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Fort Wilderness Railroad

Fort Wilderness Railroad

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Fort Wilderness Railroad concept art Walt Disney World

This concept painting above was in the back of early souvenir park guides.

Fort Wilderness Railroad engine front view Walt Disney World

 Fort Wilderness was home to the Wilderness Line  from 1973-1980.  It was meant to be used as an internal source of transportation around the campground and the track operated over three and a half miles.  The two Fort Wilderness stations were located at the Reception Outpost/River Country parking lot and Pioneer Hall.  There were four trains that each had five cars.  

Fort Wilderness Railroad steam engine Walt Disney  World

 The railroad stopped running for a variety of reasons.  Despite the $1 million construction cost, the track's foundation was reportedly slipping in some of the swampy areas and it was too costly to fix.  The small engines also needed to make frequent stops to take on diesel and water.  The tracks were twice as long as the ones in use at the Magic Kingdom, yet the engines held less fuel and water than those at the park.  The track was also improperly laid in spots, causing major rail slippage and derailments.  Liability and noise issues also probably played a part in the railroad's demise.

Fort Wilderness Railroad engine and car concept drawing Walt Disney World

 The locomotives and cars were removed and taken to an open-air yard and stored under tarps, where they gradually deteriorated.  Signs of the railroad are still around.  Some of the tracks can still be seen at the campground and two of the cars were adapted for use at Pleasure Island as ticket booths for awhile.  There was talk about using some of the rolling stock as streetcars at Disneyland Paris but that idea never materialized.  The four engines and many of the train cars are now in the collections of private collectors.  

This former Fort Wilderness Railroad car served briefly as a ticket booth at Pleasure Island.

Fort Wilderness Railroad car at Pleasure Island Walt Disney World
(Thanks to brotherdave at and Andy Eilerman for Fort Wilderness Railroad information.)

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