The Worlds of Fun Railroad has been out of commission this season. The sweet sound of choo-chooing around the park has been missed by all. Luckily, that sound will be returning soon, but before we get into that, here’s some background info.
An Update on Eli
Making its introduction during our inaugural year in 1973, The Worlds of Fun Railroad is a cherished piece of park history and an amusement park icon. To keep Eli chugging, the train’s boiler needed to undergo some maintenance during the 2018-19 offseason. Unfortunately, we ran into some difficulties. Eli and its boiler ended up needing more work than we originally thought.
Eli is a true steam engine, almost identical to the original 4-4-0 of the 1800’s. Because it uses turn-of-the-century machinery and replicated technology from classic locomotives, it requires a niche engineer and the reproduction of original parts. While we expect Eli to make a return to the park, it will be in the shop for an extended period of time. We know this isn’t ideal, but we have decided not to rush its return to ensure its longevity for future parkgoers.
The exterior shell of Eli’s cabin is currently being stored on property and work is underway. We do not have a firm timeline for Eli’s return at the moment, but our team is hopeful for its return in 2021.
A Hero Emerges - Levi
We will be introducing another classic steam engine to take its place until Eli returns. Operating under the name of “Levi,” the new steam engine will be making its way from Adair, Oklahoma to Kansas City. While we are hoping to have it on the tracks at some point during WinterFest, it is more likely that Levi will make his debut next spring. It's still needing some TLC.
Levi originally debuted as one of two trains on the Old Dominion Line train at our sister park Kings Dominion in Virginia and ran until 1994. It was most recently at Dry Gultch USA. The two trains are very similar, both being manufactured by Crown Metal Products and both bearing the 4-4-0 wheel arrangement.
Credit: Dry Gultch USA - Twitter
While we will certainly miss Eli and patiently await his return, we are very happy to extend the life of a classic locomotive like Levi and can’t wait to welcome him to The Worlds of Fun Railroad.