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Ride Profile: Whistlestop Train

By on 07/14/2012

Six Flags Magic Mountain Whistlestop Train

Ride Type: Miniature Train Ride
Manufacturer: unknown
Model/Style: Mini Train
Year Built: 2008

In 2007, Six Flags corporate entered into several licensing agreements to allow them to use well-known brands as themes throughout their various parks. One of those deals was with HiT Entertainment for the right to use characters from the popular children’s television show Thomas & Friends, including Thomas the Tank Engine. That same year, both Six Flags Discovery Kingdom and Six Flags New England opened new kid’s areas themed to Thomas & Friends, appropriately called Thomas Town. On 05 June 2008, Six Flags Magic Mountain debuted their newly built Thomas Town to the public.

Thomas Town at Six Flags Magic Mountain was built on a small piece of land located between Bugs Bunny World and the entrance to Goliath, in the High Sierra Territory area of the park. The star attraction of Thomas Town was a miniature train ride that was Thomas the Tank Engine himself. Kids flocked to the area to take a ride on Thomas.

In late 2010, Six Flags announced that it had terminated several licensing agreements, including the one with HiT Entertainment. Thomas Town was closed and all references to Thomas & Friends were removed. On 19 March 2011, the entire area was re-opened as Whistlestop Park. It retained the train theme but with new names. The Thomas the Tank Engine ride was now known as Whistlestop Train.

The Whistlestop Train depot contains a small gift shop called Depot Gifts:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Whistlestop Train

The right side of the building is the entrance to the ride:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Whistlestop Train

The queuing/loading area, known as Whistlestop Station, is very clean and well lit:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Whistlestop Train

The loading platform has great signage and lots of neat little touches. Take note of all the luggage stacked up as if it were ready to be loaded onto the next train:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Whistlestop Train

The inside of the passenger cars contain wooden benches. It’s very open and airy with great visibility out the sides. This photo is from the very front car looking back:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Whistlestop Train

Once everyone is aboard, the train pulls out of the station. There is enough room for two ride operators to fit up front, inside the diesel powered engine:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Whistlestop Train

The train makes two giant loops before returning to the station. As you first pull away from the station, you can see the track for the second loop just inside the outer loop:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Whistlestop Train

Looking backwards as you first pull away, you can see the station, inside track, and the outside track that you’re currently on. Check out those gorgeous Birds of Paradise:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Whistlestop Train

This is a very picturesque ride. Here is a cute little water tower that you pass by:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Whistlestop Train

The bright colors of the train contrast nicely with the lush greenery of the landscape as the train loops around the back of the park:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Whistlestop Train

As the train gets close to completing its first circuit, you can see that it is now on the inside track as it approaches the station:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Whistlestop Train

Looking forward from the train, you can see that it is indeed now on the inside track:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Whistlestop Train

Approaching the station on the inside track after the first complete circuit:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Whistlestop Train

Directly across the tracks from the station is a roundhouse and its turntable. When this was still Thomas Town, the doorways without doors had facades of Thomas and his friends with their “heads” peeking out from the building:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Whistlestop Train

The train starting its second circuit as seen from the station platform:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Whistlestop Train

The second circuit is a tight loop around the roundhouse building:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Whistlestop Train

After looping behind the roundhouse on the second circuit, the train is once again on the outside track and heading back into the station. Just before entering the station, you get a great view of the Goliath roller coaster looming overhead in the background:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Whistlestop Train

Once you disembark the train, you used to exit through the gift shop:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Whistlestop Train

Unfortunately, the gift shop has been closed and is no longer used. The passengers now exit the ride area through a small gate in the fence located on the back of the building, seen on the left of this photo, right next to the train engine:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Whistlestop Train

When the area was still Thomas Town, the gift shop was stocked with all kinds of Thomas & Friends merchandise. I loved this giant Thomas made out of Mega Bloks:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Whistlestop Train

The gift shop remained open for a little while after the conversion to Whistlestop Park, however they continued to only sell Thomas & Friends merchandise. One of the shop employees said it was just to get rid of all the Thomas merchandise they still had on hand. It wasn’t much later that the gift ship was closed for good. There just isn’t enough traffic in the area to sustain a shop here. The space has since been used as a production office for television shows filmed in the park, as well as basic storage:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Whistlestop Train

Here is Whistlestop Park, including Whistlestop Train, as seen from the Sky Tower:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Whistlestop Train

I really like what the park tried to do here, but without the Thomas & Friends name to draw the kids in I rarely see anyone in this area. I spent quite a bit of time here on a weekend walking around the area taking pictures and talking to the employees, and not once did anyone else come in to ride the train. With how much space is being used, and such low visitor volume, I suspect it won’t be long before this area is closed forever and eventually transformed into another attraction. If they end up doing that, I’d really like to see the train re-purposed into a general people mover, shuttling people around the perimeter of the park. I’m not sure if it’s capable of hauling very many people, but it would be fun to ride, even if it didn’t move very fast.

