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It's going to be on Avenida de las Americas just south of Texas Avenue. They recently extended that part of Avenida de las Americas so that it would connect the baseball stadium and the convention center. Sounds like it will be in the median, but I'm not sure.

I remember that train from going to Hermann Park as a kid. To be honest, it never did that much for me. I was always disappointed that you couldn't climb up in it. Riding the miniature train was much more exciting!

They put it there because of the miniature train next door. But it took up prime real estate, right next to the lake. I think they're going to put in a cafe in that spot. Much better use of space.

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  • 1 year later...
It's going to be on Avenida de las Americas just south of Texas Avenue. They recently extended that part of Avenida de las Americas so that it would connect the baseball stadium and the convention center. Sounds like it will be in the median, but I'm not sure.

I remember that train from going to Hermann Park as a kid. To be honest, it never did that much for me. I was always disappointed that you couldn't climb up in it. Riding the miniature train was much more exciting!

They put it there because of the miniature train next door. But it took up prime real estate, right next to the lake. I think they're going to put in a cafe in that spot. Much better use of space.

I know this move was featured in A history or discovery channel episode of Mega Movers (or one of those types of shows) but I can't seem to find it. Does anyone remember seeing it off hand?

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On my daily commute through Hermann Park, I noticed they have begun digging a path for the expansion of the Hermann Park train. They are going to build a train station next to the Metro Rail station so people who ride the Metro Rail can take the Hermann Park train to the zoo, and they are building another station near Miller Outdoor Theater / Museum of Natural Science. I thought that was a cool idea. I guess people often take their kids on that little train and comment on how you can't get off when you see something interesting. Makes sense to me to do something like that. I wonder when the new train service will be running...

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The little Hermann Park train that chugged and tooted its way into children's hearts for half a century will come to the end of the line Jan. 1 as workers make final preparations for the March opening of an expanded multi-purpose miniature railroad.

The new rail line comes with a host of new bells and whistles

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I'm sure glad they are making improvements. Every time I ride with my kids and we go through that tunnel past the BIZARRE display windows I wonder why on earth nobody has required the owners of the concession to spruce things up.

The little Hermann Park train that chugged and tooted its way into children's hearts for half a century will come to the end of the line Jan. 1 as workers make final preparations for the March opening of an expanded multi-purpose miniature railroad.

The new rail line comes with a host of new bells and whistles

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I'm sure glad they are making improvements. Every time I ride with my kids and we go through that tunnel past the BIZARRE display windows I wonder why on earth nobody has required the owners of the concession to spruce things up.

don't think they are sprucing it up but rather dozing it.

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I have not been on the train in years but used to love it when I was a kid. Well, maybe I'll skip work an afternoon this week and go for one more ride. I'm all for the improvements but I just hope it does not become poisioned with corporate garbage like a Starbucks at each station. I cringe at the naming rights plan for each engine and car. It is not as insulting as the Bank of America plackard inside the San Jacinto monument but still I would have prefered for it to stay privately run instead of the city govt. taking money like a hooker and doing the bidding of the corporate sponsor John. The govt. being the middle man in the whole thing is the problem; private it was great since 57.

I guess we will have to wait and see how it turns out. Edited by LarryDallas
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  • 5 weeks later...
  • 2 months later...
Wonder what will become of the existing train and attendant fixtures. They have a certain retro charm.

I agree with dbigtex56. There are several miniature trains sitting under the train graveyard, right by the tracks. I believe one came from the old amusement park close by.

There have been some very positive improvements to the park. You can really tell when you take the train ride.

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There have been some very positive improvements to the park. You can really tell when you take the train ride.

I agree. Hermann Park is quite nice these days... especially the area around the lake and the reflecting pool, which almost has a foreign feel to it. Too bad essentially only one side of the park can be developed -- N, NE side from Mosaic around to Museum of Natural Science -- because it seems like a very attractive place to put more high density residential. It is locked in on the southeast side by MacGregor/Bayou, South by TMC, West by Main St.

Currently it looks like there are 4 condo towers adjacent to the park... Warwick Towers, Mosaic, and two others that I don't know the name of?

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There is the Parklane and the one that's name is it's street address on Hermann drive. I live in the hood next to the park and it's an awesome place to live. The trend seems to be more residential buildings. Since I moved here a year ago, the first tower of Mosaic was completed, as well as the Amalfi (weird name), and numerous townhouses have been built. Oh yeah and there's another apartment building under construction on San Jacinto (I forget the exact cross street). There is also an empty lot near where I live that looks perfect for some sort of residential building.

