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Ex-Ward Kimball


N&S Coal Company No.55
Wheels: 2-4-4T
Builder: Davenport Locomotive Works
Build Date:  1927
Empty Weight: 25 Tons
Weight on Drivers: 13.5 Tons
Driver Diameter: 28"
Tractive Effort: 10,580
Operating Pressure: 180 lbs
Cylinders: 11x16
Fuel: Oil


   In 1999, the CP&LE acquired its latest locomotive, a 2-4-4T. As yet unused and un-named, it is stored in the CP&LE enginehouse for possible future use. It started as a Davenport 0-4-0T (construction number 2081) which was built in July 1927 for the N&S Coal Company in Pittsburg, Kansas. At an unknown date, the engine was sold to the Mackie Clemens Fuel Company in Mulberry, Kansas, who numbered the engine #55. Since Mulberry is a very small village only eight miles from Pittsburg, it is likely that Mulberry had a Pittsburg mailing address in 1927 and the whole N&S company was sold to Mackie Clemens, so the engine probably never moved from its original home. In 1977, the engine was acquired by the Keystone Light Railway Company in Hermanie, Pennsylvania, and it was restored as a 2-4-4T for Marriott's Great America amusement park in Gurnee, Illinois. Keystone's work was normally done at Harliss Industries in Irwin, PA, but it is possible that at least some of the work on this engine was done at Buckeye Boiler on East First Street in Dayton, Ohio, where the engine is believed to have been seen indoors through dirty windows in the mid 1970s. Buckeye Boiler was associated with International Amusement, a firm formed when George Roose’s son Bill acquired National Amusement Device in Dayton about the time George Roose retired from Cedar Point (around 1975).

   The engine was delivered to Great America in Gurnee in 1980, but Marriott stored it behind their enginehouse still in its shipping crate and never used it. Around 1983, it was offered for sale for $90,000, but it apparently did not sell as it was still on the property when the park was sold to Six Flags in May 1984. By 1991, the engine had been sent to Shop Services and was restored for Bill Norred who was planning a Victorian village in southern California. In 1996 (already having two other engines), Mr. Norred traded the engine to Disney for five of the original (1955) Disneyland closed coaches which had been out of service for nearly twenty years. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Norred passed away before having the chance to build his dream. The Davenport proved too big for the Disneyland Railroad, and was sent to Florida to be used on the Walt Disney World Railroad. There, it was named the "Ward Kimball" after the famous animator who had developed Jiminy Cricket. It was tested for a brief period of time beginning on March 1, 1997, but proved too small for regular use with the larger trains and grades in Orlando. It was then placed on display for a while at Epcot before being traded to Cedar Point for the CP&LE's original engine "Maud L." in 1999.

   This engine is 30'-5" long, weighs 48,439 lbs. in working order, has a 42" boiler with 165 PSI boiler pressure, 11" x 16" cylinders, 28" drive wheels, and 18" pilot wheels. The tank holds 675 gallons of water, and at Walt Disney World carried 300 gallons of fuel oil. As a footnote, a sister Mackie Clemens Davenport 0-4-0 was rebuilt as a diesel for Opryland in Nashville and named Elizabeth, leading to a misunderstanding that the engine at Cedar Point was named Elizabeth.

The Locomotive now resides at Knott's Berry Farm getting ready to return to operable service.

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2006, John Marhesic, All Rights Reserved. version2.0
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