if one or more remain; otherwise the switch is left where it is.

An aerial view of Disneyland in 1956. The entire DLRR "Circle Route" is clearly visible.

See also


  • Duke, Donald (1997). Santa Fe: The Railroad Gateway to the American West, Volume One. San Marino, California: Golden West Books. ISBN 0870951106. 
  • Disneyland: The First Quarter Century. Walt Disney Productions. 1979. 
  • Guide to Tourist Railroad and Museums. Kalmbach Publishing. 2000. ISBN 0890244243. 
  • Trahan, Kendra D. (2004). Disneyland Detective: An INDEPENDENT Guide to Discovering Disney's Legend, Lore, and Magic!. PermaGrin Publishing. ISBN 0971746400. 
  • DeGaetano, Steve M. (2004). Welcome Aboard the Disneyland Railroad! The Complete Disneyland Railroad Reference Guide. Steam Passages Publications. ISBN 0975858408. 

External links

Coordinates: 33°48′36″N 117°55′08″W / 33.8099°N 117.9189°W / 33.8099; -117.9189

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Игры ⚽ Поможем написать курсовую

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