It already is an awesome neighborhood, and it's only going to get better. I can't wait for the hermann park cafe thing to be finished so I can grab a bite to eat on my way to Rice (I ride my bike through Hermann Park daily).

Edited by Jax
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  • 2 months later...

Does anyone by chance know where the locomotives, and cars came from?

My dad and I were recently talking about this, after hearing that the train had been closed for repair/remodeling. The topic of the origin of these trains, came up when he mentioned that they were probably going to finaly replace these, since they had been around since the time of Playland park.

He said that when Playland Park closed down the trains were moved here, but thought there was already a train here at the time. The Playland train's were just added to the "fleet", but as far as he knew were still in use now. Are these the same train's, and was Playland park thier original home? :huh:

I know they're old as the dirt on the dirt, but I'd never heard that.

The second part of this post,

I'm going to be taking the kids over to the park and zoo etc. next weekend when we have them in town, and I'm seriously wondering now what they've done?!?

Did they change out the old train's for new one's? I sure hope not! I do see from the Hermann Park website though, that they have changed the station from it's old home to some type of temporary structure.

The website has a lot of 404's on it.

What's going on?

Regards,

Rhino

BTW - What happened to the old (Big) locomotive?

Edited by RhinoVP
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I thought the Old 982 Locomotive had been set up outside Minute Maid Park.

It is Susan, and in plain view right on Texas Ave right behind Annunciation Church. Seems so out of place. I remember seeing that locomotive at Hermann Pk since going on field trips in Kindergarten, 1st Grade, and so on. It was one of the most exciting things to see while visiting Hermann Pk. (other than the bat exhibit) :ph34r: Wonder if you can still drink from that Lions mouth water fountain? Ja!

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Some Chron articles about the train/locomotive:

12/24/2007 ("On Jan. 1, after 50 years of operation, Hermann Park's beloved miniature train will chug to a halt. In March, a newer version, with wider cars for adults, will start running, allowing visitors to tour the park as before but also connect to the Museum of Natural Science and the Metrorail.")

12/18/2007 (new train)

6/11/2007 ("Louis Slusky built Playland Park, with its giant Cyclone rollercoaster, as well as Meyer Park Speedway, where hot rods raced on a dirt racetrack. His son, Elliott, has been overseeing Buffalo Rides' management of the train concession . . . . 'I think they started the train, Playland Park and the Speedway all about the same time,' . . . . 'The family really made a contribution to Houston's history.'")

8/26/2005 ("REFUGIO Medina, of Statewide Bucket Truck Services, makes a final check Thursday night before the Southern Pacific Steam Engine 982 leaves its longtime spot in Hermann Park for a location near Minute Maid Park in downtown. Although it's moving just four miles away, the locomotive is traveling a circuitous 20-mile route along the most obstruction-free path. The move, which began at 11:15 p.m., was expected to be done by dawn.")

8/24/2005 ("The train has been at Hermann Park since 1957, when it was donated by Southern Pacific to the Houston Junior Chamber and the city. 'She's been in the park for almost 50 years so I think a lot of people are sad at the thought of her leaving,' . . . . But the move makes way for the continuing revitalization of Hermann Park and 'it's really a coming home for her,' . . . . The new location is adjacent to the renovated Union Station, the city's historic train depot, now part of Minute Maid Park. The engine will also be closer to the former Southern Pacific Grand Central Station and the first railroad in Texas.")

7/9/2005 ("The locomotive, built by Baldwin Locomotive in 1919, will end up just across from Minute Maid Park on an existing green space in the 600 block of Avenida de las Americas at Texas. . . . The locomotive operated throughout Texas until 1957. It has been in Hermann Park since then, donated by Southern Pacific to the Houston Junior Chamber and the city of Houston. . . . The planned move is dubbed Operation Choo Choo II and will be vastly different from the original Operation Choo Choo in 1957, when then-Mayor Pro Tem Louie Welch spearheaded the move from downtown to Hermann. Over four days in 1957, workers leapfrogged panels of track down Fannin as others pushed the 188-ton engine while tractors pulled. Houstonians lined the streets to gawk.")

