Thursday, January 20, 2022

What happened to the Busch Gardens train after it caught fire?

Despite a fire in August, the train at Busch Gardens is chugging away at Christmas Town this year. (WYDaily/Sarah Fearing)
Despite a fire in August, the train at Busch Gardens is chugging away at Christmas Town this year. (WYDaily/Sarah Fearing)

Despite a fire in August, the train at Busch Gardens is chugging away at Christmas Town this year.

In August, one employee suffered minor injuries after one of the park’s three steam trains caught fire. It was not in service at the time, and was stationed in the New France area of the park.

The train was closed from August until Christmas Town’s opening day Nov. 17. It was repaired in that time frame, park spokeswoman Cindy Sarko said.

Safety is part of our culture at Busch Gardens and we take that seriously,” Sarko said. “The safety of our guests, ambassadors and animals remains our top priority.  The park has taken multiple steps to address the incident that occurred on the train in August. The park’s maintenance and operations teams, along with an outside engineering company, worked to install added safety measures.”

Sarko did not specify what those safety measures entail.

The train is one of three narrow gauge trains that cycle through the park on 20-minute intervals. The trains are steam-powered and run through Scotland, New France and Festa Italia.

During Christmas Town, the trains are decorated with Christmas lights and other decorations.

Sarko confirmed an inspector from James City County Building Safety and Permits had inspected the train in the week the fire took place.

In July, another fire broke out on the roof of Escape from Pompeii.

The ride reopened one week later, then remained open until Labor Day when the park closed for Howl-O-Scream and Christmas Town.

Both fires were ruled accidental in nature by the James City County Fire Department.

Clarification: A Busch Gardens spokeswoman said while additional safety measures have been installed on the train ride, and the train is operational for Christmas Town, the particular train that caught fire is still out of service with cosmetic damage.

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Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing is the Assistant Editor at WYDaily. Sarah was born in the state of Maine, grew up along the coast, and attended college at the University of Maine at Orono. Sarah left Maine in October 2015 when she was offered a job at a newspaper in West Point, Va. Courts, crime, public safety and civil rights are among Sarah’s favorite topics to cover. She currently covers those topics in Williamsburg, James City County and York County. Sarah has been recognized by other news organizations, state agencies and civic groups for her coverage of a failing fire-rescue system, an aging agriculture industry and lack of oversight in horse rescue groups. In her free time, Sarah enjoys lazing around with her two cats, Salazar and Ruth, drinking copious amounts of coffee and driving places in her white truck.

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