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Kings Island keeps memories of old steam trains alive

The following statement was issued Monday by Kings Island:

KINGS ISLAND, Ohio – Many people today have never been on a train. And still fewer people have been on a real steam train. That’s why Kings Island’s recreation of the railroad of the late 1800’s appeals to guests of all ages.

Kings Island’s two locomotives have been at the park since it opened in 1972 and are scale replicas of the famous 1800’s locomotive known as The General, which was the subject of the Great Locomotive Chase of the American Civil War (The General is preserved at the Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History in Kennesaw, Georgia). Although Kings Island’s engines are fired by propane rather than coal, the 400-gallon boilers on each engine provide plenty of capacity to make them real authentic steam-spitting locomotives.

Each of the two engines – Blue No. 12 and Green No. 19 – pulls six coaches and when both trains are filled to capacity, 960 guests can be on rail at one time. More than 5,400 guests may ride on the train each hour.

Soon after the trains pull out of the “old” depot on the 36-inch gauge track, they pass over a 65-foot natural ravine on a steel and wood trestle. The track winds through several fields, stopping at the 33-acre Soak City Waterpark. After dropping off and picking up guests at Soak City, the trains then loop around through the woods and back into the depot. A round trip on the train covers one and a quarter miles of track.

The Kings Island and Miami Valley Railroad has given more than 51 million rides since 1972. Its record year was 1973, when 2,378,749 rides were given.

Kings Island is now open weekends. Daily operation begins May 9.

Kings Island is owned and operated by Cedar Fair Entertainment Company, a publicly traded partnership that is listed for trading on The New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “FUN.” In addition to Kings Island, Cedar Fair owns and operates ten other amusement parks, three outdoor water parks, an indoor water park, and five hotels. Cedar Fair also operates the Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park in Gilroy, Calif. under a management contract.

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