12/20/1996 (about restoration of locomotive)

12/13/1996 (locomotive rusty and decaying)

7/17/1993 ("The locomotive was retired from service in 1957 and headed for the scrapyard when local rail buffs convinced the city to provide a home for it. The engine, built in 1919, was moved off the regular San Antonio and Aransas Pass rail line at Blodgett Street near downtown and onto a set of temporary tracks. From there, it was moved down Fannin to the park, where it has been on display ever since. . . . The engine was built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works at Eddystone, Pennsylvania and sold for $70,162 to the Southern Pacific Railroad for use in California and the West Coast. In 1922 the engine was sold to the Galveston, Houston and San Antonio Railroad and began a long career in Texas and the southeast states. Designed to haul freight at speeds up to 60 mph, the oil-fired engine underwent numerous modifications and alterations throughout its life. During World War II the country needed every locomotive it could get and the 982 was equipped with heat lines for steam-heated passenger cars. It was also modified to allow for faster speeds and was probably used for hauling troops during the war. After the war, it continued in service and was used mostly on the Houston-to-Shreveport line and was dubbed the 'Rabbit' by its crewmen. By the 1950s, diesel-powered engines were becoming more and more popular and the older steam locomotives were being replaced at a rapid rate. After traveling 3.5 million miles, the engine and others of its kind were shunted to a side yard and scheduled for scrapping. However, train buffs asked the city to step in and preserve one locomotive. They were told no funds were available, but the Jaycees came forward and raised the money needed to move the engine. It took a week to move the 982 to the park, and it was finally dedicated in ceremonies held on June 2, 1957.")

1/18/97 ("The stationmaster announces, 'All aboard the Missouri-Kansas-Texas special to San Antonio, Austin, Dallas, Muskogee, Vinita, Parsons and Kansas City.' The children wave. The stationmaster waves back." (about the train crew))

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The old trains have been gone since January, I think. That big old locomotive went away years ago. You need to get to the park more frequently!

If I could, I would. I'm lucky now if I make it home even one weekend a month.

The last time I was at the park was over two years ago, and while I knew the old locomotive went away some time ago, I just couldn't remmeber the "where to" part.

Some Chron articles about the train/locomotive:

12/24/2007 ("On Jan. 1, after 50 years of operation, Hermann Park's beloved miniature train will chug to a halt. In March, a newer version, with wider cars for adults, will start running, allowing visitors to tour the park as before but also connect to the Museum of Natural Science and the Metrorail.")

12/18/2007 (new train)

6/11/2007 ("Louis Slusky built Playland Park, with its giant Cyclone rollercoaster, as well as Meyer Park Speedway, where hot rods raced on a dirt racetrack. His son, Elliott, has been overseeing Buffalo Rides' management of the train concession . . . . 'I think they started the train, Playland Park and the Speedway all about the same time,' . . . . 'The family really made a contribution to Houston's history.'")

8/26/2005 ("REFUGIO Medina, of Statewide Bucket Truck Services, makes a final check Thursday night before the Southern Pacific Steam Engine 982 leaves its longtime spot in Hermann Park for a location near Minute Maid Park in downtown. Although it's moving just four miles away, the locomotive is traveling a circuitous 20-mile route along the most obstruction-free path. The move, which began at 11:15 p.m., was expected to be done by dawn.")

8/24/2005 ("The train has been at Hermann Park since 1957, when it was donated by Southern Pacific to the Houston Junior Chamber and the city. 'She's been in the park for almost 50 years so I think a lot of people are sad at the thought of her leaving,' . . . . But the move makes way for the continuing revitalization of Hermann Park and 'it's really a coming home for her,' . . . . The new location is adjacent to the renovated Union Station, the city's historic train depot, now part of Minute Maid Park. The engine will also be closer to the former Southern Pacific Grand Central Station and the first railroad in Texas.")

7/9/2005 ("The locomotive, built by Baldwin Locomotive in 1919, will end up just across from Minute Maid Park on an existing green space in the 600 block of Avenida de las Americas at Texas. . . . The locomotive operated throughout Texas until 1957. It has been in Hermann Park since then, donated by Southern Pacific to the Houston Junior Chamber and the city of Houston. . . . The planned move is dubbed Operation Choo Choo II and will be vastly different from the original Operation Choo Choo in 1957, when then-Mayor Pro Tem Louie Welch spearheaded the move from downtown to Hermann. Over four days in 1957, workers leapfrogged panels of track down Fannin as others pushed the 188-ton engine while tractors pulled. Houstonians lined the streets to gawk.")

