Visitors to Kings Island who have nostalgic longings for the days of steam on the railroad would enjoy a trip aboard the K.I. & Miami Valley Railroad.
The two locomotives, manufactured by Crown Metal Products Co., in Wyano, Pa., opened with Kings Island in 1972 and designed around the 4-4-0 American styled “General” engine which was built in 1855 and was the subject of The Great Locomotive Chase of the American Civil War. Instead of being coal fired, Kings Island’s engines are propane gas fired but the 400-gallon boilers on each engine provide plenty of capacity to make them real authentic steam-spitting locomotives.
Each of the two engines pulls six coaches, and with both trains filled to capacity, 960 people can be on rail at one time.
Shortly after the trains pull out of the “old” depot on the 36-inch gauge track, they pass over a 65-foot natural ravine on a steel and wood trestle. The track winds through several fields and offers up close views of the Diamondback and Mystic Timbers roller coasters and White Water Canyon river raft ride, with a stop at the 33-acre Soak City Waterpark. After dropping off and picking up guests at Soak City, the trains then loop around through a wooded area and back into the depot. A round trip on the train covers one and a quarter miles of track.
The Blue No. 12 engine, also known as the “Kenny Van Meter”, was originally named Tecumseh after the Shawnee leader while the Green No. 19 engine, also known as the “Lew Brown”, was originally named Simon Kenton after a famous Ohio frontiersman. Both engines feature a propane-fired boiler and have a total weight of 25 tons (engine and tender).
The Kings Island and Miami Valley Railroad has given more than 55 million rides since 1972, the second-most in park history behind the Racer (104 million). Its record year was 1973, when 2,378,749 rides were given.
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