Disneyland Railroad gets busier

Fans of the Disneyland Railroad will be happy to know that the Lilly Belle, Walt’s Private Car, is back on the tracks after a 7-year abense and complete overhaul. Pictures of the restored interior are on LaughingPlace.com. You’ll have to check them out there, since The Lilly Belle is not available to the general public for rides. Guests must have special tickets obtained through Guest Relations to experience Walt’s Private Car.

Interesting Fact, Most claim that The Lilly Belle is named after Walt’s wife, Lillian. That’s only partially true. In fact, the Lilly Belle is named after Walt’s first model train engine, which was in fact named in honor of Walt’s wife.

Even more news this week is the debut of a 103 year old engine on the Disneyland railway. The Ward Kimball is a completely restored steam engine converted to run on diesel instead of wood. Ward Kimball was one of the nine old men of Disney animation and a train afficianado. The legend is that he turned Walt on to the idea of building a backyard train set. That trainset became the spark for the idea that eventually grew into Disneyland.

Now to complete the trifecta we need to return the Retlaw Passenger cars to the Disneyland tracks. The only problem with that is they are currently in use up in San Luis Obispo. If I recall, I think they were traded to get the engine that became the Ward Kimball.

Preston is also co-author on "Welcome Aboard the Disneyland Railroad!" a must have book for any fan of the Disneyland Railroad.

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5 thoughts on “Disneyland Railroad gets busier

  1. Boing Boing

    Disneyland reopens Walt’s private railroad car

    Disneyland has restored Walt Disney’s private car on his favorite of the steam trains at the Park, and while it’s not open to casual visitors, guests can apply for special passes to tour it. Link, Link to explanatory text (via The Disney Blog)…

  2. Boing Boing

    Disneyland reopens Walt’s private railroad car

    Disneyland has restored Walt Disney’s private car on his favorite of the steam trains at the Park, and while it’s not open to casual visitors, guests can apply for special passes to tour it. Link, Link to explanatory text (via The Disney Blog) Update:…

  3. Ewenome

    Splitting hairs (aka some corrections to your story) …

    I don’t think that you can call the Lilly Belle “Walt’s Private Car” when its life as a private VIP coach didn’t exist until about 10 years after Walt’s death. While Walt may have at one point ridden in the observation car formerly known as the No. 106 Grand Canyon, he never rode in the “Lilly Belle” itself and it wasn’t a private car during that time.

    The Ward Kimball did not make its “debut … on the Disneyland railway” this week. It actually entered service June 25, 2005. It was officially dedicated this week in an exclusive pre-park opening event, along with the re-dedication of the Lilly Belle.

    The restoration of the Ward Kimball was from coal to diesel oil, not wood to diesel oil.

    The Retlaw cars in San Luis Obispo were traded for a different engine that was originally going to be the Ward Kimball but it was too big for Disneyland and Walt Disney World didn’t have any need for it. THAT engine was traded to Cedar Point for the Maud L., which is the current Ward Kimball at Disneyland.

    And while Preston contributed illustrations to “Welcome Aboard the Disneyland Railroad,” it was actually authored by Steve DeGaetano solely.

    If you’d like to know more about Disney Railroads, I’d suggest checking out Steve Burns’ Disney Railroads Discussion Boards at http://www.burnsland.com/disneyrailroads/ There’s even a thread in the Disneyland section with pictures and first-hand accounts from this week’s dedication ceremony.

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