12/20/1996 (about restoration of locomotive)

12/13/1996 (locomotive rusty and decaying)

7/17/1993 ("The locomotive was retired from service in 1957 and headed for the scrapyard when local rail buffs convinced the city to provide a home for it. The engine, built in 1919, was moved off the regular San Antonio and Aransas Pass rail line at Blodgett Street near downtown and onto a set of temporary tracks. From there, it was moved down Fannin to the park, where it has been on display ever since. . . . The engine was built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works at Eddystone, Pennsylvania and sold for $70,162 to the Southern Pacific Railroad for use in California and the West Coast. In 1922 the engine was sold to the Galveston, Houston and San Antonio Railroad and began a long career in Texas and the southeast states. Designed to haul freight at speeds up to 60 mph, the oil-fired engine underwent numerous modifications and alterations throughout its life. During World War II the country needed every locomotive it could get and the 982 was equipped with heat lines for steam-heated passenger cars. It was also modified to allow for faster speeds and was probably used for hauling troops during the war. After the war, it continued in service and was used mostly on the Houston-to-Shreveport line and was dubbed the 'Rabbit' by its crewmen. By the 1950s, diesel-powered engines were becoming more and more popular and the older steam locomotives were being replaced at a rapid rate. After traveling 3.5 million miles, the engine and others of its kind were shunted to a side yard and scheduled for scrapping. However, train buffs asked the city to step in and preserve one locomotive. They were told no funds were available, but the Jaycees came forward and raised the money needed to move the engine. It took a week to move the 982 to the park, and it was finally dedicated in ceremonies held on June 2, 1957.")

1/18/97 ("The stationmaster announces, 'All aboard the Missouri-Kansas-Texas special to San Antonio, Austin, Dallas, Muskogee, Vinita, Parsons and Kansas City.' The children wave. The stationmaster waves back." (about the train crew))

Thanks tmariar, for posting all that.

Doesn't exactly make my day though.

I don't see replacing the trains as a good thing. I would have much rather seen them lengthen the track, and keep the old one's. These little trains were somewhat of an "icon" to Houston and Hermann park.

Back to my original question though..

These train's, very well could have been from Playland Park then...?

.....and we replace these with the same generic type train's as those at the Boardwalk? :angry:

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I don't see replacing the trains as a good thing. I would have much rather seen them lengthen the track, and keep the old one's. These little trains were somewhat of an "icon" to Houston and Hermann park.

I agree, the old trains were quirky. But for all the times I clocked my head on the top of the thing getting in and out, I am glad to see them gone. Those trains were not sized for grown-ups.

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I agree, the old trains were quirky. But for all the times I clocked my head on the top of the thing getting in and out, I am glad to see them gone. Those trains were not sized for grown-ups.

Especially our Bigmacsupersizefriesandacoke grown-ups

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  • 2 weeks later...
It is Susan, and in plain view right on Texas Ave right behind Annunciation Church. Seems so out of place. I remember seeing that locomotive at Hermann Pk since going on field trips in Kindergarten, 1st Grade, and so on. It was one of the most exciting things to see while visiting Hermann Pk. (other than the bat exhibit) :ph34r: Wonder if you can still drink from that Lions mouth water fountain? Ja!

Vertigo, you are not going to believe this, but tis true. Around 1993, my daughter, who grew up at Houston Zoological Gardens, of course, and I stopped by a flea market type old store in Leonia, Texas. That is a tiny spot south of Centerville. Incredibly there stood the little lion drinking fountain from the Houston Children's Zoo, all chipped and worn. The shop owner confirmed it had indeed come from there. My grown up girl towered over it at 5'1" and couldn't believe how little she had been when drinking from it not so long before.

Remember when the Vampire Bats were the latest thing? Wow, really amazing and highly touted. Then the surprise to learn they'd been caught in Mexico and raised in a guy's garage in Bellaire, just down the street. Those tiny little devil faces lapping up the blood, which originally was outdated goods from the human blood bank, not from cow processors. And did you know, while we are trivalling, the adults never touch water? Only the newborns and they must have some.

I too am sorry to see the little train go as well as the big steam engine. Three generations of us loved riding through the park with the trees almost scraping the sides - keep your arms inside and close!

One last note and I'm sorry, but having spent a lifetime of enjoyment at the old zoo, I was very unhappy with my last visit a couple of years ago. Since being taken over by private sector ownership, I found surly employees, highly restrictive policies and an overall unpleasant experience resulting. There were disturbing things like teenagers on bicycles policing and yelling at patrons and once I had left and found my ride had not come, no one would allow me back in to make a phone call, even with proof I'd paid for admission. I know, but I'm a dinosaur, I have no cell phone.

