Before railroads existed, travel across the land had not changed much for thousands of years. George Washington travelled just as fast as Julius Caesar. Travel time was not measured in hours, minutes or seconds, but in days, weeks, and months. Railroads changed all that.
Railroad innovations in the Eighteen-hundreds were developed at a breakneck pace. If the latest model of a locomotive design could not cope with mountain terrain, higher speeds or heavier loads, the engine design was improved with the latest technology. As a result, regions all across the country were opened up for travel and commerce.
What you are standing in front of is an oil-burning steam locomotive two-five-four-six built in nineteen-eleven at the Alco’s Works in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It was known as the Consolidation type two-eight-zero and after eighteen-seventy-five was the most popular railroad engine type in the country for almost fifty years. It weighs over one-thousand tons with an oil tender behind that weighs about the same. The locomotive had a top speed of forty mile per hour. Not so fast these days, but fast enough in the late eighteen-hundreds.
Steam engine two-five-four-six was given to the city of Marceline by Santa Fe and placed in Ripley Park on December twentieth, nineteen-fifty-five. The caboose on the south side of the park was given by Santa Fe and placed in the park on August tenth, nineteen-eighty-seven
Walt Disney waved to the crowd in Ripley Park from the cab of this engine on July fourth, nineteen-fifty-six, with his brother Roy standing between the engine and oil tender. It was the day of the Walt Disney swimming pool dedication. The engine had just been lettered “Santa Fe and Disneyland Railroad” prior to Walt’s visit in tribute to the recently-opened Disneyland.