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Fort Worth Miniature Railroad 6/19/2008

plus getting to Fort Worth

by Chris Guenzler

This year's National Railroad Historical Society National Convention was being held in Fort Worth, Texas in mid June. With it starting before my work year was completed I could only choose trips that would take place after June 18th. The good news was that everything planned at the convention before I get there I had already done. I would fly to Fort Worth on the evening of the 18th and meet Chris Parker there. My plan was to do the BNSF Dispatching Center on June 19th and the Quanah Zephyr Trip on June 21st. I planned some other things on June 21st, a trip to the Oklahoma Railroad Museum on the 20th and the Austin Steam Association on the 22rd plus a few more things. We would both fly home on June 23rd

The Trip to Fort Worth 6/18/2008

On my Day 4900 of my sobriety and after getting my excellent end of the year evaluation, I left McFadden Intermediate School for my final time as an employee of that school and drove home to finish packing. I could not find my memory stick reader for the camera but since Steve Grande arrived early enough to pick me up to take me to the Santa Ana Train Station we made a quick trip to Radio Shack to pick one up for me to use on this trip. Steve dropped me off with plenty of time to get to Track 1 to wait for my Surfliner to Los Angeles Union Station.

Next stop LAX 6/18/2008

Surfliner 775 pulled into Santa Ana and I boarded the Coach/Cafe car for the trip to LAUPT. I put on the new DVD footage of my Millionth Amtrak Mile which I have to edit to add to last year's overall Millionth Rail Mile DVD. The train took a fifteen minute hit waiting to get onto the BNSF Railroads at Fullerton. Arrival time at LAUPT was 2:55 PM {2:40 PM} and I hustled off to the Flyaway Bus Kiosk to get a round trip ticket to LAX and made the 3 PM Bus for the airport. Thirty minutes later, I stepped off at Terminal 4 and entered a long security line. Twenty minutes later as I picked up my bags from the X-ray machine, the TSA Agent said "You must be a movie star!" I just smiled and walked away heading to Gate 47A to wait for Flight 2468 to Fort Worth. I watched the rest of the new DVD footage before my gate got changed to 49A.

American Airlines Flight 2468 6/18/2008-6/19/2008

The plane got later and later but not as bad the plane going to Kona, Hawaii that was to have left at 3:15 PM but now had a 9:30 PM departure. A lot of mad vacationers. We finally boarded our plane at 7:20 PM and took off at 7:58 PM {7:00 PM}. They showed a movie "The Bucket List" which was very well done. I left Day 4900 at Midnight and at 12:31 AM on June 19th we landed at Dallas Fort Worth Airport. Chris Parker was waiting out in front of Terminal 2 and after we escaped the airport we drove to the Best Western DWF Inn for the rest of that night.

Chris and I got up at 6:30 AM and after a Continental Breakfast, we headed west towards Fort Worth. The sky was wild with lightning flashes, pouring rain and loud clasping thunder as we made our way to Fort Worth. We parked at the Fort Worth Transportation Center for three dollars and walked three blocks to the Hilton Hotel, the NRHS Convention Hotel to pick up our convention trip tickets and our other stuff. We walked back to the car to store our new materials. Chris P. headed back to the Hilton to wait for the 9 AM BNSF Dispatching Center Tour while I headed across the street to the Fort Worth Transportation Center where I bought a round trip Trinidad Rail Express ticket for five dollars and went outside to wait for my train.

Trinity Rail Express 2916/2915 6/19/2008

The train pulled into the Fort Worth Transportation Center and I boarded the Cab Car. We left by passing through the Tinsdall Storage building and before Richland Hills after some signal problems we met a westbound TRE Train as lightning flashed across a very dark morning sky. Before we reached Hurst/Bell we met the four RDC's that will be used on a NRHS Excursion this morning. The downtown Dallas Skyline could be seen before we reached Centerport/DWF Airport station. We passed another TRE train before we passed the TRE Shops prior to arriving into our next station stop of West Irving where another TRE train was in the station. Our next station stop was the South Irving Transportation Center. We passed through a Quiet Zone on the way to the stop at Medical/Market where a Centerport TRE Train was in the station. The Special Event Victory Station was next where the Dallas Stars play. It was then onto the last station at Dallas Union Station where I exited for a few pictures.

