The wail of the train whistles, the sound of wheels and axles as they churn (chugga-chugga, chugga-chugga), and of course the steam, are all woven into the fabric of the sights and sounds of Kings Island.
The Kings Island & Miami Valley Railroad opened with the park in 1972 and has given 56.9 million rides – second most in park history behind the Racer (106.4 million). Visitors to Kings Island with nostalgic longings for the days of steam on the railroad always enjoy a trip aboard this ride.
Here are 11 things you may not know about the Kings Island & Miami Valley Railroad:
- The locomotives and cars were designed by Crown Metal Products of Wyano, Pennsylvania. Upon delivery to Kings Island in 1971, the locomotives were larger than what park officials had been expecting.
- The locomotives, numbered #12 and #19, are designed around the 4-4-0 American styled “General” engine which was built in 1855 and the subject of The Great Locomotive Chase of the American Civil War.
- The #12 locomotive (Blue), also known as the “Kenny Van Meter” was originally named Tecumseh after the Shawnee leader while the #19 engine (Green), also known as the “Lew Brown” was originally named Simon Kenton after a famous Ohio frontiersman.
- The tender water capacity is approximately 1200 gallons, and generally the rate of usage is less than 300 gallons per hour.
- The dimensions on the locomotives are close to what you would find on such an engine of narrow gauge design of the later 19th century. The cylinders are 10” by 16”, with 42” drivers.
- Each train’s engine and six coaches are as long as the new Orion roller coaster’s first drop (300 feet), and with both trains filled to capacity, 960 guests can be on rail at one time.
- The engine weight of approximately 50,000 lbs. combined with a boiler pressure of 185 psi gives a starting tractive effort of slightly more than 5,000 lbs.
- The engines are propane fired rather than coal, and this keeps the “soot and cinders” off the passengers. While not completely keeping with the period of the train, for the work they’re used for, it is more practical and still makes them authentic steam-spitting locomotives.
- The boilers are of the welded type, including the stay-bolts, and they are rated at slightly under 30 horsepower.
- Dan Patrick, currently the host of NBC’s “The Dan Patrick Show” and actress Vicki Lewis, who made it famous on “NewsRadio,” “How I Met Your Mother,” “Rugrats,” “Seinfeld” and “Finding Nemo,” could be found as teenagers working on the K.I. & Miami Valley Railroad.
- The age between the oldest and the youngest engineer is almost half a century, but all of them work for pretty much the same reason – a genuine love for the railroad and steam power.
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