By writer to www.douglascountysentinel.com
The beloved miniature prepare engine that circles the Pine Mountain Gold Museum in western Douglas County wants a coronary heart transplant.
The liquid-propane engine that’s the coronary heart of the “C.P. Huntington” locomotive has been cranky and out of kinds of late, Villa Rica Metropolis Council members had been advised final week.
Not solely does the specter of a breakdown jeopardize the park expertise of a whole lot of Pine Mountain guests, it additionally imperils the upcoming “Ghost Practice” particular occasion scheduled for Halloween, and the vacation journey at Christmas.
However Nic Griffin, the town’s constructing and fleet upkeep supervisor, advised council members that discovering a alternative engine has been tough as a result of it’s now not being manufactured.
The prepare is made to resemble a classic locomotive from the Civil Conflict period, however at coronary heart the automobile is a forklift. That’s to say, it’s powered by the identical sort of propane engine that drives heavy-duty forklifts. The wheels that guests see outdoors the prepare are beauty; they roll alongside on the monitor, whereas the automobile is pushed by eight wheels hid beneath the prepare.
Griffin identified to the council that it runs each hour on the hour when the park is open for guests. However these days, he mentioned, and normally round mid-day, the engine has been sluggish to start out or fails to start out altogether.
Testing of the engine has confirmed intermittent low compression on its third cylinder — an uncommon drawback that he mentioned would require rebuilding the engine to repair, a time-consuming course of.
However Griffin advised the council that he had discovered an organization in Tennessee, Wisconsin Engines, that might manufacture a brand new engine based mostly on the specs of the unique. The price of that new engine could be $12,296.
Council accredited the acquisition, and Griffin mentioned that after the brand new engine arrived the outdated engine could be repaired and positioned on standby in case the “Huntington” wants it once more.
Regardless of not being a “actual” locomotive, the automobile is definitely modeled after the actual steam locomotive “C.P. Huntington,” the primary locomotive bought by the Southern Pacific Railroad that was named after the corporate’s president, Collis P. Huntington.
The actual locomotive, a 4-2-Four engine — so named due to its wheel configuration — was inbuilt 1863 by the Cooke Locomotive Works of Patterson, New Jersey, the identical firm that constructed the locomotive Texas, which was used throughout the Civil Conflict within the Nice Locomotive Chase from Marietta to Ringgold.
The “Huntington” used on the Gold Museum was inbuilt 1995 by Probability Rides of Wichita, Kansas. The corporate started making a miniature model of the actual locomotive in 1960, and there are nonetheless dozens of “Huntingtons” in operation all around the nation; three of them are at work on the Santa Barbara Zoo.
The Pine Mountain locomotive was initially owned by Zoo Atlanta till it was closely broken by fireplace and bought. A earlier proprietor partially restored the automobile and Villa Rica afterward purchased the engine at public sale.
Town then spent eight months getting the engine in working form, in addition to putting in the ¾-mile monitor on which it runs because the “Pine Mountain Scenic Railroad.”
The railroad is likely one of the best-loved points of interest on the museum and pulls a set of miniature rail vehicles occupied by youngsters and their households.