Walt Disney World Railroad to Begin Testing Adjusted Tracks Soon


The Walt Disney World Railroad at Magic Kingdom has been closed for three years now due to the construction of TRON Lightcycle / Run. While the attraction won’t be returning to service any time soon, Dewayne Bevil with Orlando Sentinel reports that we’ll be hearing some sign of life at the tracks as testing begins.

Disney has taken advantage of the downtime to refurbish the stations, tracks, and trains themselves. The locomotives are over 90 years old and other elements of the attraction haven’t been touched since it opened in 1971. It’s the refurbished Engine 1, the Walter E. Disney — revealed during Destination D23 last month — that will be used for testing.

The Lilly Belle was refurbished in 2010, so the Roy O. Disney and Roger E. Broggie will be refurbished next.

“That kind of rebuild process hasn’t really been done since park opening,” said Greg Kelsaris, a project planner with the facility asset management department at Walt Disney World. “It’s really incredible to return them to their glory and, honestly, improve some things on them. We really took the time to go through each part and say, ‘Hey, should we improve this? Is it good where it is? Should we replace it?’”

Earlier this year, we saw that wooden railroad ties were being replaced with composite ties. The wooden ties had a three to five-year life span, according to Kelsaris, while composite ties can last 25 years.

“We’re doing a lot of things that either haven’t been done since Walt Disney World opened, or just kind of really revolutionary things,” Kelsaris said. “It was the first time that we actually took everything apart for the railroad. And we’re able to say, ‘OK, we have everything down to the bare bones. What can we do to either improve the guest experience with the ride, or bring it back to where it was, kind of, in the ‘70s when it first started?’”

A new section of track will be laid beneath TRON Lightcycle / Run, but other areas have seen the path shift by a few inches.

“What we’re looking to test is basically the elevation of the track to make sure the grading is correct … and kind of do all the adjustments that we’ll need to do before we open to guests again,” Kelsaris said.

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