Six Flags Railroad (Six Flags Over Texas)
|Six Flags & Texas Railroad|
The Red Train
Mirabeau B. Lamar
|Locale||Six Flags Over Texas|
|Dates of operation||1961–|
|Track gauge||3 ft (914 mm)|
The Six Flags & Texas Railroad is the only attraction still operating from the inaugural 1961 season of Six Flags Over Texas. Two railroad locomotives transport guests on a one mile (1.6 km) journey around the park, with stops at two stations located around the park. Both locomotives were originally built at the turn of the century for the Enterprise sugar cane plantation in Louisiana. Engine #1, known as the Green Train (due to its color scheme) or the Mary Ann, was built in 1901 by the American Locomotive Company. The smaller engine #2, known as the Red Train or Lydia, was created for the plantation in 1897 by H.K. Porter, Inc.
After leasing them from M.A. Patout & Sons, Ltd. in Louisiana, the engines were rebuilt by Six Flags for $50,000 each. The Mary Ann was renamed the General Sam Houston and the Lydia was renamed the Mirabeau B. Lamar in honor of these Texan heroes. The rebuilding also involved several changes, such as redesigning the locomotives' fireboxes to burn oil instead of coal and wood, as well as the addition of leading wheels and trailing wheels. Photos of the original engines can be found at the train station in the 'Texas' section of the park. The name of the Six Flags & Texas Railroad is said to have been coined by the original engineers hired for the opening season in 1961, who were all retired from the Texas & Pacific Railway. In 1982, the Red train was renamed to the Charles Jefferson Patton in honor of a retired Texas & Pacific Railway engineer that worked at the park from 1961 to 1981. The Green train was also renamed for a time in honor of past CEO and President of Six Flags, Larry B. Cochran, but has since been returned to its original name, General Sam Houston.
The railroad continues to run at the park daily, operating much the same as it did over 50 years ago when the attraction first opened. Six Flags maintains the trains as close as possible to their original specifications. In fact, despite a popular movement to transform theme park railroad engines from steam-powered to the newer diesel-powered trains for lower maintenance and operating costs, Six Flags Over Texas has resisted, in favor of a more authentic experience.