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    Disneyland Railroad lines

    In a lot of old pictures I can see two rail lines running in front of the Main Street station. I first noticed this in the Dedication Day TV special where Art Linkletter was standing on the tracks (how dangerous!).

    Question one: Are both lines still there today? I don't remember seeing them.

    Question two: Why two tracks -- what are they used for?


    Youtube video, tracks visible from 1:15 onward...
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    Re: Disneyland Railroad lines

    Quote Originally Posted by monotonehell View Post
    In a lot of old pictures I can see two rail lines running in front of the Main Street station. I first noticed this in the Dedication Day TV special where Art Linkletter was standing on the tracks (how dangerous!).

    Question one: Are both lines still there today? I don't remember seeing them.

    Question two: Why two tracks -- what are they used for?
    One, they are not there in a usable condition. The second set of tracks is still in place between the entrance tunnels, they park the Kalamazoo Handcar on them as a static display, but they long ago took out the switches used to access it.

    (Which is kind of silly when you think about it - Passing sidings are very handy to have around, especially if you have a breakdown on the line. With trains, there's no "going around the block", the rails are kinda necessary... Makes it easy to run an extra engine out to assist a broken one, without a lot of drama. I would have left at least the one at Main Street in place.)

    And the passing siding at the NOS station is long gone - besides they would have interfered with the Water Tower, and the Haunted Mansion 'tunnel' (actually an enclosed trestle) would need to be double-wide.

    Two, when the park first opened the two trains were treated as seperate rides and took seperate round trips, and there were passing sidings at both stations. One train was loading, and the other could pass.

    Not sure exactly when (time-wise) they decided to change that to the current 'transportation system' model with each train stopping at all stations in sequence, but I'll bet Steve D. does...

    --<< Bruce >>--
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    Re: Disneyland Railroad lines

    Monotone, Bruce is correct.

    Back when the Park opened, there were just two trains--the E.P. Ripley pulled an 1890s passenger train, and the C.K. Holliday pulled a western freight train. The Ripley only stopped at Main Street Station, and the Holliday only stopped at Frontierland Station (there were no other stations). Once you got on a train, you went on a non-stop round trip.

    When the Ripley pulled away from Main Street and rounded the bend, the Holliday would be stopped at Frontierland. There was a passing siding there as well, and the Ripley simply pulled around the stopped Holliday and continued on. When the Ripley was out of sight, the Holliday would pull out of Frontierland.

    The Ripley would continue on and then stop at Main Street. The passing siding there would then be used to allow the C.K. Holliday to continue past.

    The usual time frame given as to when this practice ceased is 1956, when the Fantasyland Station opened. Recently, in preparing an article about the handcar that now occupies what remains of the Main Street siding, I discovered an old post card taken in 1956 with the handcar in place--which definitely suggests the passing siding practice ended that year.

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    Re: Disneyland Railroad lines

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Bergman View Post
    Which is kind of silly when you think about it - Passing sidings are very handy to have around, especially if you have a breakdown on the line. With trains, there's no "going around the block", the rails are kinda necessary... Makes it easy to run an extra engine out to assist a broken one, without a lot of drama.
    The passing sidings wouldn't really be useful, Bruce, and probably would cause even more drama (not to mention that it might take three or four hours to steam up an "extra" engine).

    When a train breaks down, it's a simple matter for the train in front to emply her passengers, back up, couple on to the disabled train, and bring it to the roundhouse.

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    Re: Disneyland Railroad lines

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve DeGaetano View Post
    The passing sidings wouldn't really be useful, Bruce, and probably would cause even more drama (not to mention that it might take three or four hours to steam up an "extra" engine).

    When a train breaks down, it's a simple matter for the train in front to emply her passengers, back up, couple on to the disabled train, and bring it to the roundhouse.
    Can you explain that in more detail please?

    The engine in front, with its cars, backs up, couples with the disabled engine and its cars and then pulls that entire load around and backs it into the roundhouse?

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    Re: Disneyland Railroad lines

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve DeGaetano View Post
    Monotone, Bruce is correct.
    I love the sound of that - Say it again...

