End of an Era – Holiday World’s Freedom Train Makes its Final Stop
It’s out with the old, and in with the new as the last original ride from the days when Holiday World was known as Santa Claus Land has pulled into the depot one last time.
During my live broadcast at Holiday World a few weeks back, our tour guide told the group I was with that park officials made the difficult decision in the offseason to put the Freedom Train to rest after attempts to restore it revealed the ride needed more maintenance than was worth putting into it.
The ride debuted in 1946, and was originally called the Santa Claus Railroad. It re-named the Mother Goose Land Train in ’50’s with the addition of props along the trains path representing several famous Mother Goose stories as told by the conductor of the train. As Holiday World expanded into representing holiday’s other than Christmas, and the area of the park that hosts the train become “4th of July Land”, the ride was renamed The Freedom Train, yet still operated as a trip through the various Mother Goose stories.
Despite the advancements in theme park ride technology, and the other great attractions Holiday World offers, my kids always made sure we rode The Freedom Train during our trips to the park over the past few years. While squeezing my 6’3″, 225 pound frame into one of the small riding cars was no easy task, there was something about the simplicity and nostalgia of the ride that made it enjoyable.
The Freedom Train will be replaced with the Holidog Express, and while the original train will be gone, the ride will continue to show and tell passengers the stories of Little Boy Blue, along with Jack & Jill, and others. Park officials tell the Evansville Courier and Press they expect the new ride to up and running by early June.