In 2004, my book, Welcome Aboard the Disneyland Railroad!, debuted. The book attempted to look, with a somewhat technical eye, at the history and operations of the Disneyland steam trains.
At the time of the writing of that book, a collection of locomotive partsa bell, headlight, fittingswere strewn about the Disney roundhouse. The assorted parts belonged to Disneylands newest steam locomotive, a little Baldwin locomotive built in 1902, and the fate of the partsand the enginehad yet to be decided. Some in management wanted to see the remnants of the locomotive cataloged and sent to Disneys long-term storage facility in Glendale, perhaps never to be seen again.
Thankfully, cooler heads prevailed. With Disneylands 50th anniversary approaching, plans were afoot to re-assemble the parts into a working locomotive, and a search for contractors who could handle the job was underway.
Much about the locomotive was shrouded in mysteryincluding the origins of the engines original nameMaud L.thought to have been the name of the mistress of one of the engines original owners. But one thing was certain from the beginning. The rebuilt locomotive would bear the name of one of Walt Disneys preeminent animators, a close personal friend of Walts and someone whose influence on the Disney company can be felt and seen to this very day: Ward Kimball.
In my newest book,
From Plantation to Theme Park: the Story of Disneyland Railroad Locomotive No.5, the Ward Kimball,
Ive in effect written the biography of this real Little Engine that could. I was privileged to be able to chronicle the rebuilding of the engine at Boschan Boiler & Restoration, Inc., In Carson, CA. Many of my updates on the engines progress appeared here and elsewhere on the Internet. Through this close association with the locomotive, Ive been able to write the definitive story of Disneylands newest steam engine.
But the engines history didnt begin with Disneys acquisition of it. Through photos, archival documents, and drawings of the locomotive by Preston Nirattisai, the book looks at the engine from the year it was built through Disneylands 50th anniversary, when the engine began service at the Park. Chapters on Ward Kimball the man, and on Disneylands first four steam engines give context to the story of Engine No. 5.
Many people were involved in creating this book, from Sam Towler providing the cover image to photos, technical details and anecdotes supplied by the men who restored the engine. Ward Kimballs son, John Kimball, officially dedicated the locomotive earlier this year, and he has graciously written the foreword.
You can read more about the book at DLRcad.com The book is hard cover, 112 pages long, and is being sold on a pre-order basis for only $29.95 + $4.95 postage and handling. There will only be 2,000 copies printed world-wide. The book will be available Spring 2007.
Over two years in the making, this book is for all Disneyland fans as well as train fans, and is the most comprehensive and detailed book available on a single Disneyland steam locomotive. Its not only the story of a locomotive, its the story of the talented and hard-working individuals who brought the little steamer back from the brink of extinction. Im sure you will enjoy the tale of how the first new Disneyland locomotive in over 40 years came to bethe story of Disneyland Railroad Locomotive No. 5, the Ward Kimball.