All aboard

A club’s upgraded train ride means new memories for the community.

By Wendy Rose Gould

The Duncan Chisholm Trail Kiwanis Club in Oklahoma officially has new wheels — train wheels, to be exact. The train is the newest addition to Kiddieland Park, a club-managed recreational destination that has served the local community with inexpensive fun for over 50 years. A commission of just under US$80,000 allowed the club to replace its former train, a hand-me-down received in 1967. 

“The old train was becoming outdated with maintenance, and repair parts were becoming harder to obtain,” says club president Nate Edwards. “In the fall of 2019, the Duncan Chisolm Trail Kiwanis Board approved the club’s request to start fundraising for a new train that would allow for a smoother ride with less maintenance.”

In addition to applying for local grants and reaching out to the community for monetary support, the club sold 400 “Golden Tickets” at $20, which gave ticket holders access to a private party at the park and allowed them to be some of the first to see and ride the new train. Money made from selling the old train — $27,500 — also went toward the purchase of the new one. 

In less than a year, the club was able to raise all needed funds, and the new Texas-made train was ordered and delivered. The difference between the two is night and day: The new train boasts hydraulic drive, roomier seating and a much more comfortable ride for those who hop aboard. It sits alongside a tilt-a-whirl, planes and the park’s original carousel, which was installed in 1956. 

The train fosters excitement and generates new foot traffic at the park. And new attendees result in funds raised for local scholarships and other community efforts. Club members are confident that it also will help create new and lasting memories for people.  

“For over 50 years, Kiddieland has provided a family-friendly, fun experience for our community,” says Edwards. “There is not a night worked where someone does not comment on how they remember riding one of the rides as a child and are now bringing either their kids, grandchildren or even their great grandchildren.”

This story originally appeared in the August 2020 issue of Kiwanis magazine.

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