Three trains ran on the Disneyland Railroad for the first time in over 10 months — since the fire at the New Orleans Square train station. The railroad’s signaling system has been fixed and is being tested with multiple trains. During the testing, the Disneyland Railroad has not been opening until late afternoon for the past few days.
Disneyland Railroad Signal Testing
Thursday was the fifth day in a row that the Disneyland Railroad did not open with the rest of the park. On Wednesday, it opened at around 5 p.m.
There are now signs outside the stations informing guests the Disneyland Railroad is closed and will open later in the day.
Each station’s sign matches the land’s theming, like this cartoon-ish Mickey’s Toontown sign.
We could just barely view a signal light at the Mickey’s Toontown station illuminated for the first time since the fire last year, which was in the early morning of December 29, 2022.
Cast Members are testing the signal system with different combinations of trains and engines.
The following three engines and train cars were running simultaneously for testing on Thursday:
- E.P. Ripley (engine #2) with the Holiday Blue train set and Lilly Belle parlor car
- Ernest S. Marsh (engine #4) with the Retlaw 1 freight train cars
- Ward Kimball (engine #5) with the Holiday Green train set
According to Cast Members, the train will continue to open between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. for the next few days as testing continues.
Only two trains will operate for guests this evening. The Ernest S. Marsh was removed from the line before the attraction opened.
When only two trains are running without the signal system, the wait time between trains is 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.”