How It All Started
In the late 1950s, carnival owner Bill Hames set forth to open a miniature train at Forest Park. The miniature train was the latest addition to the park which already had several amusement rides and a train with a smaller track layout. When the new train opened, it was the longest miniature railway in the world. On opening day, over 1,500 people rode the train, 70 to 100 passengers at a time. The following day, the crowd grew to over 4,000 riders and attracted so many patrons that there was a traffic jam in Forest Park. Due to the popularity and limited amount of operating hours, 5,000 patrons rode the train while over 3,000 were given refunds because there were not enough hours in the day. At the time, a ride on the train cost 35 cents per rider.
The railroad operated for years with the Texas Chief as the main engine, but was retired in April of 1973 when a new line of Chance CP Huntington Trains were introduced. Forest Park was one of the first miniature railroads to take delivery of the CP Huntington Model.
Over 60 years later, the miniature railway has established itself as a local tourist destination and Forth Worth Landmark. Since its opening day, riders have flocked to the Forest Park Miniature Railway for a peaceful retreat around Ft. Worth’s Trinity Park. From the depot, the train heads east and then cuts north to cross the Trinity River on one of the trains longest trestle bridges. Throughout its 5-mile journey, the train travels under the highway and proceeds into the tranquil Trinity Park. The complete 5-mile circuit features two depots and six bridges.
Our Railroad By The Numbers
5: number of miles the train travels
6: number of bridges the train crosses
350 feet: length of the longest bridge, which crosses the Trinity River
35 cents: price of a ride in 1959
40: number of minutes it takes to complete a full ride
$40,000: cost of the first four trains in 1959
35,000: approximate number of pounds a empty train weighs