One of the original Disneyland Resort steam engines, the E.P. Ripley, has returned to service along the tracks of the Disneyland Railroad, following a five-year restoration project.
The engine is named after Edward Payson Ripley, one of the original founders of the Atchison and Topeka Railroad (later the Santa Fe Railroad) which was established in 1859. Walt Disney, himself, proudly rode aboard the E.P. Ripley during the 1955 opening of Disneyland.
Walt Disney can be seen riding along the E.P. Ripley with Mickey Mouse in photos from around the 1955 opening of Disneyland. Walt’s lifelong love of trains is well-documented, but what Disney fans may not know is that the E.P. Ripley is modeled after steam engines from the famed Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad, the very rail line Walt Disney rode to Hollywood for a fresh start in 1923.
The 4-4-0 locomotive was built for Walt Disney Studios in 1954 and went into service at Disneyland on opening day, July 17, 1955. It operates as steam locomotive #2 along the Disneyland Railroad.
The engine was taken off the track about five years ago for repairs, but ultimately the decision was made to fully restore the historic engine during the Covid-19 pandemic. A full restoration project began in the summer of 2021. Today, March 6, 2023, the E.P. Ripley has returned to train service at Disneyland Park.
The restoration process required the team to replicate some of the engine’s original components, including a boiler, headlamp, and bell, since they are no longer being manufactured. The engine has been painted following its mechanical restoration and refurbishment, but guests are sure to see the steam or hear the sounds of the whistle before seeing its fresh coats of red, green, and gold.