HolyCoast: Grandson of Disney Legend Driving Steam Trains at Disneyland Today

Monday, November 14, 2011

Grandson of Disney Legend Driving Steam Trains at Disneyland Today

This is kind of an interesting story for those of us who are rail fans:
For many, trips to Disneyland are a family tradition.

But for Nate Lord, it’s working at Disneyland that carries on a family tradition.

Lord is one of the engineers on the Disneyland Railroad, a collection of old-time steam trains that circle the park. One of the trains Lord drives is named the Ward Kimball — after Lord’s grandfather, one of Walt Disney’s Nine Old Men, and a Disney legend. Those men were Disney’s top animators on the films that made his company famous.

Kimball was known for his humor, which helped with what some consider his best work, the crow scene in Dumbo.

Kimball had a lifelong fascination with trains, even taking his wife to the tracks in Los Angeles on their first date.

“He was a big train enthusiast,” Lord said. “He had the first backyard railroad, and that inspired Walt (Disney) to build his own railroad.”

As in, the Disneyland Railroad, Disneyland’s first attraction. As in, the very tracks that Lord chugs along.
There's more of the story at the link.

When Lord mentions his grandfather's backyard railroad, I'm not sure what image that brings to mind, but let me show you the locomotive Ward Kimball was running on his property. I saw it on display at the Orange Empire Railway Museum in 2008:
That's not little garden railway, but a full blown steam locomotive that, as I remember the story, was purchased from a pineapple plantation in Hawaii where it had been a working train. Along with the locomotive was a tender and passenger car. That must have been a lot of fun to drive around.

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