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Station Story: Part Two

Part one of this story may be found at this link.

In the move northward, the station gained six feet in elevation, currently standing at 144 feet. But it also gained a companion: A "freight house" was built next to the station, providing restroom and break facilities for the engine crews. The architectural style was similar to the original station, but didn't copy any element directly.


Various freight, in the form of barrels, crates, sacks and milk cans, is scattered here and there, giving the illusion of the hustle-and-bustle of a thriving freight house. The freight is shifted around occasionally, providing "life."

The freight shed added to the Frontierland Station complex in the early 1960s.
Author's collection.

Frontierland Station also features two elements necessary for the safe operation of the steam engines of the Disneyland line--a functioning water tower, and a "Steam Funnel." We'll get to the latter shortly. First, let's look at the water tower.

Interestingly, the water tower you see is the third incarnation of this particular structure. The first was built next to the station in 1955, also on the Park side of the tracks. I have never seen a spout attached to this tank, and it appears that it may never even have been used.

This photo by Roger Broggie shows the first water tower, clearly missing its
necessary spout. Photo courtesy Michael Broggie.

The next tower design to occupy the location was of a different design, shorter and with a different number of strengthening steel hoops girding its circumference. It also lacked the "dormer" seen on the roof of the tank in the photo above.

The second tower to occupy the same spot in the span of a year
is visible behind the conductor. The vertical white board near the
left edge of the tower indicated the water level inside the tank.

This tank had its ladder placed 90 degrees from the spout, on the right side of the tank. It was used from the mid 1950s through the 1990s, and made the move across the tracks with the rest of the station, where the engines, which needed to take on water every several trips, used it quite frequently.

The fireman on the E.P. Ripley fills the tender tank with water at
Frontierland Station in this mid-1990s view.

When it came time for the tank to be refurbished in the late 1990s, a third design was employed. The support framing was changed, apparently to a steel support tower with wood planks surrounding the steel braces, mimicking wooden timber supports. The ladder was also placed more to the rear of the tank. The spout appears to be the same one used since the 1950s.

The water tower as it currently looks today.

If one studies the faux support timbers closely, one will notice that several of the timbers appear to actually "pass through" each other, in an Escher-esque twist of reality.

A bit of Disney "magic" at work. In the tangle of timber, three
"solid" wooden beams can apparently pass through
each other at the exact same point!

The new tower also gained something more than the ability to apparently merge materials on the molecular level. The tank also gained a new herald, seemingly meant to suggest an "old fashioned" take on the herald currently in use on the trains, and the tank was "weathered" to a dark brown hue, complete with "water stains" seeping through the planks (in reality, the tank is lined with a plastic liner).

The new "old" herald of the Disneyland Railroad. Notice the nice weathering,
effectively making this rather new water tank look quite old indeed.

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2008 Steve DeGaetano

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