Walt Disney’s affection for trains is well documented, which is what makes the long-awaited return of the E.P. Ripley — one of the original steam engines on the Disneyland Railroad — a source of celebration for cast and guests alike.
The train was named after Edward Payson Ripley, one of the original founders of the Atchison and Topeka Railroad (later the Santa Fe Railroad, established in 1859). The steam engine was taken off track several years ago for repairs, followed by a full restoration project that began in summer 2021. On March 6, it will again be ready to take guests on a grand circle tour of Disneyland park.
The restoration process required the team to replicate the original boiler, the headlamp and bell to bring the locomotive back to its original splendor. “We replicated some of the original parts, since they aren’t manufactured anymore,” said Tarun Khanna, lead mechanical engineer. “Everything is mechanical and runs like a steam engine from the past, from the boiler all the way down to the whistle.”
Walt can be seen riding on the E.P. Ripley in photos around the time of the park’s 1955 opening, so the steam engine’s return as we continue the Disney100 Celebration at Disneyland Resort is especially meaningful.
“Many of us here at the Disneyland Railroad deeply appreciate that we get to operate an attraction that has so much historic significance to the park and personal significance to so many of our guests,” said Katie Wildrick (above), a core lead and trainer.
Correction: EP Ripley was not an original founder. He was, however, the longest serving president of ATSF from 1896-1920.
What a great restoration! The podcast Ink & Paint recently discussed Walt’s love if trains, so it’s great to read his passion lives on. 🚂