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Walter P Chrysler Railroad


Ron42Dodge
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I'm sure there is some interesting history behind the Detroit Zoo Railroad.  The zoo web site notes

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The Tauber Family Railroad has been a perennial favorite at the Zoo, serving nearly half a million passengers each year since it was presented by The Detroit News in 1931. The miniature railroad consists of two complete trains of six coaches each and one standby. All three locomotives were donated by the Chrysler Corp. in the 1950s. In 1982-83, the locomotives were renovated and new coaches were fabricated through a fund-raising campaign by the Detroit Zoological Society and The Detroit News. The locomotives were refurbished again in 2008 with new coaches, rebuilt engines, gears, gauges, wheels and bodies. All aboard!

 

Does anyone have any behind the scenes information about these trains?  About these engines?  Were they gas powered?  Flat Head? Hemi?  Electric?

 

If donated in the late 40's early 50s was that under K. T. Keller direction?

 

Great Airflow look from the 30's

 

 

 

 

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I found this story on the Detroit Zoological Society Blog.  Is that a newer Hemi I see?

https://detroitzooblog.org/2016/07/13/on-the-right-track-detroit-zoo-trains-ride-high/

On the Right Track: Detroit Zoo Trains Ride High

Thanks to racecars, airplanes and dogged determination, the Tauber Family Railroad trains are running like well-oiled – and greased-up – machines.

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The Detroit Zoo’s Tauber Family Railroad has been a longtime favorite of guests of all ages. In 1931, three years after the Detroit Zoo opened its doors, the railroad system was donated by The Detroit News and it wasn’t long before riding the train became as much a part of going to the Zoo as seeing the animals.

 

After serving an estimated 10 million riders, the original train was retired in 1949. In 1950, Chrysler donated three new trains, the Scripps, Reuther and Walter P. Chrysler. These trains – which the Detroit Zoo mechanics affectionately refer to as Scrippy, Ruthy and Wally – are still in use today, with rides offered daily from May to October, when the weather permits.

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Running for eight hours a day, seven days a week will put a strain on any piece of equipment, let alone a machine that has been around since Harry Truman was in the White House. To accurately portray just how “experienced” the trains are, when they were donated, gas cost just $0.18 a gallon, Disneyland wouldn’t be opened for another five years, television viewers were a year away from being able to watch “I Love Lucy” and there were still only six hockey teams in the NHL.

 

When Tim Wade was hired by the Detroit Zoological Society’s (DZS) maintenance department in 2014, the trains were known to be less than reliable, though still safe. In the short amount of time that Wade has been a part of the DZS family, he has changed the entire way that the trains are maintained and repaired. Previously, mechanics would rob parts from one train to ensure the other two were running; now Wade makes sure only the most dependable parts are being used. Wade and the DZS maintenance team, which also consists of Ben Fritsch, Alvin Dillard and Ross Urtel, have integrated new fleet maintenance practices into the upkeep of the train; ensuring that when Zoo guests want to ride the train, they can.

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Because of the loads that these trains carry, there is a need for proper maintenance and repair. By bringing his technical expertise, as well as his racing background into his work on the trains, Wade has been able to improve the efficiency of the railroad system. Wade grew up racing cars, which meant needing to be both the engineer and the mechanic when it came to maintaining as well as enhancing the vehicles he was racing. Wade has been involved in the mechanical trade as long as he can remember. He says that he got his doggedness and dedication to quality from his father, who was an aviation mechanic.

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Having never worked on a train before, Wade will be the first to admit that initially the task of maintaining the trains was a little overwhelming. This was when Wade decided that he should think of the trains as a racecar, and after that, improvements really started happening. His idea was to treat the trains as if they needed to finish an eight-hour race, and anything less than that would be unacceptable.

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As a mechanic, most of Wade’s work is done behind the scenes, which he says suits him, as praise has never been important to him. However, if he is having a bad day, he says walking over to the Africa Train Station and seeing the families smiling, waving and enjoying their time at the Zoo gives him a real sense of pride knowing that his work has made a difference in their experience.

 

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Not a Hemi, My guess is small block Mopar. The distributor on those is vertical to the engine and mounted in the rear vs. big block where the distributor is angled and is in the front of the engine.

I do not recognize the intake on the train engine, it could be something from the new gen small blocks that I have not seen.

Could that be a hydraulic pump off of the front? Or maybe could be something to do with the cooling. (that red box)

Cool trains though. If I ever get to Detroit ....

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43 minutes ago, JACK M said:

Not a Hemi, My guess is small block Mopar. The distributor on those is vertical to the engine and mounted in the rear vs. big block where the distributor is angled and is in the front of the engine.

I do not recognize the intake on the train engine, it could be something from the new gen small blocks that I have not seen.

Could that be a hydraulic pump off of the front? Or maybe could be something to do with the cooling. (that red box)

Cool trains though. If I ever get to Detroit ....

Thanks Jack.  I saw Magnum on the head and I thought those were hemi's.   But that is why I asked.   I've been to Detroit but I did not know about the trains.  I guess I will have to go back some day.

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