    The Fantasyland station opened, then the Tomorrowland Station, then thwey reconfigured the whole north half of the tracks to push the Berm out for Small Worls, then the Fantrasyland Station morphed into ToonTown Station...

    Lots of changes over the years both big and small. The one constant: Steam motive power. The Ripley and the Holliday.
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve DeGaetano View Post
    The Ripley would continue on and then stop at Main Street. The passing siding there would then be used to allow the C.K. Holliday to continue past.

    The usual time frame given as to when this practice ceased is 1956, when the Fantasyland Station opened. Recently, in preparing an article about the handcar that now occupies what remains of the Main Street siding, I discovered an old post card taken in 1956 with the handcar in place--which definitely suggests the passing siding practice ended that year.
    Somebody needs to ask the Roundhouse Crew why they took out the siding switches at Main Street. Wasn't hurting anything at all, and it provides them with very handy options - the whole idea of a Handcar is that two or four people can lift it off the tracks and walk it to one side to clear them for a train to pass.

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    Re: Disneyland Railroad lines

    Quote Originally Posted by Mojave View Post
    Can you explain that in more detail please?

    The engine in front, with its cars, backs up, couples with the disabled engine and its cars and then pulls that entire load around and backs it into the roundhouse?
    Egg-Zactly. If there are no passengers on board, one engine has more than enough power to push around it's own consist of empty cars, plus a disabled second engine and it's empty cars.

    Back it in, drop them off, back to work!

    Getting them all moving might be a bit of fun, but the grades on the DLRR are mild. A little sand, and a firm hand on the controls.

    If the load was right on the ragged edge of "too much" to get moving you could always do the 'Casey Jr.' trick of pushing in reverse and putting slack in all the couplers, then put it in forward and "stand on the throttle" but that would have to be done with an empty train - much jerking and bumping will ensue.

    Oh, and the passing siding would provide an option if they did have another engine with steam up. That, or they could go buy a little Diesel engine Plymouth Switcher. They start instantly, give it thirty seconds to warm up a bit before pulling out.

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    Re: Disneyland Railroad lines

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Bergman View Post
    The Fantasyland station opened, then the Tomorrowland Station, then thwey reconfigured the whole north half of the tracks to push the Berm out for Small Worls,
    For those who may be curious, the straight stretch of track that defined the original northern border of Disneyland ran from due west to due east immediately north of Storybook Land. This change also opened a large area west of this one in Frontierland, just north of Big Thunder Mountain today.

    Remnants or artifacts of the old track are still visible backstage, I believe, and maybe I'm going crazy but I thought that I saw some of it inside the guest areas near the north side of Storybook Land. I haven't been to that area in a long time, and I probably just imagined it in a dream or something (yes, I dream about Disneyland sometimes ), so I guess I'll have to check.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Bergman View Post
    then the Fantrasyland Station morphed into ToonTown Station...
    I realize that you meant to abbreviate the history a bit, but to fill in some of it, I recall this station becoming the Videopolis station for a while, too. And the southwest side of the tracks was bulged out a bit to make more space for constructing New Orleans Square.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Bergman View Post
    Lots of changes over the years both big and small. The one constant: Steam motive power. The Ripley and the Holliday.
    Try telling that to half (or probably more) of the people who ride the trains. They think that everything at Disneyland is fake, with the only upside being that this impresses most of them more than if everything were real. Even some rail fans would be sorely tempted to look for a switch for "Smoke" or "Steam FX" if given the opportunity. In fact, I remember seeing pictures of a fake "Smoke" switch installed behind the Holliday's cowcatcher as a prank when the locomotive was out on public display. Without a doubt, some hopeful rail fans who wanted to believe desperately enough must have completely fallen for it. Obviously, the "steam outline" (fake steam) locomotives in Hong Kong Disneyland don't help matters, though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Bergman View Post
    Egg-Zactly. If there are no passengers on board, one engine has more than enough power to push around it's own consist of empty cars, plus a disabled second engine and it's empty cars.
    Yeah, the trains would be lighter by maybe 30-40 tons or so--people are heavy in large groups.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Bergman View Post
    If the load was right on the ragged edge of "too much" to get moving you could always do the 'Casey Jr.' trick of pushing in reverse and putting slack in all the couplers, then put it in forward and "stand on the throttle" but that would have to be done with an empty train - much jerking and bumping will ensue.
    And if it were really just too heavy, then I suppose that you could always decouple the disabled engine from its train before pulling it to the roundhouse. While coming back to fetch the rest of the train would be a hassle, this would absolutely work for sure (as long as the track system at the roundhouse can accommodate this method).

