The Challenger Departs! by zee-doktor-is-in
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.
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!
I used to ride on the diesels and streamlined cars. Man do I miss that place.
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.
Coal fired. Does the engineer use a little shovel or does he toss chunks of coal in?
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!