Designed by Ken and built new in 2001, Sophie was made to reflect the locomotives of the 1870s-1880s era when railroads were busy building our country across the wild frontier. Railroads then were regarded as opulent and powerful so the locomotives they used projected that image with graceful, gleaming architectural lines highlighting their mechanical magic. Ken's favorites such as the William Mason No. 25 (now in the B&O Railroad museum) and the Virgina and Truckee's Inyo (now in the Nevada State Railroad museum) served as the major inspiration for Sophie's look.
Sophie was originally built with a gasoline-hydraulic drive that did the job but Ken felt it was a huge insult to the graceful appeal of a real steam locomotive. So in 2011 Sophie was fully rebuilt by Texas Bells and Whistles. The loud and smelly gas motor drive was completely removed and replaced with an entirely new lithium-iron-phosphate battery-electric drive that was quieter, stronger, more reliable, and most of all -- awesome. Now Sophie is high-tech, quiet, and clean and fools many into thinking she really does run on steam.
She's a fantastic little locomotive to watch and hear as she pulls loads of passengers around the park -- so come on out and see for yourself!
"There's no hot exhaust!"
"There's no smell!"
"I can't hear a motor!"
"Is this a real steam engine?"