Come aboard Carillon Park’s new passenger locomotive

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

All aboard Carillon Historical Park’s newest attraction.

The full-sized replica locomotive of the “Cincinnati” is now open to the public. The Cincinnati was the first passenger train to run through the Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton Railroad beginning in 1851.

The one-mile track runs around the perimeter of Carillon Park, and the locomotive can take up to 120 passengers along for the 12-miunte ride in its open-air coaches. The train leaves the newly installed station three times every hour. The Bowling Green loading station came to the park in 1977 as a static exhibit but was moved to serve a new purpose along the 3-inch narrow gauge railroad tracks.

The journey takes passengers through the park showcasing areas and views they might not have seen before, according to Dayton History President Brady Kress.

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

The tracks also cross a bridge that is special to Dayton, Kress said.

“It’s a con-span bridge structure which was actually invented in Dayton and (con-span bridges) have installations all over the world,” Kress said. “It’s super cool that we’re actually able to go across a Dayton invention.”

The railroad was the most all-encompassing project at the park since it opened over seven decades ago, according to Dayton History. Dayton History owns and operates Carillon Park alongside the Carillon Brewing Co., Culp’s Café, Hawthorn Hill, the Patterson Homestead, the Mound Cold War Discovery Center and the Dayton History Archive Center.

A Golden Spike Ceremony and Dedication of the Carillon Park Railroad was held May 2 to signal the grand opening of the railroad. Close to 800 Dayton History members attended the dedication.

Due to the lack of U.S.-based locomotive manufacturing companies, Dayton History commissioned the train from Severn Lamb based out of Alcester, England.

Aboard the train, passengers have the opportunity to learn about some key pieces of park and Dayton history, including information about the National Road Steam-Powered Rail, the Wright Brothers and the park’s founder, Colonel Edward A. Deeds. Overhead speakers inside the coaches periodically play recordings that correspond to views and areas within the park.

The locomotive and rail network are examples of Deeds’ dream for Carillon Park imagined, according to Kress.

“When (Deeds) was building the park, he was searching for a mid-19th century locomotive to have on exhibit, and he couldn’t quite find what he wanted,” Kress said. “So, he had a 3-foot model made.”

The model has been on exhibit since 1953 at the park’s museum.

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

The project came together thanks to donors that have left their own personal touches on the locomotive. Rick and Jane Schwartz funded the locomotive and tender, which is named the “Jane Ellen” after Jane Schwartz. The two coaches, the “Chanel Rose” and the “Kailey Mae,” are named after the granddaughters of donors Harold and Mary Rieck.

The train is a ticketed attraction and rides costs $5 per person. Families can also purchase a membership bundle that includes unlimited train rides, carousel rides and pint upgrades at the brewery for $151.

Carillon Historical Park is located at 1000 Carillon Blvd., Dayton.

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