After watching four freight trains from three different railroads plus eight DART trains we left Dallas for Fort Worth. Construction of future light rail lines could be seen.

Also new was the Computer Screens that show weather, route and timetables of TRE Trains. On the way back to Fort Worth I relaxed and listened to Jethro Tull "This Was" the 40Th Anniversary as I watched the views on this dark morning. At Centerport the NRHS RDC Train was there and I saw a few people I knew photographing our train.

Before Fort Worth we stopped to let this eastbound TRE Train pass on its way to Dallas. All too soon we were back at the Fort Worth Transportation Center and I detrained from the Trinity Rail Express.

One more TRE picture before I left the platform.

Trolley 25 is on display at the Fort Worth Transportation Center. I returned to the rental car and wrote most of this up to this point as I waited for Chris Parker to return from the BNSF Dispatching Center. Just before Noon Chris returned and we drove to Forest Park in search of the train for our next ride.

Fort Worth Miniature Railroad 6/19/2008

We drove through Forest Park and found the train out on its morning inspection run.

A Brief History of the Fort Worth Miniature Railroad

In 1955, W. H. "Bill" Hames decided to add a miniature railroad to the already existing rides in Forest Park. What was interesting was there was already a train in the park running over a quarter of a mile route. They made a proposal to the Fort Worth Park Board at June 28, 1956 to run their train through Forest and Trinity Parks. The route of their train would be between four or five miles long. A feasibility study was made by the Fort Worth Park Department. In November of 1958 the Forest Park Miniature Railroad was approved and construction began in 1958-1959. The ride is about five miles in length from the Forest Park Depot to the Duck Pond in Trinity Park and back. The train crosses six bridges including a 350 foot girder bridge and a 171 foot truss bridge, both crossing the Clear Fork of the Trinity River. Another bridge of sixty feet crosses the Trinity River Creek. The route passes beneath the tracks of the Fort Worth and Western Railroad which the Grapevine Vintage Railroad runs their Trinity River Run trips.

Two views of Engine 106.

The Clear Fork of the Trinity River.

The train coming and going.

The train crossing the Clear Fork of the Trinity River. We drove to the Forest Park Station near the Fort Worth Zoo and parked. We checked in and were given tickets for our ride.

The train at the Forest Park Station.

Another view of our Engine 106.

The rear of our train where Chris and I would ride facing backwards.

Leaving the Forest Park Station

Two views looking back along the Clear Fork of the Trinity River.

Approaching the Truss Bridge.

The train crossed the Forest Creek Truss Bridge.

Approaching the crossing of the Clear Fork of the Trinity River.

Coming out onto that bridge.

The train crossed the Clear Fork of the Trinity River.

A look back at the bridge over the Clear Fork of the Trinity River.

Our train crossed under the former Texas & Pacific Railroad and by the falls on the Clear Fork of the Trinity River.

We passed beneath Interstate 30.

A view of a bend of the Clear Fork of the Trinity River.

The train crossed several roads in the park all with crossing protection.

The Trinity Park Station.

The train passes both sides of the station on a trip.

Taking a curve in Trinity Park.

Many old trees in the park along our route.

A small trestle over a little creek.

Riding between the old growth.

A real beautiful setting.

A larger wooden trestle was crossed next.

We passed underneath the Fort Worth & Western Railroad.

Trees here are so beautiful.

Crossing another road in the park.

Passing through a tunnel of vegetation.

We reached the Northern Loop.

Turning the train on the Northern Loop.

Passing underneath the Fort Worth & Western Railroad. The train headed back to the Trinity Park Station where we made a ten minute stop.

Chris decided to get some popcorn to hold him over until lunch later.

We left the Trinity Park Station.

A view of a bend of the Clear Fork of the Trinity River.

The waterfall and the Union Pacific mainline.

Crossing the Clear Fork of the Trinity River.

The Truss Bridge over Forest Creek.

Rolling along the Clear Fork of the Trinity River.

Looking back along the Clear Fork of the Trinity River.

The train had passed the Forest Park Station without stopping to head to the South Loop.

The train taking the South Loop.

Another view of the Clear Fork of the Trinity River.

We returned to the Forest Park Station ending a fantastic trip aboard the Fort Worth Miniature Railroad.

The other engine that works is the 104. They have another engine under a tarp that one day might be restored.

One last view of our train as it is now time for us to leave and in a few more minutes the train will take more passengers through the parks.