Supply chains are pushing back the reopening of Fort Worth’s Forest Park mini train
Supply-chain and parts shortages are pushing back the reopening of the Forest Park mini train.
The popular attraction, which has run a 5-mile loop through Forest Park and Trinity Park since 1959, closed down in March, 2022, due to mechanical issues.
Operator Forest Park Rides, Inc. had hoped to have the train operational in time for spring break, but co-owner Mary Talley said refurbishing the engines, train cars, fixing the tracks and updating the concession stand are taking longer than anticipated.
“When you’re dealing with a carnival ride, it’s not like going to O’Reilly’s,” Talley said.
The railroad ties alone are taking 6 to 8 weeks longer due to supply-chain shortages, she said.
While Forest Park Rides, Inc. owns the train, the tracks and the bridge crossing the Trinity river, it has a contract with the city of Fort Worth to use the park land.
The city gave the company a 60-day deadline in October 2022 to get the train up and running or face a termination of the contract. The city extended that deadline in January after getting invoices from the company showing the ride needed $250,000 worth of repairs.
Talley said the ride needed to be rebuilt from scratch with new wheels on the cars and new diesel motors on the engines.
The wood slats on the car seats took two months to fix, she said.
The reopened ride will also have a refurbished snack kiosk selling popcorn, hot dogs, cotton candy and nachos, Talley said, adding the ride will also no longer be cash only.
Forest Park Rides Inc. has until June 30 to get the train up and running.
Talley said she’s hopeful it will be open before then, and is planning a grand reopening event to celebrate the train’s return.