The Disneyland Railroad tested operation over the last few weeks with three trains, and today was open to guests with all three trains running for the first time in more than 10 months since the fire at the New Orleans Square Train Station.
Disneyland Railroad Operating Three Trains
As the sun was setting, we saw the E.P. Ripley (engine #2) with the Holiday Blue train set and Lilly Belle parlor car.
Ernest S. Marsh (engine #4) came along a little bit later with the Retlaw 1 freight train cars,
Last up, we spotted the C.K. Holliday (engine #1) pulling Excursion 3 along the track.
When only two trains are running without the signal system, the wait time between trains is over 10 minutes. With three trains running, the wait is about seven minutes. Prior to the fire, four trains could run at one time, with only four to five minutes between each.
Cast Members confirmed they are testing three train engines and car sets at once. It’s possible we may see four trains testing later.
Disneyland Railroad Station Fire
The New Orleans Square Station fire broke out overnight in late December 2022. Disneyland said in a statement that nobody was injured. Construction walls, scaffolding, and scrim went up around the radio house, which was the only building damaged by the fire. In January 2023, we could see a melted section of the radio house roof.
The above photo shows the radio house (center) as it once looked. It is not used by guests and sits across from where guests exit and board the Disneyland Railroad.
The train station is based on a set from the 1948 Disney film “So Dear To My Heart.” Walt wanted to use the original movie set, but animator Ward Kimball (the namesake of one of the Disneyland Railroad engines) did not want to return it after Walt had given it to him, so a replica was built. When the park opened in 1955, New Orleans Square Station was known as Frontierland Station. It was renamed in September 1966, two months after New Orleans Square opened.
The Disneyland Railroad was also then known as the Santa Fe & Disneyland Railroad, named for the sponsor Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway. The name was changed to the Disneyland Railroad when the sponsorship ended in 1974.
The radio house was used to film the “Two Brothers” section of Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln at Disneyland and The American Adventure at EPCOT. Walt’s opening day dedication could be heard in Morse code coming from the radio house: “To all who come to Disneyland, welcome. Here age relives fond memories of the past and here youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future.”