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The Challenger Departs! by zee-doktor-is-in The Challenger Departs! by zee-doktor-is-in
:iconzee-doktor-is-in:

The Challenger Departs! by zee-doktor-is-in

Not a sight you see everyday anymore. The Kiddieland LTD, which was the Train ride at Kiddieland in Melrose Park, IL, was saved and has been preserved for future generations at Hesston in Indiana. I'm very glad to see such icons of my early childhood still running to this day. Here's some HD video as well: www.youtube.com/watch?v=0WixFx… and www.youtube.com/watch?v=dGex4T…

Kiddieland was a very traditional amusement park that opened in 1929, and closed on September 27, 2009. It was then demolished in 2010 to make way for a new Costco store and many of its equipment and rides sold off at auction. The Coal-fired, 14" Gauge Hudson-Class steamer in the photo, built in 1939, was purchased by the Hesston Steam Museum along with its coaches, and is still operational. The Northern-type was purchased by a private owner, but is on the grounds awaiting a full restoration as the boiler is no longer functional.

Even despite its small size, the Challenger still has all the charms of its full-size brethren, and is a rather impressive sight to watch as well as ride. It also even has many of the (at the time) modern implementations of steam locomotive technology, including a mechanical lubricator, water injector system, superheaters, and air compressor.

I highly recommend paying a visit to Hesston. All their train rides take a winding path through lush forest preserves, their departures are frequent, and the rides are short but very enjoyable. They also own, and are in the process of restoring, all of the 2-foot gauge trains from the Brookfield Zoo, and a beautiful Shay.
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:iconstormsirens2:
stormsirens2 Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2015
I'd love to see the blueprint of this!
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:iconzee-doktor-is-in:
zee-doktor-is-in Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2015  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
As would I! I'd probably build one of my own, but I am unsure of the ststus of Wagner Locomotive Works' archives.
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:iconrockyrailroad578:
Rockyrailroad578 Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
I've seen footage of this little fella!
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:iconrailroadbrony:
RailroadBrony Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2014  Hobbyist Artist
Sad that a historic park that was open to anyone was demolished to make way for a stupid store that not everyone can use.
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:iconzee-doktor-is-in:
zee-doktor-is-in Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2014  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Would you believe that their Diesel locos and trainset are STILL missing? Nobody knows where they went, or where they may be today. And the darn place closed down due to family conflict of interest...my guess is the most recent generation ended up being part of that "swag/yolo" mentality and wanted nothing to do with it. :/

I roe on these guys as a kid, and I wanted so much to get a job as an engineer for them. I can still do that now if I sign up for it eventually, but it's just not the same. Did you know they didn't even blow down their boilers or maintain the equipment in the off season? When the equipment was brought into the museum, we found they were operating with a dead glass. That's really dangerous!
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:iconstarfox2o12:
Starfox2o12 Featured By Owner May 5, 2014
If I remember correctly, it was the most recent family generation that wanted to save the park, but the older generation, the mother and an older brother, that owned the property and decided to sell it.

I used to ride on the diesels and streamlined cars. Man do I miss that place.
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:iconzee-doktor-is-in:
zee-doktor-is-in Featured By Owner May 7, 2014  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Well that wrecks a lot of logic. Why would the older generation want to get rid of it?
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:iconstarfox2o12:
Starfox2o12 Featured By Owner May 7, 2014
Money, greed, they were getting more money from selling the land than they would keeping Kiddieland open one more season. As sad as it is, Kiddieland was losing money the past several seasons. The older generation owned the property while the newer generation owned the actual park. The older generation was losing money, paying high taxes, and just wanted to sell the land. Too bad the older generation didn't sell to the younger generation.
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:iconzee-doktor-is-in:
zee-doktor-is-in Featured By Owner May 7, 2014  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
well, that's piss.
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:iconstarfox2o12:
Starfox2o12 Featured By Owner May 7, 2014
Yeah, I know.
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:iconrailroadbrony:
RailroadBrony Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2014  Hobbyist Artist
Now that is amazing! They could have had a major disaster! As for the "swag/yolo" mentality; Remember, I don't like pickles on my burgers.
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:iconzee-doktor-is-in:
zee-doktor-is-in Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2014  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Lol, Yeah. The same went for the old Brookfield Zoo #242. The glass was totally dead and everything was just rotting away in a shed in some forest preserve when the museum acquired it. I had to help replace the bearings in her trailing truck over the winter, fun times.

