Louisville Zoo gets new trains years after derailment

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by Chelsea Rabideau

WHAS11.com

Posted on January 16, 2013 at 7:28 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jan 16 at 7:41 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Two new trains have arrived at the Louisville Zoo and the hope is to have them running by spring. The news comes three and a half years after the old train derailed, injuring 22 people.

It’s a feature of the zoo that has been sorely missed, the shiny mini-train chugging around a 1.25 mile loop.

"People have fond memories of riding the train when they were young and they want to share that with their families," Zoo marketing manager Kyle Shepherd said.

She says the number one question they get is, “When will the train be back?” You asked, they answered. Two brand new trains have arrived from the same company that provides the trains for Disney’s parks.

Getting them running will take some time. After the horror of the derailment three years ago, this time around, they are not taking any chances. They will be continuously working with the manufacturers and a professional consultant to make sure the train and track are operating correctly and that the conductors are well trained.

The trains themselves have extra security features. “An automatic shut down of the engine when the throttle’s released,” Shepherd said. “There will be an engineer in the front driving the train and there will be a conductor in the back of the train that will have access to the emergency stop as well.”

Between buying the trains and track repairs, which are still underway, the zoo has shelled out more nearly $1.1 million. They are hoping to have the trains ready to roll in a few months.

"Our target is the spring to open the two new trains, but we won't put them on the track until we're ready and have been trained and are fully equipped," Shepherd said.

 

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