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    Re: Disneyland Railroad lines

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Bergman View Post
    If the load was right on the ragged edge of "too much" to get moving you could always do the 'Casey Jr.' trick of pushing in reverse and putting slack in all the couplers, then put it in forward and "stand on the throttle" but that would have to be done with an empty train - much jerking and bumping will ensue.
    In fact, this method is an accepted practice in railroading--and has been since Day One. The difference is, no one "stands on the throttle" (doing so would only cause the engine to slip her drivers--cool to watch and hear, but not effective for stating a train).

    Bunching the slack to start a heavy train still happens today at Disneyland (and on "real" railroads). The engine is gently eased out--but with the slack bunched, the engine essentially starts pulling just a car at a time. A good engineer can accomplish it smoothly.

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    Re: Disneyland Railroad lines

    Thanks guys. That's my curiosity satisfied, for the moment.

    How did I know that I would be Steve and Bruce with the answers?
    Disney FAQ#275: What is DCA?
    DCA stands for Disney Construction Area. All the Cast Members are themed with hard hats and steel toed boots.

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    Re: Disneyland Railroad lines

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Cook View Post
    Even some rail fans would be sorely tempted to look for a switch for "Smoke" or "Steam FX" if given the opportunity. In fact, I remember seeing pictures of a fake "Smoke" switch installed behind the Holliday's cowcatcher as a prank when the locomotive was out on public display. Without a doubt, some hopeful rail fans who wanted to believe desperately enough must have completely fallen for it.
    I was one of those taking a picture of that...but it was more out of curiosity than anything else. (Knowing they're real steam engines, one gets curious seeing a switch like that). Good to finally have an answer on it.

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    Re: Disneyland Railroad lines

    Quote Originally Posted by DeliriumTrigger View Post
    I was one of those taking a picture of that...but it was more out of curiosity than anything else. (Knowing they're real steam engines, one gets curious seeing a switch like that). Good to finally have an answer on it.
    The trains used to rely on lineside signals to let them know what was up ahead. Now, those signals are in the cab, and magnetic detectors pick up the signals from the rails. There's an aweful lot of magnetic sensor equipment now under the "cowcatchers." What you photographed, while made up, fits in well with the other hardware under there.

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    Re: Disneyland Railroad lines

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve DeGaetano View Post
    In fact, this method is an accepted practice in railroading--and has been since Day One. The difference is, no one "stands on the throttle" (doing so would only cause the engine to slip her drivers--cool to watch and hear, but not effective for stating a train).

    Bunching the slack to start a heavy train still happens today at Disneyland (and on "real" railroads). The engine is gently eased out--but with the slack bunched, the engine essentially starts pulling just a car at a time. A good engineer can accomplish it smoothly.
    Okay, mea culpa. You know it, I know it, Ward Kimball knew it - but they dramatized and animated it in Dumbo SO effectively, and made it funny. (Must have been him, after Walt he was the chief Train Nut of the Nine Old Men.) Refer to the movie, and now everyone knows what you are talking about.

    And there are always those days where things don't go as planned...

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    Re: Disneyland Railroad lines

    Yep, backing up is a common thing to do. This is a video I shot last June of the trains which includes the Ripley struggling a bit and bunching up the slack, on an average day at the park

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    Re: Disneyland Railroad lines

    They probably took the switches out because they weren't being used anymore. I have no idea when.

    Wasn't there a story about when they were still using the sidings that someone threw a switch before the last truck on the last car had passed and they ended up with one car kind of straddling both tracks?

    I would not be surprised if they came to the conclusion that they had to throw the switches too many times in a day to justify that kind of operation and just stopped using the sidings to simplify things.

    There's also the possibility of having a wheel set split the points and derail. If they are not being used why leave them in for that possibility?

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