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I remember back in a past life, a friend of mine used to "drive" those little

trains. This was back around the high school years or so..

But that was one of his part time jobs way back then.. He was the "engineer"

and drove the trains, kept the little heathens from killing themselves, etc..

I don't know if he wore a hat like on the movie "The Jerk" or not..

The extended bill on those caps could be a lifesaver according to

Navin R. Johnson.. :lol: :lol:

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Vertigo, you are not going to believe this, but tis true. Around 1993, my daughter, who grew up at Houston Zoological Gardens, of course, and I stopped by a flea market type old store in Leonia, Texas. That is a tiny spot south of Centerville. Incredibly there stood the little lion drinking fountain from the Houston Children's Zoo, all chipped and worn. The shop owner confirmed it had indeed come from there. My grown up girl towered over it at 5'1" and couldn't believe how little she had been when drinking from it not so long before.

I'm pretty sure there is still one lion (w/open mouth) fountain still at the zoo. Remember it from the 1950's-60's. It's on one of the walkways, in the middle of the zoo, by some small portable food stands, & overhanging tree limbs.

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I'm pretty sure there is still one lion (w/open mouth) fountain still at the zoo. Remember it from the 1950's-60's. It's on one of the walkways, in the middle of the zoo, by some small portable food stands, & overhanging tree limbs.

Yep, there is still one lion fountain there. I think it is near the bear exhibits.

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Yep, there is still one lion fountain there. I think it is near the bear exhibits.

If only some smart designer could recreate and place more all around the zoo? Even make all types of animal open-mouth fountains? Now that would be a good trivia question...Who created that lion head fountain back in the day? :)

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How many of us have pictures at one of these fountains at the zoo? I have one of myself from the 70's.

Got one, of my mom or dad w/sister. Speaking of water features, love the layout of the front entrance ponds. Low, long ponds w/ lilies, and the brownie statue, behind the seals. That low, long brickwork is what I see in new "retro-design" bldgs. now.

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  • 3 years later...

I love that pic! Oh, the memories with my grandmother...I always got one of those mouse balloons, seen in the background. It always made me sad to see all of those miniature trains sitting on the side, not running, in later years. Wonder what happened to them.

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  • 1 month later...

I love that pic! Oh, the memories with my grandmother...I always got one of those mouse balloons, seen in the background. It always made me sad to see all of those miniature trains sitting on the side, not running, in later years. Wonder what happened to them.

I have been wondering the same thing. I was once told that they were sold to a fellow who was going to use them but no one seems to know his name or when he was from.

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  • 4 months later...

Thanks for that video. I watched it 3x. (Also, thanks, Nena E., for that Soldier's Creek link.)

There is still a train, though, right? At least, I rode it two or three years ago with a small relative. As with most things, it seemed like it had become an excuse for a gift shop -- in fact, I remember thinking they had missed a trick not running it directly through the gift shop.

{It's interesting to observe the small relative in a shop: she was a late blessing and has consequently been rather materially spoiled; and so she momentarily covets everything, or anything, or thinks she does. Most recently at the natural science museum, the "Titanic" exhibit with its obligatory tour-specific (and necessarily dreary) gift shop blocking the exit, she declared she would purchase the first thing she saw, a tiny $20 pewter model of the ship. I pointed out that we had souvenirs, the Titanic boarding passes we had been issued at the start with real passenger's names. (She perished; I lived. I was a little surprised that they hadn't separated the tickets so that children might always be handed that of a survivor. She worked it out in her mind that she wouldn't have died, though; she would have climbed up on the iceberg.) We managed to walk out without buying anything, there was a hint of a pout on her face, but it lasted two seconds, and then she visibly relaxed and looked happy to be past the gift shop. The wanting, and the freedom from wanting. Me thinking, you'll be experiencing that for years and years; and then one day you'll stop wanting things altogether, and that will be kind of alarming to interpret.}

What stays in my mind from the display of Titanic artifacts was a couple dozen ceramic gratin dishes, intact, not even a chip. There was a photo next to them of how they looked in situ: nested in perfect array, as though by hand, in the seafloor.

I concur, boarding that Hermann Park train when you were little was a pure thrill, and on the very same day that you would see the lonely gorilla in his air-conditioned house.

Edited by luciaphile
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  • The title was changed to Hermann Park Train History

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