If you're ever in the area, you should come check us out. We got a large variety of equipment and the museum operates four different gauges simultaneously-- including other steam powered equipment like a sawmill, crane, stationary engines, etc. We also have a soda fountain that serves egg creams an ice cream phosphates. ;)
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:iconrailroadbrony:
RailroadBrony Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2014  Hobbyist Artist
Where are you located? I'm in central Wisconsin, around Lake Winnebago, so I might get out there in a few years.
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:iconzee-doktor-is-in:
zee-doktor-is-in Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2014  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
I'm located in Chicago, but the museum is in Indiana-- near New Buffalo!
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:iconrailroadbrony:
RailroadBrony Featured By Owner May 1, 2014  Hobbyist Artist
Ok, Probably in the next few years.
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:iconzee-doktor-is-in:
zee-doktor-is-in Featured By Owner May 3, 2014  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
lmao
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:iconrailroadbrony:
RailroadBrony Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2014  Hobbyist Artist
The museum, I mean.
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:icontaionafan369:
TaionaFan369 Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
The Northern-type is back
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:iconzee-doktor-is-in:
zee-doktor-is-in Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2014  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
I did see some video on youtube of the museum operating a Kiddieland double-header with the Northern-type a year or so ago, but she hasn't left the shops at all since I started going. :P
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:icontaionafan369:
TaionaFan369 Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
hope that luck changes
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:iconzee-doktor-is-in:
zee-doktor-is-in Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2014  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Same. We got a lot of projects going on in the shop as well, so it might just not be as important as other things.
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:iconmusksnipe:
musksnipe Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
That is a nice little "toy".
Coal fired. Does the engineer use a little shovel or does he toss chunks of coal in? :D
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:iconzee-doktor-is-in:
zee-doktor-is-in Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2013  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Definitely a little shovel, It's only about 18" long and has the surface area of a medium-sized breakfast pancake! ;) The loco holds true to the Hudson-type dimensions though, the firebox is about as deep as your whole arm, thanks to those trailing trucks.
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:iconmusksnipe:
musksnipe Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Wow. I was sort of joking about the shovel. :)
That's pretty cool.
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:iconzee-doktor-is-in:
zee-doktor-is-in Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2013  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
:D 
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:iconstormsirens2:
stormsirens2 Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2013
Man Thats A Huge Headlight
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:iconzee-doktor-is-in:
zee-doktor-is-in Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2013  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
It is, isn't it? I'm certain it's either from a real locomotive, or some sort of federal regulations required a certain size for safety reasons back when the loco was built in 1939. Then again, it is a children's amusement park ride and the exaggerated proportion no doubt gave it much charm to the kids!
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:icondarthmaul90:
darthmaul90 Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer

Oh my God!  I remember this from when I was a little kid!  My uncle used to drive this engine every other Saturday!  I've been wondering (along with my uncle and father) whatever happened to this engine!  Glad to see it still survives!  I'll be sure to tell my father and uncle!

 

:w00t:

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:iconzee-doktor-is-in:
zee-doktor-is-in Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2013  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Thank you. :) Yep, it's still working there, and I rode it. The scenery is quite a nice change as well. They're also extremely low on volunteers, so I am considering becoming a volunteer. Maybe someday I'll get to be in the engineer's seat! ;)
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:iconwhippetwild:
WhippetWild Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I looks amazingly. I would liked to have a go on it, :) but I have not been to those Union states yet. I have visited a few on the east coast mainly and Ohio
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:iconzee-doktor-is-in:
zee-doktor-is-in Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2013  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Thanks! It's definitely worth it!
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:iconlastzonetrooper:
LastZoneTrooper Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
I miss that train.  When i was little, i was scared of roller coasters and most rides that involved a height greater than 20 ft. but this locomotive was the one thing that i would repeatedly ride  around the whole park, and i would continually drag my parents back into the line just to ride the train again. the picture of this memorable train has made my day and i thank you for that. nice angle, and perfect quality. very, very nice.

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:iconzee-doktor-is-in:
zee-doktor-is-in Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2013  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
thank you very much, You're most welcome, now you can come back and ride it over and over again as an adult at the museum. :D
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Submitted on
October 2, 2013
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Sep 29, 2013, 3:19:20 PM
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