Mile-Long Carillon Park Railroad, Designed by Woolpert, on Track for 2022 Holiday Season
This Conspan bridge will carry the Carillon Park Railroad past Brethen Tower when it debuts next year. For more about the train and the park, watch this short video. Photo courtesy of Woolpert
The history-themed, 120-passenger train will provide tours of the 65-acre Dayton History campus.
DAYTON, Ohio — Carillon Historical Park is already the region’s premier history and holiday destination. By this time next year, the 65-acre Dayton History campus will also be known for its journey.
The Carillon Park Railroad, designed by Woolpert, is scheduled to open at the end of 2022. The 145-foot, approximately four-fifths-scale train will carry 120 passengers on a 3-foot-gauge, mile-long track. The train will provide a narrated tour and will run three times per hour, year-round, through the open-air museum, enabling guests to learn about everything from the Wright brothers to the Great Dayton Flood of 1913.
The train is being built by England-based Severn Lamb, the world leader in resort transportation, which has built trains for Disney Animal Kingdom in Florida, Tom’s Farms in California, and the Louisville and Fort Worth zoos. Managing Director Patrick Severn Lamb said the train is based on its “Jupiter” train, a classic Western American locomotive, and is being customized to represent the “Cincinnati” train.
“The ‘Cincinnati’ was the first locomotive to pull a passenger train into Dayton on the old Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton Railroad in 1851,” Severn Lamb said. “While the train will resemble that historic original, it has been modernized to be a zero-emission battery, electric-power train. This project takes advantage of our ability to tailor trains to match the historic needs of clients like Carillon Park, while taking advantage of 21st-century technology.”
Woolpert is providing civil engineering, structural design and surveying services for the railroad, incorporating alignment requirements, grade changes, land modifications and stormwater drainage. Throughout 2021, right-of-way and site development were completed, retaining walls were built, and sidewalks and stormwater catch basins were installed. The 1894 Baltimore and Ohio Bowling Green Depot was relocated within the park to become the train’s primary station, and a 100-foot-long, three-arch Conspan bridge was installed to span the popular, small-scale Carillon Park Rail and Steam Society train. True to the park, the Conspan bridge was invented by Dayton Engineer William D. Lockwood.
Woolpert Project Manager Frank Monastra said the challenge of this project was routing the train through the slopes, curvatures and landmarks of the established park setting, while complying with a maximum 3% elevation grade and minimum 50-meter radius on all turns. He said the project involved elevating the track bed, cutting into hillsides, navigating historical buildings and trees, and making sure not to disturb the bald eagles that inhabit the park for months at a time.
“It has been a challenge, but the collaboration between Carillon Park, our design team and contractors was great to see in action.” Monastra said. “The train helps tie multiple projects together that we have supported at Carillon—from the WinSupply Leadership Center to Horse Barn No. 17 to the Brethen Tower—and it will set the stage for future projects. Woolpert was founded in Dayton in 1911, and we share Carillon’s love of local history. We are honored to support their great work whenever we can.”
Dayton History President and CEO Brady Kress said that the Carillon Park Railroad has been the most complex construction project undertaken on the property since 1940, when the Miami County Conservancy District, the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Works Progress Administration and the city of Dayton joined forces to convert acres of swampy, river bottomland into green space to realize Edith and Edward Deeds’ vision of Carillon Park.
“Our goal has always been to fulfill Deeds’ vision, to bring the rich and innovative history of Dayton to life, and to bring the community together with these bold and beautiful exhibits,” Kress said. “The Carillon Park Railroad truly embodies regional history with its ‘Cincinnati’-style train, its Lockwood-style bridge and its support by longtime Dayton company Woolpert, while ensuring guests have fun learning about the many attractions throughout the park. This train has been a long time coming. We’re excited that we’ll be able to share it with the world next year.”
Woolpert is the premier architecture, engineering, geospatial (AEG) and strategic consulting firm, with a vision to become one of the best companies in the world. We innovate within and across markets to effectively serve public, private and government clients worldwide. Woolpert is an ENR Top 150 Global Design Firm, recently earned its sixth-straight Great Place to Work certification, and actively nurtures a culture of growth, inclusion, diversity and respect. Founded in 1911 in Dayton, Ohio, Woolpert has been America’s fastest-growing AEG firm since 2015. The firm has more than 1,600 employees and 60 offices on four continents. For more, visit woolpert.com