Early Days of the Disneyland Railroad

Walt loved trains! He knew he had to have one in the park, so when plans were drawn, it was included from the beginning. Its first test run was on July 10, 1955, just days before the park opening.

Original Main Street Station

The route was set up a little differently back then. Plans were made for two trains to take guests on a “grand circle tour of the Magic Kingdom.” But unlike today, each train stopped at only one station. A passenger train pulled by the E.P. Ripley only stopped at the Main Street Station, while a freight train pulled by the C.K. Holliday only stopped at the Frontierland Station (now the New Orleans Station). The track split at those 2 stations so the trains could pass each other. This lasted about a year before the trains began stopping at both stations. The Frontierland Station was rebuilt in 1962 to make room for New Orleans Square and the second track was removed. The Main Street Station still has the original 2 sets of tracks though.

Original Frontierland Station

Another interesting fact is that on opening day, one of the trains didn’t have any seats. The freight train pulled by the C.K. Holliday was made up of cattle cars. When Ward Kimball found out Walt had no intention of putting seats in the car, he thought Walt was crazy. Kimball told him it was dangerous, but Walt wanted people to feel like cattle in a real cattle car. With fewer people in the park back then, I’m sure it was a little more roomy and probably kinda fun. Can you imagine how many people would try to squish into each car if it still didn’t have seats though? It would be packed!! Seats were eventually added around 1958 when the Grand Canyon Diorama was built.

Artwork on Display in The Disney Gallery, Disneyland

2 thoughts on “Early Days of the Disneyland Railroad”

  1. I was at Disney world when a train derailed. Got to walk back from Rafiki’s Planet Watch. There wasn’t anything worthwhile to look at.

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