The Walt Disney World Railroad has been closed for a LONG time as the construction of the new TRON attraction continues in Magic Kingdom.
Recently, we got some updates on just what’s been going on with the railroad while it has been closed, and now we have some more exciting railroad news!
According to Scott Gustin on Twitter, testing of the Walt Disney World Railroad is set to begin today, December 8th. Gustin notes that this testing is part of the refurbishment of the Railroad overall. Gustin also shares that the train itself won’t reopen to guests until the construction of the new TRON attraction allows.
UPDATE: According to the Orlando Sentinel, Disney officials have confirmed that they plan to start using their railroad trains along “select segments of the new track.”
While it still might be a while before fans can board the railroad again, it is exciting to hear that some testing will take place soon as part of the overall refurbishment.
The Orlando Sentinel has shared that Cast Members have used the extended downtime the railroad has had to do “repairs, maintenance and refurbishment.” Greg Kelsaris, a project manager in Disney World’s facility asset management department shared, “We’re doing a lot of things that either haven’t been done since Walt Disney World opened, or just kind of really revolutionary things.”
Refurbishments have been done from the rails to the roofs. Kelsaris shared that this is the first time they’ve really taken things apart when it comes to the railroad to see what they can improve, restore, or otherwise refurbish.
Some of the things that are being updated are the wooden railroad ties. These wooden ties are being replaced with composite ties. Kelsaris said that the wooden ties had about a 3-5 year life span, but the composites will have a life span of about 25 years.
The path for the Walt Disney World Railroad has also had some minor changes. Kelsaris noted that the path has moved a few inches up and down, or left and right, here and there. Kelsairs said, “What we’re looking to test is basically the elevation of the track to make sure the grading is correct … and kind of do all the adjustments that we’ll need to do before we open to guests again.”
But the entire railroad track isn’t ready for testing yet. The Walter E. Disney locomotive is the one that is set to be used for testing. The engine for this train is the one that actually recently underwent some refurbishment.
Disney shared an update about the railroad not too long ago and noted that the Number 1 Engine on the train has been completely refurbished while the railroad has been down.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, the next engine that will be up for refurbishment will be the Roy O. Disney locomotive, followed by the Roger E. Broggie.
Kelsaris shared, “That kind of rebuild process hasn’t really been done since park opening…It’s really incredible to return them to their glory and, honestly, improve some things on them.” According to Kelsaris, they really have taken their time to go through all of the parts on the train to see if they can improve or need to replace things.
Though major changes aren’t expected to result from the Railroad testing, it will give them the chance to get some “run time” on these trains. Kelsaris said, “It’s just nice to kind of get the wheels turning.”
An official opening date for the railroad has not yet been announced. An opening date also has not been announced for the TRON attraction. We’ll be sure to keep an eye out for more updates and let you know what we find!
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