19 Comments

  1. Eric

    07/14/2012 at 6:11 pm

    With my interest in stats and such, I asked Neal Thurman one time what the track length is on the train. Apparently, it’s 800 feet. Strangely, I did not ask him who the manufacturer was. Perhaps Chance or C.P. Huntington? This makes the third train that the park has had in its history—the old 99 Steam Train, the Grand Centennial Excursion Railway, and now this one.

    I agree that a train ride as in-park transportation is a good idea, but I don’t see it happening. At least the old Grand Centennial took riders from about where the entrance to Batman–The Ride is all the way down to the station in what was then Spillikin Corners (Cyclone Bay now) and back, and of course you could get off or board at either station. Round trip was a 1-1/2-mile ride from what I recall.

    It’s been awhile, but next time I go up in the Sky Tower, I’ll see if there are any traces of the track left.

    • Kurt

      07/14/2012 at 8:51 pm

      If I’m not mistaken, isn’t that little gazebo-like area hidden behind the rope climb and antique photo shop what’s left of the Spillikin Corners station?

      • Eric

        07/14/2012 at 9:28 pm

        The train did run behind there, so I’d guess yes. Another thing is that the train was there for a couple of years before Spillikin Corners, so at the beginning it was just a long train ride. It really is too bad that the park doesn’t have this type of ride anymore, but they’ve found their niche—and it isn’t family style rides. Jay Thomas and Co. tried to bring that back, and as we’ve seen, it wasn’t a success.

        • Robert

          01/10/2018 at 9:50 pm

          I know this post is five years old, but I know what you meant. Six Flags tried to appeal to the teen market with all those coasters. At my local park, Dorney Park, they did go more in a thrill ride direction after 1996, but they do have a nice mix of slow family rides and they just added new bumper cars last year after being without bumper cars for several years. And they have three train rides, all one station each, one is a kiddie ride in Planet Snoopy. And they have three water rides. Log flume, giant flume and rapids. Six Flags Great Adventure in NJ removed their steam train after 1980, too. It was a Crown like the 99 at Magic Mountain. Also, Great Adventure removed their hydro flume but kept their regular log flume. And they still have a sky ride for transport. When was the Grand Centennial train removed? After 1985?

  2. Myles

    07/15/2012 at 12:13 am

    Hey Kurt!!!
    this has nothing to do with the whistletop train but there are Intamin looking roller coaster-like supports being stored behind Apocalypse at SFMM. they are red, orange, green, blue and black though. do you think it’s for “full throttle”

    • Myles

      07/15/2012 at 12:40 am

      take that back, they look lik they could be for a sky screamer

      • SFMMCrazy

        07/15/2012 at 2:23 pm

        They are intamin supports.

      • Dylan Reich

        07/15/2012 at 2:56 pm

        I thought Sky Screamer at first, but now I’m thinking Intamin.

  3. Byron Lopez

    07/16/2012 at 6:27 pm

    Kurt without a rush but my little cousin loves scrambler and I was wondering if u can do a ride profile on scrambler all I know is it use to be at six flags over Texas

    • Kurt

      07/22/2012 at 3:07 pm

      Yep, it’s on my list.

  4. Giovanny C.

    07/21/2012 at 11:07 am

    What is on the bottom of the last photo? And is the Whistlestop train closing?

    • Kurt

      07/21/2012 at 7:57 pm

      If you’re talking about the yellow thing, it’s one of the Character Meet & Greet spots where you can get your picture taken with the Looney Tunes characters.

    • Kurt

      07/22/2012 at 3:09 pm

      As far as the Whistlestop Train closing, I haven’t heard of anything. I was merely speculating that if the volume of traffic doesn’t increase, then I can easily see them closing this entire area and re-purposing it for something else.

  5. Cory

    07/31/2012 at 5:58 pm

    The park probably wont be adding a big kids train ride anytime soon, thanks to the Federal Government years ago. I worked at Great America in Santa Clara in the 90’s and they removed the scenic railway that circled the park after new regulations were put on the books. The theme/amusement park trains that have 2 or more stations were now considered common carriers and had to have the same safety equipment as Amtrak does for track signals and passenger rolling stock. I don’t think most seasonal parks have the money or time to keep a family train ride up to mainline Class 1 railroad standards. The exception being the ones the big Mouse runs at their parks. Too bad Uncle Sam had to ruin the fun of a relaxing slow train ride around the park after a few fast coaster rides.

    • Kurt

      07/31/2012 at 7:36 pm

      Very interesting. I had no idea, but it makes sense. Thanks for the info.

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  7. Carolyn

    08/18/2012 at 8:44 pm

    What a fantastic place to take the kids. I am always looking for different places to take my grandkids. I took them to a smaller Thomas park a couple of weeks ago, and they had a ball. They just love Thomas.

  8. Pingback: Photo Gallery: Whistlestop Train |

  9. Alex

    02/16/2013 at 12:24 pm

    I say Magic Mountain and the entire Six Flags company does away with Whistlestop Park and repurpose the train as a people mover and retheme the kiddie coaster that’s in there to “Little Flash” since the name “Roadrunner Express” is in use at Magic Mountain.

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