WOW!! What a day!
Okay, this morning was the dedication of the newest addition to the Disneyland Railroad – Engine #5, the Ward Kimball – AND – the return of the Lilly Belle VIP car that had been off the tracks for about 10 years! So – picture this, the Ward Kimball pulling a single bench-seat passenger car, then the Lilly Belle behind that – a VERY cool train!
Well… as roundhouse crew, we were asked to sit on the passenger car with Matt Ouimet and Mickey Mouse as the train pulled into Frontierland Station! Ward Kimball’s wife Betty, her son, and her grand-son were all there, along with about 100 other cast members for the ceremony. And I got to sit up in front of everyone as one of the people who drive and care for the trains of the Disneyland Railroad! AWESOME morning!
As if THAT was not enough… just before lunch, my trainer decided it was time to start my first engine! So, #2 – the E.P. Ripley (THE train that Walt Disney drove into Main Street Station on July 17, 1955 to kick-off the opening ceremony for Disneyland!) was not on track, so we got to use it to practice firing! So – my very first fire was on that engine!
We talked through the firing process, then I was told to go for it! So, I went through the beginning procedures, lit the wick and tossed it into the firebox… then turned up the atomizer, added fuel a little at a time, then WHOOSH – it lit! WOW! WHAT A FEELING! So then I closed the firebox door, and started adjusting valves… yes, it smoked a little at first, but after a few moments of adjusting valves, the engine was "balanced" and the pressure started building… Just an amazing experience! I fired my first steam locomotive! AND I got to do it on one of Walt’s engines… a very special moment for me.
It would be easy to go on for pages about the entire process, and what each change and process was like to do, but I hope you get the idea of how exciting and magical it was for me today… again… wow…